Boban Marjanovic

Sixers Notes: Harris, Brand, Fultz

The Sixers added another star at the trade deadline in Tobias Harris and the 26-year-old is thrilled to be in Philadelphia.

“It was awesome,” Harris said of playing alongside new teammates (via ESPN’s Tim Bontempts).“In all seriousness, you couldn’t ask for anything more. Me personally, I’m just sitting here like, ‘Wow.’ … It was fun.”

The Sixers sacrificed depth over the past few months in order to put together a lineup of Harris, Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick, and Joel Embiid. The lineup showed its potential in Friday night’s win over the Nuggets where it went on a 14-7 over the last four minutes to close out the game.

“It was funny … after the game, somebody texted me and sent me a video of me smiling after a play,” Harris said. “They wrote, ‘This is literally the first time I’ve ever seen you actually smile in a game.’ And I was like, ‘You ain’t lying.”

“It was cool to see that and just have fun out there. I really had a lot of fun tonight.”

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • GM Elton Brand said he’s received “all assurances” from the Sixers’ ownership that the team can re-sign both Harris and Butler, Bontemps tweets.“We’re all on board to keep this core together long-term,” Brand said.
  • By trading for Butler and Harris, the Sixers were no longer in position to be patient with Markelle Fultz, Bontemps explains in a separate piece. The team is built to win now and that, coupled with Fultz’s salary, which will come in at nearly $9.75MM next season, made it time to move on.
  • Brand reiterated that the Sixers are focused on the present, Bontemps passes along in another piece. The GM said the team had been targeting Harris “if he became available” and the team had “coveted” him for a while. “We know he fits great into our system and he’ll do well,” Brand said of Harris. “[Simmons and Embiid] rapidly improved over the last season, so the window is now. The opportunity is now. So, once I saw that, we discussed taking a shot at it now, because who knows how long that window is going to be open?”
  • Prior to Friday’s night win, Harris said he’s hopeful his time with Sixers can be a “long-term partnership,” per an Associated Press report (via NBC Sports). Boban Marjanovic, who was also acquired in the Harris deal, explained how the 76ers’ gumption inspired him and Harris.“We understand the team invested a lot in us,” the center said. “It was a big move. It was a win-now move. That means a lot. This is already a winning culture and we look to bring our games to it and help as best we can.”

Clippers Trade Tobias Harris To Sixers

12:02pm: The Sixers and Clippers have both issued press releases officially announcing the trade.

“We are in the unique position to contend now and we think this trade positions us well for the postseason,” Sixers GM Elton Brand said in a statement. “Tobias is one of the best three-point shooters in the NBA and possesses an innate ability to impact the game on both ends of the floor, while Boban and Mike provide valuable skillsets, size and depth to our team. All three players bring high character to our locker room and we are excited about their fit alongside Joel, Ben, Jimmy and our entire roster.”

7:10am: The Sixers and Clippers have agreed on a six-player deal that will send Tobias Harris to Philadelphia, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN writes. In exchange, Los Angeles will bring back rookie Landry Shamet, two first-round picks and a number of other resources. Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported (via Twitter) that the two sides had reached a deal.

In total, Philadelphia will acquire Harris, Boban Marjanovic, and Mike Scott while Los Angeles adds Shamet, Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, Philadelphia’s own 2020 first-rounder, Miami’s unprotected 2021 first-rounder, and a pair of future second-rounders. The two second-round picks will be the Pistons’ 2021 and 2023 selections, per Rich Hofmann of The Athletic (Twitter link).

As for the Sixers’ 2020 first-round pick, ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports (via Twitter) that it will be lottery protected for three seasons, and would turn into a pair of second-round picks for 2023 and 2024 if it hasn’t conveyed after those three years.

It’s a massive swing by the 76ers, who appear to be going all-in on their current group after years of rebuilding. In Harris, they acquire a 26-year-old forward who is having the best year of his career. In 55 games for the Clippers, he averaged 20.9 PPG and 7.9 RPG with a shooting line of .496/.434/.877. All of those numbers are career highs.

Harris will join a starting lineup that already features Joel Embiid, Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons, and J.J. Redick, giving the Sixers arguably the most talented starting five in the East. Meanwhile, Scott and Marjanovic will help replace some of the frontcourt depth Philadelphia has sacrificed by trading Chandler, Muscala, Dario Saric, and Robert Covington this season.

