Bryan Colangelo

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.

Eastern Notes: Stephenson, Sixers, Pistons

Coach Nate McMillan admits that Lance Stephenson can sometimes become a distraction on the court, as Clifton Brown of the Indianapolis Star passes along.

“I don’t want to take his passion from the game,” McMillan said of Stephenson. “We always have to control ourselves, that’s including myself on the sidelines. Sometimes that can become a distraction. We talk about that all the time. You can’t be drunk on emotions out there. We got to be able to get back, get to the next play. That’s for me, too.”

The combo guard knows he needs to control his emotions, adding that he doesn’t want to give the opposition anything they can use as an advantage.

“Sometimes I tend to get out of control,” Stephenson said. “I was getting frustrated with Kevin Love scoring on me. But that’s the passion I have for the game. I need to stop showing it. If somebody’s scoring on you and you show frustration, they’re going to keep going to it. I felt like I showed that. That’s what Paul [George] was talking about. Don’t show them no weakness.”

Clifton envisions McMillan shortening his bench for Game 3, which could mean more time for Stephenson in the Pacers‘ first home playoff game of 2017.

Here’s more from

  • GM Bryan Colangelo said the Sixers will address the power forward position this offseason, as Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Daily News relays. “I think the stretch-four position is something, backing up Dario [Saric] or starting in front of Dario, whichever it is if we can find someone that’s better. We’ve got to probably address that four position,” Colangelo said.
  • The Sixers need to sign Ersan Ilyasova in free agency, Cooney contends in the same piece. The scribe pegs the power forward’s market value at $10-12MM per year, which he considers a reasonable rate for a player who fits in well next to Joel Embiid in the frontcourt.
  • Rod Beard of The Detroit News examines five players the Pistons could take if they stay at No. 12. The team has a 2.5% chance at climbing into the top-3, as Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors notes.

Hoops Links: Lowry, Embiid, Antetokounmpo, Porzingis, Nicholson

On Sundays, we link to some of the very best work from around the basketball blogosphere. Do you have a link to a great basketball blog post – either your own or someone else’s – that you want to see featured on Hoops Rumors? Send it to us at HoopsLinks@gmail.com. Here’s this week’s rundown:

Sixers Notes: Simmons, Trade Talks, Colangelo

Although head coach Brett Brown indicated earlier this week that Ben Simmons‘ recovery is progressing at a deliberately slow and careful pace, the Sixers still expect to get their No. 1 pick on the court at some point this season.

“Our plan is to still see him on the court, playing games,” Brown told ESPN’s Jeff Goodman on Wednesday. “We just don’t know when. … I fully expect him to play this season. He thinks that, and he’s motivated to play.”

Of course, as Goodman notes, even though Simmons and Brown are on board with the 20-year-old making his NBA debut this season, that decision will ultimately be made by Sixers management. Despite some promising stretches this season, the Sixers aren’t currently close to a playoff spot, with a 21-35 record placing them 13th in the East. As such, it makes sense for the franchise to be careful with Simmons and Joel Embiid in the season’s final two months.

Let’s round up a few more Sixers notes…

  • Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link) has been told that the Sixers remain active in trade talks on “almost anyone not named Embiid or Simmons.”
  • Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo hasn’t looked all that good lately, having been evasive about the nature of Embiid’s knee injury and then not completing a Jahlil Okafor deal as the team held him out of the lineup for two games due to swirling trade rumors. In separate pieces, John Smallwood of The Philadelphia Daily News and John Gonzalez of The Ringer examine Colangelo’s recent performance.
  • January was the Sixers’ best month in three years, but February has been dominated by off-court headlines so far, and Philadelphia fans deserve better, writes Mike Kern of The Philadelphia Daily News.

