Ben Simmons

Sixers Notes: Colangelo, Simmons, George, Covington

Bryan Colangelo has become the least trusted GM in Philadelphia, charges Marcus Hayes of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Hayes blasts Colangelo for being evasive about releasing injury details regarding Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Dario Saric and others, and more recently for refusing to say whether Ben Simmons will play in the Summer League. The writer contends that Simmons needs the work to help with his transition to point guard and criticizes Colangelo for not being more open about the team’s plans.

There’s more news out of Philadelphia:

  • A long string of injuries and the February trades of Noel and Ersan Ilyasova made Colangelo’s first full season in charge look like another Sam Hinkie season, writes Bob Ford of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Ford adds that the team wasn’t able to address several important questions for the future of the franchise, such as whether Simmons can handle the point guard role, if he and Embiid are an effective combination and if Jerryd Bayless can be counted on as a starter.
  • Pacers forward Paul George might be worth a gamble if the Sixers want to make a splash this summer, Ford writes in a separate column. George has a player option for 2018/19, which means he will be effectively entering the final year of his contract next season. With rumors that he is interested in joining his hometown Lakers, Indiana may be tempted to move him in a trade instead of losing him with nothing in return. The Sixers have young talent to offer, and may have two high picks, depending on the results of next month’s lottery. “At the three, Robert Covington kind of has that position locked up with not a lot of depth at the position currently,” Colangelo recently told reporters. “But we’ve got some interesting draft prospects in the top 10 that happen to address that situation and that need.”
  • Covington underwent minor arthroscopic surgery this week to fix a meniscus tear in his right knee, the Sixers announced on their website. Covington will rehab the knee in Philadelphia and is expected to be ready for full basketball activities this summer.

Sixers Notes: Okafor, Brown, Colangelo, Embiid

Center Jahlil Okafor wasn’t among the players identified as “keepers” for next season by Sixers coach Brett Brown in a news conference today. Brown listed Ben Simmons, Joel EmbiidTimothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Richaun Holmes, Robert CovingtonDario Saric, Nik Stauskas and T.J. McConnell, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Okafor was the subject of numerous trade rumors prior to February’s deadline. and his future with the organization remains uncertain. Brown said Okafor understands this is an important offseason for him (Twitter link), adding, “Our mission this summer is to get his body right.” (Twitter link). GM Bryan Colangelo, who also spoke to reporters today, didn’t say that trading Okafor will be a priority, but he noted, “If a deal comes along that makes sense for both, we’ll listen.” (Twitter link).

There’s more today out of Philadelphia:

  • Brown and Colangelo both identified shooting as the Sixers’ most pressing offseason need. Brown said the team also needs to find a backup power forward, sign some veterans, assess Simmons’ abilities as a point guard and find the right shooting guard to play alongside him, tweets Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.
  • Brown added that early-season injuries to Simmons and Jerryd Bayless were the biggest obstacles the Sixers faced in their 28-54 season (Twitter link). Simmons fractured a bone in his right foot during training camp and missed the entire year. Bayless, who signed a three-year, $27MM deal last offseason, tore a ligament in his left wrist during camp and was limited to three games. “You felt like you just blew out your backcourt in about a week,” Brown said.
  • The Sixers are expecting a much healthier version of Embiid next season, Pompey tweets. After missing his first two NBA seasons, Embiid was limited to 31 games in his rookie year. Although he played spectacularly, averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game, Embiid was on a minutes restriction and Philadelphia’s medical staff was very cautious about his availability. “I don’t think back-to-backs will be an issue” for Embiid next season, Colangelo said.
  • Colangelo promises an aggressive approach in free agency, saying, “If there is the right free agent to spend money on, we will.” (Twitter link). The Sixers will enter the July bidding with more than $50MM available under the salary cap. Colangelo also vowed to be “prudent and wise” with any signings (Twitter link).

Sixers Notes: Simmons, Saric, McConnell

The Sixers lost to the Celtics in Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals and Lavoy Allen believes that if Philadelphia had prevailed in that contest, the franchise would be in a much different position, as Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays.

“We would have had a couple of more years with [Nikola Vucevic], Andre Iguodala, and a few of the guys,” said Allen. “We would have had some more good years if we would have kept that team together.”

Instead, the team pivoted, making a trade for Andrew Bynum. The big man wasn’t able to stay on the court and a year later, The Process was born.

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Coach Brett Brown would like to see Ben Simmons participate in summer league, but it’s unclear if the 2016 No.1 overall pick will be healthy enough to play, Pompey passes along in the same piece. “His health and the judgment of his health rules the day. I don’t know what that looks like when we are talking about the summer league,” Brown said.
  • Brown would like to see the Sixers add shooters this offseason, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News relays. “We need shooters,” Brown said. “That’s kind of the bottom line. We need to get Ben Simmons the ball, we need to have Joel be Joel, and get a bunch of shooters around them.”
  • Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer believes Dario Saric is best suited for a role off the bench next season. The scribe believes Joel Embiid needs someone who can shoot from behind the arc next to him in the frontcourt and Saric only made 31.1% of his 3-point attempts this season.
  • If the Sixers want to win next season, T.J. McConnell may give them the best chance to do so, Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Daily News opines. Hayes is a fan of the point guard’s defense and he believes McConnell will return better immediate value at the position than Simmons or a first-round draft pick would.