Harris is on an expiring contract and will become an unrestricted free agent this summer, but the Sixers intend to be “aggressive” in re-signing him to a new deal, sources tell Wojnarowski. The plan in Philadelphia is to secure the team’s Big 4 of Embiid, Butler, Simmons, and Harris long-term, regardless of luxury tax concerns, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe (Twitter link).

Of course, as Lowe observes in a follow-up tweet, having both Butler’s and Harris’ Bird Rights in free agency this offseason will give the Sixers some leverage negotiating with each player. If the franchise ultimately does re-sign both players and gives Simmons a maximum-salary extension, the Big 4 would likely cost approximately $120MM by the 2020/21 season, Bobby Marks of ESPN observes.

As for the Clippers’ side of the deal, while Harris had been great for the team since coming over in last year’s Blake Griffin blockbuster, he isn’t at the top of the organization’s wish list for 2019 free agency. As such, the club was comfortable giving up his Bird Rights in exchange for long-term assets.

By acquiring Shamet and two more first-round picks, including an unprotected 2021 Heat selection that could end up being pretty valuable, the Clippers have added more strong trade assets that could be used in pursuit of a star down the road.

Although the Clippers were one of the clubs on Anthony Davis‘ reported four-team wish list, L.A.’s front office didn’t make this trade with the primary objective to go after Davis, league sources tell Wojnarowski. Still, if the Clips pursue a player like AD or another star this week or in the offseason, their new assets will probably be more intriguing to a rebuilding team than Harris would have been.

Harris ($14.8MM), Marjanovic ($7MM), and Scott ($4.32MM) are all on expiring contracts, as are Chandler ($12.8MM) and Muscala ($5MM). However, the Clippers will actually add a little money to their books for 2019/20 by taking on Shamet, who is on his rookie contract and will earn just under $2MM in 2019/20.

Even after that modest addition to their cap, the Clippers will be in a good position to create the space necessary for at least one maximum-salary player in July. According to Marks, the Clippers should have about $37MM in room, and could increase that number to $49MM by waiving Avery Bradley. If they could find a taker for Danilo Gallinari, that figure would further increase to $70.7MM, which should be enough for two max slots.

The ramifications of this blockbuster deal on both conferences could be significant. In the West, the Clippers currently hold the No. 8 seed at 30-25, but the Kings and Lakers remain in hot pursuit of a playoff spot. Without Harris, the Clips’ playoff chances will dip, which in turn will reduce their odds of hanging onto their 2019 first-round pick — that selection is owed to the Celtics, but is lottery protected.

Meanwhile, in the Eastern Conference, there’s a clear group of four teams at the top of the postseason race, with the Sixers joining the Bucks, Raptors, and Celtics. It will be interesting to see whether any of those other contenders respond with moves of their own before Thursday’s deadline.

In his analysis of the trade, ESPN’s Tim Bontemps notes that Milwaukee may have already made its most significant move, acquiring George Hill earlier in the season, and Boston may save its assets for an offseason run at Davis. That leaves the Raptors as the most intriguing wild card over the next couple days. Toronto has been aggressive on several fronts, tweets Chris Mannix of SI.com.

Finally, one more cap-related note on this swap: The Clippers have multiple options for how to structure the deal, but one approach would see them create a $9.8MM traded player exception. Philadelphia won’t be able to generate a new TPE in the trade.

Austin Kent contributed to this story.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pacific Notes: Ball, James, Canaan, Marjanovic

Lonzo Ball is expected to make his preseason debut Wednesday, according to Dave McMenamin of ESPN, which will also mark his first time on the court with LeBron James as a teammate. The Lakers have been careful with Ball as he recovers from offseason knee surgery, even as they have raved about his progress. Ball and James were both held out of tonight’s contest against the Clippers, but coach Luke Walton plans to use them in the next game against the Warriors.

“That’s one of the things I still need to see that we haven’t had is what lineups look like when both of those guys are playing,” Walton said. “I’m excited and hopeful, but again, we’re going to take it day by day. If any setbacks or whatnot, then we won’t rush it, again. But I would expect Wednesday that happens.”

Ball has received medical clearance to play and participated in full-court, four-on-four matchups with contact this week. The Lakers have been resting James, playing him about 15 minutes in the first half of each of their first three games.