Eastern Notes: Gibson, Embiid, Booker

With the exception of Jimmy Butler, Taj Gibson is the Bulls‘ most valuable trade asset, Bobby Marks of The Vertical writes. Gibson is making $8.95MM in the final year of his contract and Marks cites the power forward’s contract along with his tremendous durability as the reasons why his value is so high.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo said that he doesn’t expect Joel Embiid‘s knee injury to linger long-term, though he added that the team’s medical staff will ultimately make the call on when he returns to the court, as Brian Seltzer of NBA.com relays. “If the injury presents as asymptomatic, and he can show he’s healthy and able to play basketball, there’s no reason he shouldn’t play,” Colangelo said. “I don’t think there’s any potential long-term effects. This is not thought to be a severe injury. It’s thought to be a complicated injury.”
  • Trevor Booker was recently moved to the bench and he’s handled coach’s decision extremely well, Zach Braziller of The New York Post writes. Booker felt it was important to show his younger teammates how to act in the face of adversity. “We got some younger guys that’s new to it,” Booker said. “For me, being that leader, showing them different things, that’s what the young guys need.” The Nets brought in the power forward to mentor the team’s youth and to help build a winning culture, as I detailed in the inaugural edition of Fantasy Hoops.

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Noel, Colangelo

Joel Embiid wasn’t named to the All-Star team this season, but he’s got the attention of executives around the league. One anonymous executive told Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer that he believes Embiid can eventually become a top-3 player in the NBA.

He’s a two-shoulder player, meaning when bigs play defense against each other, they choose a shoulder and determine a pivot foot and they guard that way,” the executive said. “You can’t do that against Embiid. He can go either way, off either foot. And the fact that he can hit outside jumpers is incredible. Bigs don’t like guarding that. And, like I said, once he really develops his power game and learns the game and learns himself, oh my God, is he going to be good. I don’t throw around the word superstar, but he’s that – a top-three player in the league down the road, in my mind.”

Another anonymous scout told Cooney that he believes Embiid can become the franchise player for the Sixers due to his love for the game, but the scout cautions that health will still determine the big man’s place in the league.

“The only thing that worries me is health. You can see what kind of playfulness and personality, that’s a big thing with bigs,” the scout said. “A lot are playing only because they are big. It’s rare to get a big that really loves the game and even rarer when he’s not from the United States. Those parameters, that doesn’t align. That’s why, even in the league where the big man is less than an integral part of the game over the past five years, someone like Embiid with his agility, explosiveness and ability to be a force inside, you have to look at like a young [Shaq O’Neal], a bigger [Alonzo Mourning], much more offensively skilled than [Dikembe Mutombo].”

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Embiid still isn’t playing back-to-backs, though the Sixers are winning games without him on the floor. Bob Ford of the Philadelphia Inquirer (video link) credits the team’s ball movement for its success. Ford also believes Nerlens Noel, whom Luke Adams of Hoops Rumors profiled as a trade candidate, has elevated his game over the last few weeks.
  • Former GM Sam Hinkie will always receive some credit for the Sixers‘ promising future, but ESPN play-by-play broadcaster Mark Jones believes current GM Bryan Colangelo deserves credit for the team’s surprising run, as Jonathan Tannenwald of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays. “The Colangelos in the front office, Bryan in particular, has laid the foundation for things going forward, they’re in a good place right now,” Jones said.

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Bradley, LeVert

After starting the season with a 7-24 record, the Sixers have reeled off eight wins in their past 11. The emergence of Joel Embiid has reinvigorated the franchise and the rookie big man has helped to anchor a rapidly improving defensive presence.

Now that the Sixers have shown an ability to win games, they’ve clawed their way out of the basement and up the standings. Such momentum has general manager Bryan Colangelo reconsidering the team’s willingness to make a short-term splash.

[Winning] does lead you to want to explore other opportunities that might accelerate where we are in this. It gives us some opportunity to explore some big deals,” Colangelo told Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com. “We may be one of the only teams in the league that’s prepared with the resources and the assets to acquire a star level player.”

The Sixers have long been in rebuilding mode, but the strides that the team has taken this season under the guidance of Brett Brown suggest that this team may be ready to compete sooner than initially expected.