Atlantic Notes: Brown, Simmons, Fultz, Oakley

Aside from the mercurial debut by Joel Embiid, the most important thing to happen for the Sixers this season has been the development of young players, Derek Bodner writes on his websiteDario Saric, Robert Covington, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Richaun Holmes and T.J. McConnell have all seen significant playing time and should be important components of the team going forward. Bodner adds that coach Brett Brown is living up to the reputation that he had as a player development specialist when former GM Sam Hinkie hired him in 2013.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Brown is dismissing rumors that rookie Ben Simmons has grown two inches during the season, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. That story apparently started with a comment made by World B. Free on a Cavaliers broadcast last month. “I can feel comfortable saying no, he has not grown to 7 feet,” Brown said. “I wish he had.” The first pick in last year’s draft, Simmons missed the entire season after breaking a bone in his right foot during training camp.
  • University of Washington guard Markelle Fultz, a possible top pick in this year’s draft, is visiting Madison Square Garden today to watch the Knicks, tweets Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical. New York, which occupies the sixth spot in our latest Reverse Standings, is hoping for some lottery luck to have a chance at Fultz.
  • Former Knicks star Charles Oakley will appear in court Tuesday for charges stemming from his February run-in with team owner James Dolan that resulted in his ejection from the arena. Oakley, who is charged with three counts of misdemeanor assault and one count of criminal trespass, told Dan Gelston of The Associated Press that he has no regrets about the incident. “I would have done everything just the same way,” Oakley said. “I didn’t do nothing. I was only in the arena five minutes. I didn’t know you could get in that much trouble in five minutes. I’d take my chances and do the same thing again.”

And-Ones: Draft, D. Smith, Ball, Sixers, Webb

It’s still a little early for NBA prospects to start formally declaring for the 2017 NBA draft, but there’s “no question” that North Carolina State freshman Dennis Smith Jr. will be among the players who enter, a source tells Adam Zagoria of SNY.tv (Twitter link). According to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News (Twitter link), the Timberwolves had multiple people, including assistant GM Noah Croom, in attendance to watch N.C. State play Clemson at this week’s ACC tournament — Smith certainly would have been a player of interest in that game.

Here are a few more odds and ends from across the NBA:

  • Lavar Ball, the father of UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball, has made headlines by boasting about his son’s potential, and NBA executives have to take Lavar’s presence into consideration when evaluating Lonzo, writes Sean Deveney of The Sporting News. “That is going to be another thing to look at when it comes to due diligence before the draft,” one GM told Deveney. “How does he handle his dad — is it just something he laughs about, or is it real pressure on him?”
  • Sixers cornerstones Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid won’t play again for the team this season, but will they be ready to contribute in Summer League action in July? Head coach Brett Brown believes it’s “too early to make that judgment,” though he acknowledges that it’s something the team is considering. Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer has the quotes and the details.
  • James Webb III, who has been with the Delaware 87ers as an affiliate player this season after being waived by the Sixers in the fall, has fractured his right ankle and will be sidelined for the rest of the D-League season, the team announced today in a press release. A camp invitee who received a $65K guarantee from Philadelphia, Webb has averaged 13.1 PPG and 9.3 RPG in 39 NBADL games.

Sixers Notes: Simmons, Embiid, Long, Okafor

Even if the Sixers use their top pick on an elite guard, Ben Simmons will still be given an opportunity to show what he can do at point guard, Keith Pompey of Philly.com writes. After suffering a Jones fracture in his right foot, Simmons was ruled out for the duration of 2016/17. According to coach Brett Brown, the team will “immediately” give Simmons minutes at the point next season.

“I feel that the team has to try that immediately,” Brown said. “In my eyes, we are going to try that. I feel that it’s something that I doubt you say, ‘That didn’t work,’ and you just move on quickly. There has to be a body of work that you judge him on.”

More from Philly…

  • For all of the impact Joel Embiid has had in his rookie season, the Sixers need to figure out if he can stay healthy for a full season, Flan Blinebury of NBA.com writes. As Blinebury details, Embiid has suffered a stress fracture in his back, a broken bone in his right foot, as well as a bone bruise and meniscus tear in his left knee within the last four years. Embiid was a force to be reckoned with in 2016/17, averaging 20.2 points with 2.5 blocks over 31 games. In summary, Blinebury offers the Sixers an ultimatum: “Before the end of next season, it will be time to decide if Embiid is a foundation to build upon or or just brilliantly brittle.”
  • Shawn Long, who has recently signed a 10-day contract with the Sixers, initially thought he was being brought in for a workout. According to Jessica Camerato of CSN Philly, Long was surprised to find out he’d been called up from the Delaware 87ers. “It still hasn’t settled in yet,” Long said. “Right now [I am] a five, a stretch five. I’m still working on my shot, trying to be more consistent on the pro level. Rebounding the ball hard, that’s something I really want to focus in on … playing hard and bringing that toughness to the game.”
  • Long, who has yet to make his NBA debut, averaged 20.2 points with 11.2 rebounds over 39 games in Delaware. Long’s presence is much-needed in Philly’s frontcourt, as Jahlil Okafor continues to battle right knee soreness. “I think I’ve adjusted to the physicality of the pro game. That’s something that was tough for me at first,” Long added. “It’s a big opportunity for me and I’m looking to capitalize on it.”