There’s more tonight from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns‘ inexperience at point guard has been on display through the preseason, notes Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. With no established veterans at the position, coach Igor Kokoskov has been using a committee approach, giving playing time to  Shaquille Harrison, Isaiah Canaan and rookies Elie Okobo and De’Anthony Melton. The results have been ugly as Phoenix is averaging more than 20 turnovers per game and had power forward Ryan Anderson handling the ball for part of Friday’s contest.
  • Canaan was on the court Friday for the first time since fracturing his ankle in January, writes Cody Cunningham of NBA.com. Canaan, who had 11 points for the Suns in 32 minutes and drilled three 3-pointers, was grateful to be back in action. “I could barely sleep last night just knowing that I would have the chance to play again,” he said. “It just means a lot to me personally and I just give a lot of credit to this organization and to this training staff for doing an unbelievable job getting me, not only back on my feet, but also competing at a high level.”
  • It shouldn’t be hard for Boban Marjanovic to increase his playing time with the Clippers this season, tweets Tim Bontemps of The Washington Post. Marjanovic averaged 8.3 minutes in 20 games after coming to L.A. in a January trade, but coach Doc Rivers said all he has to do for more court time is “Just keep being big.”

Pacific Notes: Stephenson, Teodosic, Boban, Booker

When LeBron James joined the Lakers, several other seasoned veterans followed suit. While Los Angeles was not able to lure another high-priced free agent alongside James, the team did sign experienced players who all fill specific roles.

Longtime Indiana Pacer Lance Stephenson, a noted on-court nemesis of James, was one of the first players to sign. Speaking a party to say farewell to Indianapolis, Stephenson told The Indianapolis Star that he did not personally hear from James but was aware of his interest.

Magic (Johnson) called me and he told me LeBron was interested, very interested in me,” Stephenson said.

Stephenson, 27, is coming off a year in which he played all 82 games for the first time in his career. He averaged 9.2 PPG and 5.2 RPG for Indiana off the bench while providing his usual hard-nosed yet quirky style of play.

“Give me a few hours to make this decision,” Stephenson said he told Johnson. “I decided to go there and, hopefully, we will win a lot of games and have fun.”

Check out more Pacific Division notes below:

  • Clippers players Milos Teodosic and Boban Marjanovic have decided not to join the Serbian national team for September’s FIBA World Cup qualifiers, head coach Sasha Djordjevic confirmed to Novosti.rs (via Sportando).
  • The Clippers‘ quest for a new arena took a positive step forward on Friday, as lawmakers approved a bill that would streamline the process, Mirjam Swanson of The Orange County Register writes.
  • Suns guard Devin Booker is off to a strong start in his career and he only sees better things ahead. Speaking to a group of 300 kids at a youth camp, Booker said that he feels the playoffs are within reach, given the team’s acquisitions and young talent, Greg Moore of the AZCentral.com writes. “I want to build my own legacy here in Phoenix,” Booker said. “I feel like I’m off to a pretty good start. Just gotta keep going. Turn these losses into wins and make the playoffs and go from there.”

Pacific Rumors: Lakers, Mykhailiuk, Kings’ Hires, Teodosic

The Lakers can improve their 3-point shooting in a variety of ways during the upcoming season, as Mark Trudell of the Lakers’ website details. While the Lakers didn’t add quality shooters in free agency to compliment LeBron James, they have some other options who can help them greatly improve upon their second-to-last showing from long range, Trudell continues. Brandon IngramKentavious Caldwell-PopeJosh Hart and Kyle Kuzma shot 38.5% or better on threes after the All-Star break last season, Trudell notes. Rookies Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk and Moe Wagner can help in that area, and the playmaking of  James and Rajon Rondo can also facilitate more open looks from deep, Trudell adds.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • Mykhailiuk will play for the Ukranian national team in the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament next month, according to the Ukranian Federation, Oleksandr Proshuta tweets. Mykhailiuk is paying for his own insurance in case he’s injured during the event, Proshuta adds.
  • The Kings announced a number of hires to the front office staff in a team press releaseTeena Murray has been named Senior Director of Athlete Health and Performance. Other hires to the training staff include Mike Roncarati as Head of Prevention and Reconditioning; Joe Resendez as Head Athletic Trainer; Jesse Green as Performance Analyst. Other additions and promotions include Elizabeth Ramsey as Director of Basketball Operations and Intelligence; Gene Cross as Director of Amateur Scouting; Chris Alpert and Acie Law as regional scouts; and Robbie Lemons as Scouting Coordinator.
  • A decision on whether Clippers guard Milos Teodosic and center Boban Marjanovic will play for Serbia’s national team during the FIBA World Cup qualifying tournament in September will be made this week, according to a Sportando report. Serbia plays Greece and Estonia in the event.

