Brett Brown

Sixers Notes: Valentine, Okafor, Brown

The Sixers should try to acquire Denzel Valentine from the Bulls if they are going to send Jahlil Okafor to Chicago, Bob Brookover of the Philadelphia Inquirer opines. The Bulls reached out to the Sixers regarding an Okafor trade last week.

The details of their talks have not been made clear, though it presumably involves at least one prospect heading to Philadelphia. Valentine or Doug McDermott are potential trade pieces and Brookover believes the former is the better option should the Sixers have to decide between the two. The scribe envisions Valentine developing into a playmaker whom can stretch the floor, while he views McDermott as a career bench player.


Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer wonders why Okafor hasn’t improved all that much since coming to the Sixers. Murphy points out that Nerlens Noel and T.J. McConnell have improved considerably, while Okafor has plateaued.
  • Brett Brown is impressed with the way Okafor has handled hearing his name in trade rumors, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. The coach said that Okafor should be proud of his work both on and off the court. “We remind him, ‘Go read your resumé,’ “ Brown said. ” ‘You go have a look at who you are.’ And he’s got a lot to be proud of on the court.”

Sixers Notes: Noel, Okafor, Henderson, Brown

Philadelphia’s desire to deal Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor is complicated by their declining trade value, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Noel is in the final year of his rookie deal and will be a restricted free agent after the season is over. Any team that acquires him faces the risk that he will receive a large offer that it would have to match to keep him. Okafor’s value is driven down by a hurting right knee, defensive problems and the feeling that his old-school game is only effective in certain systems. The Bulls have reportedly contacted the Sixers about Okafor, but Pompey suspects the best Philadelphia could hope for is a young player and a mid- to late-first-round pick.

There’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • Okafor has heard about the Bulls’ interest, and says trade talk is nothing new for him, Pompey relays in a separate story. “Trade rumors are something that’s going to be a part of my life probably for as long as I’m in the NBA,” Okafor said. “I’ve been hearing it since I’ve been in the NBA about being traded.”
  • Many of the players who are helping the Sixers improve now understand that they won’t be around when the team expects to become a contender, notes Steve Aschburner of One example he cites is Gerald Henderson, a 29-year-old guard who has has been an important contributor, averaging 9.7 points per night and starting 29 games. “That’s what the NBA is,” Henderson said. “… You come in and do your job. Focus on that, and you go home. The future of this franchise will be what it’s going to be. They’ll make a decision to get whoever they want to be in this locker room. But for the group that we have, we play for each other. We try to do our jobs and win every night, and that’s it.” 
  • Brett Brown’s former boss, San Antonio coach Gregg Popovich, has noticed the challenges Brown has faced in managing a team through “The Process” that involved three straight years of losing and rebuilding, writes Brian Seltzer of“There’s nobody that could do the job that he’s doing, considering the situation as it has been,” Popovich said. “His demeanor and ability to stay positive and just teach, and get satisfaction out of watching young players absorb things is beyond my comprehension. He’s a consummate teacher, and upbeat individual.”

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Acy, DeRozan

The Sixers were without rookie Joel Embiid Sunday night as the 7’2″ center sat to rest a sore left knee. Now he’s listed as questionable for Monday’s game, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Just last week Embiid sat for three straight games nursing a bruise on the same left knee but returned in dramatic fashion with a 32-point showing when the Sixers played the Rockets on Friday night.

Asked if the big man returned prematurely, Sixers head coach Brett Brown spoke confidently of the team’s approach. “No, I don’t think so,” Brown said. “I think you end up going with the doctors’ advice.”

Embiid didn’t make the trip to Chicago for Philly’s Sunday night matchup with the Bulls, opting instead to undergo treatment at the team’s practice facility.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division tonight:

  • Considering the headlines that have come out of New York this month, Knicks head coach Jeff Hornacek is well aware of the fact that Carmelo Anthony is in charge of his own fate. “He has control,” Hornacek told Marc Berman of the New York Post. “[…] At the end, he has the final say. He’s going to keep playing for us, and guys have to put all that stuff aside and keep playing.”
  • After two successful 10-day stints with the Nets, Quincy Acy officially has two years of job security. The forward agreed to a two-year deal after proving that he can be a source of physicality and defense for the Brooklyn franchise, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “We’ve been pleased with how he’s adapted,” said head coach Kenny Atkinson. “We like his versatility, how he brings a toughness. And his perimeter shooting is obviously intriguing.” In 15 games of action, Acy has shot .480 from behind the arc.
  • After three games on the sidelines nursing a sprained ankle, DeMar DeRozan made his return for the Raptors on Sunday. The shooting guard played 36 minutes for Toronto but, according to Mike Ganter of the Toronto Sun, looked slow out of the gates.