My responsibility is to make sure I do the right thing for the organization,” Colangelo added. “I’ve had a lot of dialogue with a lot of teams. I know what’s out there in the marketplace.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics have been exposed on defense without shooting guard Avery Bradley, writes Josue Pavon of WEEI 93.7 FM. While Isaiah Thomas‘ defensive shortcomings are not new, the team has seen just how much of a drop off there is between Bradley and fill-in Marcus Smart.
  • The Nets have seen seen a noticeable improvement in their third-quarter performance of late and credit the decision to bump Sean Kilpatrick from the lineup in favor of the more defensively inclined Joe Harris as part of the reason why, says Brian Lewis of the New York Post. “Listen, we’re demanding that those guys — anybody that steps on the floor — we’re demanding them to defend,” says head coach Kenny Atkinson. Harris sprained his ankle Friday and his absence will give Kilpatrick one more opportunity to improve on that side of the ball.
  • Not much has gone well for the Nets this season, injuries to Jeremy Lin a major factor in their first-half struggles, but the promising play of Caris LeVert has been one of the few bright spots. Nets Daily discusses the first half of Brooklyn’s season.

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.”

Bryan Colangelo On Noel, Frontcourt Logjam

GM Bryan Colangelo said he doesn’t feel the need to make a trade, as Derek Bodner of the Philadelphia Magazine passes along in a series of Twitter links“If [all the centers are on the roster at the end of the season], so be it. I will not make a bad deal for this organization,” Colangelo said. The GM added that he’s aware everyone will be lined up to criticize any deal he should make involving Nerlens Noel.

Colangelo believes the root of the logjam in the frontcourt has been the health of Noel, Jahlil Okafor and Joel Embiid. “I don’t think we’ve been at a point where we could actively pursue a trade with any of the centers,” the GM said. He added that the team is “fascinated” with the Noel-Embiid combination.

[RELATED: Trade Candidate: Nerlens Noel]

The Sixers took Noel out of the rotation this week and the team maintains that it was not a direct response to Noel’s comments. Colangelo said the decision was made because they realized that there is a lot of talent on the team and not everyone can play, as Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays (Twitter links).

Colangelo added that the team needs to play faster once Ben Simmons returns, but he didn’t provide a timeline for when that would happen, Jessica Camerato of Comcast Sportsnet tweets.

Atlantic Notes: Colangelo, Rose, Uthoff, Early

Sixers executive Bryan Colangelo wasn’t a fan of the team’s culture when he was hired, as he told Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical on his podcast. “There was a losing culture,” Colangelo said of the team before he arrived. “There was a losing mindset. It had been ingrained partly due to the undertaking of rebuilding that they had been going through. It becomes part of the fabric of the team,” Colangelo said. “I think more than anything the mindset needed to shift, the mindset needed to change. And that’s why we’ve been talking about winning. Doing everything we can to promote winning, to promote a culture of excellence.”

Colangelo also told Wojnarowski that he had little interest in working under former GM Sam Hinkie, which was the arrangement first pitched to him by team ownership. “The first time that I met with David Blitzer and Josh Harris I basically told them I’m not the guy for this job. I suggested a few other people, one in particular that I thought would be ideal, to come in and compliment Sam to help take this thing to that next level. They were a little bit stunned at my reaction and my suggestion,” Colangelo said.

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The crew over at Basketball Insiders previewed the Celtics‘ upcoming season, with the general opinion being that Boston will finish first or second in the Atlantic Division in 2016/17.
  • The Knicks are hoping that Derrick Rose‘s upcoming  civil suit involving an alleged sexual assault won’t impact his season, Ian Begley of ESPN.com writes. “I think we’re just going to let the process work itself out,” team president Phil Jackson said when asked about the possibility of Rose missing training camp. “We’re not concerned with it. We understand this is a serious subject we’re talking about. But this has to be done outside of our control. It’s something we can’t control. Derrick has expressed that he’s not concerned with it. I mean, he’s quite aware of it. It’s not keeping him up at night. So we’re going with that, OK?
  • Undrafted free agent Jarrod Uthoff is excited to be joining a Raptors team that made it to last season’s Conference Finals, Cody Taylor of Basketball Insiders relays. “It’ll be a great chance to learn from experienced NBA guys that play at a very high level,” Uthoff said. “Being around that every day, you can’t replace that. It’s a really professional organization that handles themselves with class in whatever they do. I think that’s showing on the court as well. It starts from the top down. They really created a special organization there.
  • Former second round pick Cleanthony Early won’t be attending the Knicks‘ training camp and the forward remains a free agent, Marc Berman of The New York Post notes.
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