Clippers Notes: Jordan, Boban, Teodosic

Of all this season’s trade candidates who didn’t end up being dealt, DeAndre Jordan may have been the most frequent subject of trade rumors. However, after sticking with the Clippers through last month’s deadline, Jordan doesn’t seem eager to leave Los Angeles this summer. Although he’ll have the opportunity to become a free agent in July, Jordan tells Michael Lee of Yahoo Sports that his preference is to stay where he is.

“I’m here and that’s what I’m focused on,” Jordan said. “I’m excited. Like I told somebody the other day, I hope I can play another 10 years here. That’s what I’m focused on now.”

Jordan, who spoke about the “great times” he has had over the course of his 10 years with the Clippers, is probably unlikely to exercise his player option for 2018/19, according to Lee. However, even if he opts out, the veteran center could ink a new deal with the Clips. Whether such a deal is in the cards remains to be seen.

Here’s more on the Clippers:

  • Center Boban Marjanovic was an afterthought in this season’s Blake Griffin blockbuster, with the analysis of that deal mostly focusing on the other pieces the Clippers received — Tobias Harris, Avery Bradley, and a first-round pick. However, Marjanovic has been proving his value to the Clippers as of late, writes Elliott Teaford of The Daily Breeze. Boban has one more year left on his deal after this season and will earn $7MM in 2018/19.
  • Clippers point guard Milos Teodosic says he has no regrets about leaving Europe to come to the NBA, as he tells Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. “So far, I really enjoy [playing in the NBA],” Teodosic said. “I’m happy to be here and I really enjoy playing with the best players in the world and against the best players in the world.”
  • Earlier today, we opened up a discussion on the Western Conference playoff race, which features the ninth-seeded Clippers looking to work their way into the top eight.

Clippers Trade Blake Griffin To Pistons

11:46pm: The trade is now official, according to a press release issued by the Pistons.Blake Griffin vertical

“We are serious about winning, and this is a major move to improve our team,” Pistons owner Tom Gores said in a statement.Blake Griffin is one of the NBA’s elite players, and when you get an opportunity to add that kind of talent, you take it. … He is a great fit for our team and will bring a combination of toughness and athleticism that will elevate our team and excite our fans.”

5:20pm: The Clippers have agreed to trade star power forward Blake Griffin to the Pistons in a multi-player deal, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Detroit will ship forward Tobias Harris, shooting guard Avery Bradley, center Boban Marjanovic, a first-round pick and a second-round draft pick to the Clippers, Wojnarowski adds, citing league sources.

Forward Brice Johnson and center Willie Reed are also heading to Detroit, Wojnarowski adds in another tweet.

Detroit’s 2018 first-round pick is protected if it’s a top-four selection, according to Wojnarowski; It has the same protection for the next two drafts, then goes unprotected in 2021. The second-round pick in the trade will come in the 2019 draft (Twitter link).

The Pistons, long rumored to be active on the trade market, have been trying to shake up their team while nosediving down the Eastern Conference standings. They have lost eight in a row and now sit in the ninth spot in the East. Wojnarowski had reported just hours ago that Detroit was shopping Bradley and his expiring contract.

Griffin re-signed with the Clippers on a five-year max deal over the summer, so the Pistons are taking on an enormous salary commitment in order to pair him with current franchise player Andre Drummond. Griffin is making $29.5MM this season and he’ll be due another $141.6MM over the next four years, though the final year of the contract includes a player option.

The longtime Clipper will also receive a $860K trade bonus spread over the next four seasons, salary-cap expert Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. The Griffin trade bonus is not voided because his current salary is slightly below the max, Marks adds.

The Clippers are in the playoff hunt at 25-24, so dealing Griffin certainly signals a change in the franchise’s long-term direction. It’s possible that this will be the first of multiple moves for the Clippers, since players like DeAndre Jordan and Lou Williams have also been considered potential trade candidates.

Aside from Drummond, who is making approximately $23.8MM this season, Harris and Reggie Jackson are Detroit’s highest-paid players at $16MM this season. Bradley is making $8.8MM and Marjanovic is pulling in $7MM this season. Johnson is earning approximately $1.3MM and Reed has a $1MM contract this season.

Both teams are hard-capped and near the luxury-tax line, as Marks notes in a tweet, so it was crucial that each team sent and received about the same amount of money.

The Clippers will get cap relief in the long run as the contracts of Harris and Marjanovic expire after the 2018/19 season. Once this deal is finalized, Danilo Gallinari‘s contract will represent the only guaranteed money on L.A.’s cap beyond 2019.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Pistons Notes: Drummond, 10-Day Contracts, Marjanovic

Sidelined Pistons big man Andre Drummond doesn’t need to be medically cleared to return to the court following a bruised rib injury, it’s simply a matter of where his pain tolerance sits, Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes.