Atlantic Notes: Lopez, Acy, Embiid, Bradley

Despite the Nets‘ current 11-game losing streak, veteran center Brook Lopez remains optimistic on the team’s outlook, claiming to “want to see something special built here,” according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. The Nets, who don’t have control of their own first round draft pick until 2019, would seek two first round picks for Lopez, according to a recent report from Marc Stein of ESPN. Lewis confirms that asking price, but notes that Brooklyn isn’t actively looking to move the veteran center.

More from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets coach Kenny Atkinson heaped praise upon Quincy Acy, who just received his second 10-day contract with the Nets, as Lewis detailed in his previously-linked piece. “[I’ve liked] his energy, toughness, he’s got good athleticism about him, he’s got aggressiveness about him,” Atkinson said. “Surprised at his shooting. I think he’s an improved shooter, from what I remember. Just watching him in practice shoot the ball, he’s more skilled than I thought.”
  • Despite the Sixers‘ recent success, coach Brett Brown has shied away from the spotlight, Bob Cooney of writes: “Brown, much like former general manager Sam Hinkie, the architect of ‘The Process,’ isn’t short-sighted. Seven wins in nine games is remarkable for this team at this time. Key words – at this time.”
  • Joel Embiid, on the other hand, has embraced attention from Sixers fans, encouraging fans at the Wells Fargo Arena to chant “Trust The Process” even louder. Embiid is a big reason the Sixers are turning heads in a league dominated by guards, Sam Donnellon of writes.
  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens was critical of his team’s defense, claiming they were “just not good enough” in Wednesday’s loss to the Knicks, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. As WEEI’s Logan Mullen notes, Boston will benefit immeasurably from Avery Bradley‘s return. Bradley, who will not participate in Saturday’s match-up against Portland, has had issues with Achilles soreness.

Sixers Notes: Noel, Embiid, Simmons

The Sixers want to evaluate how Nerlens Noel and Joel Embiid play together on the court, Jessica Camerato of Comcast Sportsnet relays. Philadelphia started Jahlil Okafor next to Embiid over the last six games, but the team went 1-5 in those contests, which may lead to the duo seeing less action together. “I think over the course of the year, you’re going to see different things,” coach Brett Brown said. “To do it [with Embiid and Okafor] maybe as much as I have done it, I don’t believe that will be the case. But there will be times you’re going to see them paired up just through situations or foul trouble or injury.”

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Brown added that his intention is to “force feed” the Noel-Embiid pairing, as Derek Bodner of Philadelphia Magazine passes along (Twitter link). Ersan Ilyasova is starting next to Embiid in tonight’s against the Wolves, but the two centers will see court-time together as well.
  • Kurt Helin of NBC Sports believes the Sixers are giving Noel additional playing time so they can showcase him to potential trade partners. Finding a team that is willing to give up major value for the center may be a difficult feat, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors detailed in his Trade Candidate piece.
  • There remains no timetable for Ben Simmons‘ return to the floor, but the 20-year-old will be more involved going forward, as Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays. “You are going to start seeing him integrated more and more as this New Year is now upon us,” Brown said. “It’s still, obviously, not to the point where he’s on the floor practicing. But nobody should be worried that his foot is not healing.”

Sixers Notes: Brown, Noel, Okafor

Earlier in the week, Joel Embiid lobbied for the team to pair him with Nerlens Noel on the court, arguing that the Sixers need to try all options when it comes to playing time. Coach Brett Brown told reporters that he agrees with Embiid, as Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer passes along (video link on Twitter). “We have these three bigs. We need to experiment. We need to try different things.” Brown said “It’s on Nerlens to get himself back in shape and learn what we’re actually running. It’ll be on [the three centers] to find ways to coexist and me to manage it.” Brown added that he looks forward to seeing the Noel-Embiid pairing among other combinations.

