Furkan Korkmaz

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Sixers, Knicks, Durant, Simmons

Five-time Sixers All-Star center Joel Embiid admitted that he considered quitting basketball entirely during his rookie year, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Embiid was drafted by the Sixers in 2014 with the third pick out of Kansas, but didn’t suit up for Philadelphia until the 2016/17 season. Surgeries for a navicular bone in his right foot delayed Embiid’s NBA debut for two years while he grieved the death of a family member off the court.

“You look back at my first year after the surgery,” Embiid said. “Obviously, I lost my brother at that time, too. Going back to Cameroon, I really wanted to stop playing basketball and really retire because at that point you just had surgery, and everybody is talking about ‘You’re not going to make it’ or ‘You’re never going to play in the league,’ and, obviously, the loss of my brother was big. I wanted to give up. I almost did. It was hard.”

The 28-year-old has since become one of the most dominant centers in the NBA, and is currently building a convincing MVP case with a terrific and mostly healthy season thus far. He is averaging 29.6 PPG, 11.2 RPG and 4.5 APG through 46 games this season. Embiid boasts shooting splits of .495/.369/.813.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • While the identities of four Sixers starters are fairly clear heading into the home stretch of the 2021/22 NBA season, the team has several options for the fifth starting role, per Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice. With James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, Tobias Harris and Embiid entrenched in the club’s starting lineup. Neubeck considers whether they’d be best complemented by the defensive attributes of Matisse Thybulle, the corner three-point shooting of Danny Green or Furkan Korkmaz, or the size advantage of Georges Niang.
  • With a 25-34 record, the Knicks face an uphill battle to even make the play-in tournament this season. Fred Katz of The Athletic wonders at what point second-year New York head coach Tom Thibodeau, whose job may be in jeopardy this summer, may opt to prioritize developing the team’s youth over less-than-meaningful victories. Katz also theorizes about the potential markets awaiting 2022 unrestricted free agent center Mitchell Robinson, and forward Cam Reddish, whom the Knicks could either opt to extend this summer or allow to reach restricted free agency next year.
  • Nets team president Sean Marks expects stars Kevin Durant and Ben Simmons to join the team on the hardwood fairly soon, writes Brian Lewis of the New York Post“Depending when they go, we’ve got to see how they respond to days like [Tuesday], and we’ll go forward with this,” Marks said. “It’s probably going to be tough, to be honest, to be playing in the next three or four days. But we’ll see how it all plays out.”

Pacers Rumors: Brogdon, Hield, Warren, Craig, Turner, Korkmaz

There are rival executives around the NBA who believe the Pacers will trade Malcolm Brogdon this offseason following their acquisition of Tyrese Haliburton, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype. Brogdon isn’t eligible to be traded this season due to the contract extension he signed in the fall, but could be moved in the summer

The Pacers shouldn’t feel any urgency to deal Brogdon, since he and Haliburton are both solid ball-handlers, defenders, and shooters who could complement one another in the backcourt. But the presence of Haliburton certainly will give Indiana more options if the team wants to try to use Brogdon in a trade to address another area of the roster.

According to Scotto, the Pacers are also open to flipping newly-acquired shooting guard Buddy Hield prior to Thursday’s trade deadline. Hield’s $23MM cap hit and the $40MM he’s owed for the two seasons after this one will probably make it tricky for the club to get much of value for him, especially since he has had a down year — his .368 3PT% is the worst mark of his career.