The Pistons play the Sixers tomorrow – the potential third installment of Drummond’s personal series against Joel Embiid – but there’s no guarantee that Drummond will be a part of it.

It’s is a pain-tolerance thing. Everybody has had them,” Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy said after a Thursday practice that Drummond missed. “It’s hard to breathe and hard to move. Whenever he’s comfortable enough to go, he’ll go. It’s a painful injury, no question.”

In the first four years of his career, Drummond only missed three games total.

There’s more from Detroit:

  • Friday marks the first day that NBA teams are permitted to sign players to 10-day contracts and it’s “possible” that the short-staffed Pistons will look to bring in temporary relief, Keith Langlois of the team’s official site tweets.
  • He may be the most efficient scorer in NBA history but Boban Marjanovic isn’t a practical option for Stan Van Gundy on a nightly basis when Andre Drummond is healthy. Chris Herring of Five Thirty Eight broke down how the reserve’s game stacks up historically and what’s preventing him from seeing more time on the court when the starter ahead of him is in the lineup.

Pistons Notes: Marjanovic, Backcourt, Kennard

Long one of the NBA’s most intriguing reserve big men, Boban Marjanovic will be utilized differently this season than he was during his first under Pistons coach Stan Van Gundy. Keith Langlois of the team’s official website spoke with the Van Gundy about his 7’4″ backup.

The questions are going to be how [Marjanovic’s stellar play at the end of 2016/17] holds up over time and how many minutes he can take on a nightly basis,” Van Gundy said. “Those we don’t know, but we do know that he’s got unbelievable size and skill and that’s a pretty good combination.”

With Aron Baynes now a member of the Celtics, Marjanovic figures be the primary backup to Andre Drummond, splitting duties perhaps with Jon Leuer when more mobility is required.

There’s more out of Detroit:

  • Point guard Reggie Jackson made a point of travelling to meet Avery Bradley as soon as possible, Ansar Khan of MLive writes. Jackson said he wants the new-look backcourt to hold each other accountable this season.
  • Rookie Luke Kennard will need to outplay Langston Galloway and Reggie Bullock for a prominent place in the Pistons’ rotation but in his defense he has already assuaged some concerns about his mobility that Stan Van Gundy had prior to the summer league, Keith Langlois of Pistons.com writes in a mailbag.
  • Big man Andre Drummond has shouldered the blame for Detroit’s lousy 2016/17 campaign, Michael Lee of The Vertical writes. “It starts with me,” Drummond said. “I didn’t come out playing the way I was supposed to. I needed to take it upon myself to be a leader this summer, to really take care of myself, take care of my body to make sure my team got better.

Central Notes: Marjanovic, Payne, George

Expect Pistons big man Boban Marjanovic to get more of an opportunity to shine next season. Rod Beard of the Detroit News writes that fans can expect current backup center Aron Baynes to explore free agency by turning down his player option, leaving Marjonvic as the next man up behind Andre Drummond.

In limited action Marjanovic showed flashes of excellence, no surprise considering he did just that with the Spurs in 2015/16. Per 36, his 23.5 points and 16.0 rebounds make him a particularly compelling option for a Pistons team that often has to bench Drummond on account of his poor free-throw shooting.

Unfortunately, as the Pistons struggled and eventually failed to sneak into the postseason, Marjanovic was rarely used in 2016/17.

This is a fault of ours that we really didn’t build anything around him, either offensively or defensively,” Pistons head coach Stan Van Gundy said last month. “We have to do some defensive things to help him and we’ve got to get him the ball even more offensively, but he was our third center, so we didn’t build enough around him. Certainly we will, going forward.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Bulls are still very high on Cameron Payne, Vincent Goodwill of CSN Chicago writes, despite the fact that the guard wasn’t featured as heavily as some thought he would be following the deal in which they acquired him.
  • While they may be exploring their trade options, the Bulls mean no disrespect to starting swingman Jimmy Butler, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes. “Don’t misunderstand: We think the world of him. You can’t say enough good things about how this young man has made himself the player that he is,” team executive vice president John Paxson said.
  • A panel of NBA.com columnists discussed what they would do with Paul George this offseason and how big of a priority retaining him would be if they stepped into the role of incoming Pacers president Kevin Pritchard.
  • The Bucks worked out a handful of NCAA seniors today, with the full list of players available at the team’s official website. Milwaukee will pick No. 17 in this year’s draft.