Joel Embiid Out Indefinitely

Joel Embiid didn’t take part in the Sixers’ shootaround today, and the team is now listing him as out “indefinitely” after he experienced some swelling and soreness in his injured knee (Twitter links via Sixers and Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com).

Coming out of the All-Star break, the Sixers had announced that Embiid would miss at least the first four games of the second half, but it now appears that his absence will extend beyond March 1. The young center is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his knee this afternoon, per Camerato.

For the Sixers, the news comes on the heels of Friday’s announcement that No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons won’t make his NBA debut until next season, having been ruled out for the remainder of 2016/17. While Philadelphia fans may be disappointed not to see the highly-touted duo of Embiid and Simmons on the court together this season, there’s no need for the team to rush either player back, since a playoff spot is almost certainly out of reach — the Sixers are 5.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Pistons, with four other non-playoff teams ahead of them.

The Sixers provided an update on Simmons today as well, announcing (via Twitter) that he underwent a minor procedure – a bone marrow injection, per Camerato (via Twitter) – to stimulate bone growth and accelerate healing. Simmons is expected to resume training by the end of the week.

Sixers Rule Ben Simmons Out For Season

The Sixers have formally announced that Ben Simmons won’t play this season. General manager Bryan Colangelo informed reporters today of the club’s decision, per Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link).

A report on Thursday out of Philadelphia had suggested that Simmons’ season was in jeopardy after the result of a CT scan showed disappointing progress. According to Fischer (Twitter link), Colangelo said today that the most recent scan indicated that there’s “not full healing in the bone.” The next scan will occur in one month.

The organization has been very cautious with its No. 1 overall pick since he fractured a bone in his right foot in training camp. The original prognosis suggested Simmons had a chance to return with three months, but his NBA debut will instead be postponed until the 2017/18 season. According to Colangeo, the Sixers “will talk about” having Simmons on their Summer League team, depending on his status (Twitter link via Fischer).

Simmons is the third top pick for the Sixers to sit out his entire rookie season in the last four years. Nerlens Noel missed his entire rookie year in 2013/14 due to a torn ACL, while foot problems sidelined Joel Embiid for his first two NBA seasons. Embiid has also been out of action as of late with a knee problem, though Colangelo – who called the injury a bone bruise – said today that the injury is “progressing well.” Embiid is expected to miss at least the next four games.

Season In Jeopardy For Ben Simmons?

A report out of Philadelphia suggests that No. 1 pick Ben Simmons may not play this season. The results of a CT scan that Simmons underwent today showed disappointing progress, and the Sixers could resign themselves to finishing the year without him, tweets John Barchard of Sports Radio WIP.

The organization has been very cautious with Simmons since he fractured a bone in his right foot in training camp. The original prognosis had him returning in three months, but it has been nearly five months since the injury and there is still no timetable for him to play.

A story two weeks ago said Simmons was progressing at a slow pace, although the team wasn’t letting him participate in five-on-five drills at least through the All-Star break. The Sixers are 13th in the Eastern Conference at 21-35, so if this latest rumor is true, there seems to be little chance that Simmons will take the court before the season is over.

Trade Rumors: Sixers, Bradley, Tucker, Bogut

The Sixers are seeking deals for defensive-oriented guards capable of playing alongside Ben Simmons, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, Philadelphia has targeted Celtics guard Avery Bradley, but hasn’t gained any traction.

With Marcus Smart playing well lately and Jaylen Brown viewed as a potential star by the Celtics, Bradley could be somewhat expendable in Boston, but Philadelphia and Boston aren’t necessarily a great match in such a trade. Both teams are loaded with future draft picks, which is likely what the Sixers would offer for Bradley — the Celtics don’t really need any more picks, unless they think they could use them in a package for a star.

Here’s more from around the NBA with the trade deadline less than a half-hour away:

  • At least three teams – the Pelicans, Cavaliers, and Celtics – have opted against meeting the Suns‘ asking price of a first-round pick for P.J. Tucker, reports John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link).
  • The Sixers don’t expect to flip Andrew Bogut in another trade before the deadline, according to ESPN’s Marc Stein, who reports (via Twitter) that the two sides will immediately begin buyout discussions.
  • At this point, the Nuggets don’t expect to make any moves before the deadline, sources tell Chris Dempsey of The Denver Post (Twitter link).
  • The Pacers are still trying to fortify their roster, and remain in talks with the Kings about Arron Afflalo, tweets Sam Amick of USA Today.
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