Atlantic Notes: Maxey, Petrusev, Sixers, Knicks, Raptors

The James Harden trade request and public comments regarding the Sixers this offseason are certain to have a ripple effect on Philadelphia’s roster throughout the season, with or without a trade materializing. While much of the public spotlight has been on how reigning MVP Joel Embiid will respond, rising star guard Tyrese Maxey is one of the players most impacted by Harden’s request.

A potential roster without Harden, the 2022/23 leader in assists per game (10.7), would see Maxey with an increased responsibility in making plays for the Sixers.

Appearing on his own “Maxey on the Mic” podcast (Spotify link), the fourth-year guard said that he would be prepared to play on or off the ball and that he’s ready for any potential change to his role.

I’ve been able to be kind of adaptable in whatever situation I’ve been thrown into,” Maxey said. “It’s just funny, every single year it’s been something new. … If anybody has taught me that, it’s [Harden]. That’s the funny part about it. I know if he’s not playing he’s going to be rooting for me to be the best version of myself because that’s just the type of brother that he is. He’s a great person.

Maxey is close to Harden and understands what he’s going through but recognizes that with training camps on the horizon, it’s time to lock in sooner than later. The situation is comparable to the Ben Simmons situations just two years ago which, according to Maxey, is helping the team deal with the magnitude of Harden’s trade request.

It’s crazy to say this, but it’s not our first rodeo,” Maxey said. “That’s funny to say, but that’s life. James is his own individual and he’s able to do whatever he pleases. I’m preparing right now to play with him or without him. … and I love James. If James decided he’s going to come back and play for us, there’s nobody in this organization that would be upset about that.

Regardless of what happens with the Harden situation, Maxey said he and the rest of the Sixers refuse to look at this upcoming season as “a wash” in preparation for the 2024 offseason, when Philadelphia should have significant cap flexibility.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers center Filip Petrusev, who is suiting up for Serbia for the 2023 FIBA World Cup, suffered an ankle injury during Serbia’s opener against China on Saturday, according to Petrusev, who signed with Philadelphia last month after being stashed overseas for two years, suffered the injury to his right ankle and was subsequently ruled out for the remainder of the contest. It remains to be seen what the severity of the injury to Petrusev’s ankle is, but the Sixers did already lose center/forward Montrezl Harrell to an ACL injury that he recently underwent surgery to address.
  • This fall, Philadelphia City Council members will vote to decide the fate of the Sixers‘ proposal to build a new arena in Center City, according to a report from The Philadelphia Inquirer. Groups hoping to push City Council toward passing a new arena are making their voices heard, including the Business Industry Association, according to the report. Members of the group said that a new arena at 10th and Market Streets would generate jobs during construction and upon completion. The Sixers have been playing in Wells Fargo Center since 1996.
  • The Knicks recently filed a lawsuit against the Raptors, alleging that a former Knicks employee took “proprietary information” with him to his new job in Toronto. Eric Koreen, Fred Katz and Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic teamed up to answer several questions about the lawsuit, noting that people in the league office were surprised when the suit dropped, because the NBA usually handles situations like this. One team suing another distinguishes this from a typical tampering case.
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