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

[RELATED: Trade Candidate: Nerlens Noel]

  • The coach added that the Sixers are going through “one of the most challenging times” since he’s joined the organization, Pompey relays in a separate tweet.
  • The Sixers‘ easiest path to clearing up their frontcourt logjam is to trade Noel, but the team shouldn’t make a move just for the sake of opening up minutes for its other big men, Ben Detrick of The Ringer contends. If Philadelphia does deal Noel, Detrick believes Minnesota would be the best fit. The Wolves could put together a package that includes either Ricky Rubio or Tyus Jones along with a protected first-round pick in exchange for the 2013 No. 6 overall pick.
  • The Sixers should have traded Jahlil Okafor at the last year’s deadline, Detrick opines in the same piece. The scribe argues that the center’s trade value is hard to gauge now, but he believes the 21-year-old can still be a foundation piece for another team.
  • The Ersan Ilyasova-Embiid pairing is the team’s best option, Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer contends. Ilyasova is a good 3-point shooter for his position and his presence on the floor opens up the paint for Embiid. The power forward is a free agent at the end of the season, though the Sixers will have plenty of cap space to re-sign him if they choose to do so.

Sixers Notes: Noel, Embiid, Colangelo, Simmons

Sixers coach Brett Brown gave fans what they were asking for Tuesday night, and the Nerlens Noel situation took another twist, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Two days after Brown announced that Noel was out of the rotation, he entered the game midway through the third quarter. Brown explained it was because of foul trouble, but Philly fans were loudly chanting, “We want Nerlens” just before he got off the bench. Noel played the final 6:49 of the quarter and finished with four points. “I think holistically [the Sixers have] to find a way to take these bigs and manage them,” Brown said after the game. “We have to try to find a way that is going to help our team moving forward, get some wins, develop our guys.”

There’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • Starting center Joel Embiid was happy to see Noel back on the court and referred to him as his “best friend on the team,” relays Shamus Clancy of LibertyBallers. Clancy urges Philadelphia to try to re-sign Noel this summer to ensure that there is always at least one rim protector on the court.
  • The Sixers aren’t going to let Noel talk his way into a trade, claims Bob Ford of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Noel has been critical of the franchise for having three young centers on the roster who all need playing time and lashed out after playing just eight minutes in a game last week. GM Bryan Colangelo held a news conference Monday and delivered the message that Noel should keep quiet to avoid further damaging his trade value. “At this point, in order for us to fairly evaluate Nerlens and for Nerlens to be fairly evaluated [by other teams],” Colangelo said, “he needs to show that he’s healthy, and that he’s professional and he’s got a good attitude to everything that’s going on and that may lead to ultimately something that would lead to a move.”
  • No. 1 pick Ben Simmons is making progress in his recovery from the right foot fracture he suffered in October, according to Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly. The team hasn’t placed a timetable on Simmons’ return because it wants to avoid any temptation to rush him back before he is ready. In the meantime, he is getting a classroom-style education about the NBA game and is preparing to be the Sixers’ primary ballhandler. “We’re going to play with probably a considerable amount of pace [with Simmons],” Colangelo said. “He tends to grab and go … rebound the ball and push the ball up the floor, pass ahead, all the things that he demonstrated not only in college, but quite clearly in summer league. I think that the desire of this team and this organization to play a certain style of play incorporates some of that.”

Atlantic Notes: Noel, Embiid, Celtics, Biyombo

Sixers coach Brett Brown met with Nerlens Noel today in the wake of his comments about the team’s logjam in the frontcourt, writes Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly. Now that Noel, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor are healthy, Brown faces a challenge in finding enough playing time to satisfy all three. Noel lashed out after seeing just eight minutes of action in Friday’s game with the Lakers. The coach said Noel displayed “tremendous maturity” and “a lot of class” in today’s discussion. “He’s highly competitive, he’s in a very unusual situation,” Brown said. “The fact that it came out as soon as it did caught me off guard. We’ve discussed it and I’ll be surprised if everybody’s not seeing how we all need to handle this better going forward.”

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • Embiid is angry about the Sixers‘ blowout loss in an ESPN game Friday and talked about the need to “change the culture” in Philadelphia, Camerato relays in a separate story. “The last national televised game we had, it was the same thing,” Embiid said. “I don’t know if it was the pressure of that or if it’s just, I don’t really know, but that’s the second game in a row we weren’t focused, especially on the bigger stage.”
  • Noel, not DeMarcus Cousins, is the big man the Celtics ought to pursue in trade, argues A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE. Noel would be the rim protector that Boston needs, Blakely states, and an unidentified assistant GM told him that Noel’s complaints are understandable given the abundance of young big men in Philadelphia. Cousins, on the other hand, has a short temper and a history of trouble and wouldn’t be a good fit with the current Celtics roster, according to the writer.
  • Magic center Bismack Biyombo has great memories of the single season he spent with the Raptors, relays Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Biyombo helped Toronto advance to the Eastern Conference finals last season before a signing a four-year $72MM deal with Orlando in July. The 6’9″ center, who will face his former team for the first time Sunday night, said he was exchanging messages with Kyle Lowry DeMar DeRozan and other teammates all the way up to the start of free agency. “The expectation that everybody [had] was that I was going back there,” Biyombo said. “I had conversations with teammates before free agency was open. An hour before free agency was open I was still talking to all my teammates. Ten minutes before free agency opened they were still talking to me. So the expectations was high. But in the end, it was tough.”

Sixers Notes: Okafor, Simmons, Noel

Jahlil Okafor could be the odd man out in Philadelphia, Mike Sielski of the Philadelphia Inquirer opines. Sielski notes that Okafor is not a fit next to either Nerlens Noel or Joel Embiidand he’s the worst defender of the three players.

Noel had previously expressed concerns about the frontcourt logjam, but it appears he is now more open to playing alongside his teammates. Embiid, who is likely to get pushed to power forward for the time being, regardless of whether Noel or Okafor is traded, has no concerns over the logjam.

“I’ve always wanted to be a point guard,” Embiid exclaimed. “So that gives me a chance to get the ball, iso, play one-on-one from the three-point line, the pull-up jumpers. I’ll be more of a spacer, more of a stretch four.”

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Ben Simmons took a major step forward in his recovery from a fractured right foot, Brian Seltzer of writes. Simmons was able to shoot foul shots without a walking boot for the first time since suffering the Jones fracture.
  • Coach Brett Brown is pleased with Simmons’ understanding of the game, Selzer adds in the same piece. “From a non-medical standpoint and just his coach, the evolution that he and I have been able to have in a classroom and on a court, in talking things through over the past few months, is fantastic,” Brown said.
  • John Smallwood of the Philadelphia Inquirer examines how the Sixers have failed in previous drafts. The scribe breaks down the team’s last six drafts and finds the team missed out on top talent in nearly every one.
  • Earlier today, we learned that rival teams were discouraged with the results of their research on Noel and the Sixers may not be able to get much in return for him as a result.

Sixers Notes: Bayless, Noel, Okafor, Brown

Injured point guard Jerryd Bayless should consider surgery on his left wrist, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Bayless has only played in three of the Sixers’ 20 games because of a torn ligament. He received a platelet-rich plasma injection last week and plans to join the team for Monday’s game with the Nuggets. “I’m going to try to play,” Bayless said. “I want to play. I want to get to the point where I can play and not worry about it.” Pompey commends Bayless for attempting to play through the pain after signing a three-year, $27MM contract this summer, but he adds that surgery is probably the wiser move considering that the Sixers seem doomed to another non-playoff season.

There’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • The Sixers need to get Nerlens Noel back on the court before they can make a decision about whether to trade him or Jahlil Okafor, according to Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Noel has been sidelined since October 24th when he had surgery to take care of inflamed tissue above his left knee. Okafor has a much higher trade value right now, Cooney states, because he is a proven scorer and other teams are wary of Noel’s health. Once Noel returns, which could be in a couple of weeks, the team may have difficulty finding enough minutes for him with Okafor and Joel Embiid already in place.
  • Brett Brown isn’t in any immediate danger of being fired, Cooney contends in the same piece. Despite a league-worst 4-16 record, Cooney doesn’t believe the organization will get rid of Brown before he has a chance to work with No. 1 pick Ben Simmons, who has been out since the preseason with a fracture in his right foot.
  • The Sixers have started using Embiid and Okafor on the court together and the early results have been positive, notes Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly“I liked our spacing, I liked the high-low stuff we were doing,” Brown said. “I think when you post Joel, that Jahlil is going to play sort of hide-and-seek on the other side of the floor, and work that low zone, and become — I hope — a potent offensive rebounder. When you post Jahlil, Joel has the ability to space to three.”
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