Here’s more on the Pacers:

  • Veteran forwards T.J. Warren and Torrey Craig are among the other players the Pacers have made available in advance of Thursday’s trade deadline, league sources tell Scotto. Warren, who will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason, hasn’t played since December 2020 due to a foot injury, so teams may be reluctant to take a flier on him.
  • Myles Turner is expected to remain with the Pacers beyond the deadline, a source with knowledge of the team’s thinking tells Chris Mannix of SI.com. Mannix and Steve Bulpett of Heavy.com have both heard that the Pistons and Pacers discussed a swap centered around Turner and Jerami Grant, but Bulpett says Indiana rejected it. According to Bulpett, the Bucks have also shown some interest in Turner to fill the Brook Lopez role on their roster, with Lopez’s availability for the rest of the season up in the air.
  • The Pacers have some interest in Sixers wing Furkan Korkmaz, believing that he could benefit from a change of scenery, sources tell Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. A career 37.7% three-point shooter entering this season, Korkmaz has made just 28.7% of his attempts from beyond the arc in 2021/22.

Atlantic Notes: Noel, Korkmaz, Harris, Achiuwa

Knicks center Nerlens Noel made his season debut on Wednesday and drew some praise from his coach, Marc Berman of the New York Post writes. Noel had been sidelined by knee and hamstring soreness. He had two points and six rebounds in 18 minutes. “For the first game I thought he gave us some really good minutes,” Tom Thibodeau said. “Good activity. Rim protection. Effort plays. A lot of good things.” Noel re-signed with New York this summer on a three-year, $32MM contract.

We have more on the Atlantic Division:

  • Furkan Korkmaz has changed agents, according to Sportando’s Emiliano Carchia. The Sixers wing will now by represented by Jason Glushon and Dan Tobin. Korkmaz re-signed with the team on a three-year, $15MM contract this summer.
  • Sixers forward Tobias Harris was placed under the league’s health and safety protocols on Wednesday and he’s experiencing COVID-19 symptoms, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. “He’s doing OK, but not great, honestly,” coach Doc Rivers said. “That’s the most I’m gonna say about it. But it hit him, for sure. A lot of guys have had this and they are mad like, ‘What the hell? I’m fine.’ Tobias is not in that category right now.”
  • Raptors coach Nick Nurse said that Precious Achiuwa earned the starting nod at center and doesn’t plan on making a change despite inconsistent play, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets.  “We don’t expect (the young guys) to play great every night,” Nurse said. “It doesn’t mean we’ve got to change the starting lineup. I think we just stick with it and see how it goes.” Achiuwa has gone 5-for-27 from the field in his last three games.

Tobias Harris Tests Positive For COVID-19

NOVEMBER 3: Harris has tested positive for COVID-19, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

As Wojnarowski notes (via Twitter), in order to return to the court, a player who tests positive has to either wait 10 days after his initial positive test (or the onset of symptoms) or register two consecutive negative PCR tests 24 hours apart. He also has to pass cardiac tests before being cleared.

NOVEMBER 1: Sixers high-scoring forward Tobias Harris is out for their game against Portland on Monday due to the league’s health and safety protocols, Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets.

A timetable for Harris’ return should be established in the next 12-24 hours, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. Shams Charania of The Athletic adds (via Twitter) that Harris will likely miss a few games.

The Sixers have already produced plenty of drama early this season due to the ongoing Ben Simmons saga. Simmons has yet to play this season and Joel Embiid is resting a sore knee. Embiid had an MRI on Sunday which revealed no major concerns, per Ramona Shelburne of ESPN (Twitter link), and is expected to return to action on Wednesday.

Harris is averaging 19.8 PPG, 9.0 RPG and 4.2 APG through six games this season. Furkan Korkmaz will start in his place.

Harris is the second prominent player placed under the league’s health and safety protocols on Monday. Cleveland’s Kevin Love is expected to miss several games for that reason.

Eastern Notes: Dinwiddie, Rivers, Young, Hunter, Reddish, Okeke

There was speculation last spring that Spencer Dinwiddie might return from his partially torn ACL during the playoffs. However, Nets coach Steve Nash said that was never on the agenda, Brian Lewis of the New York Post tweets. “I personally don’t like it, I don’t think anyone in the medical staff thought it was fair to Spencer…So we didn’t bring it up,” Nash said. “We thought it was best to let him have his time to heal and further his career.” Dinwiddie has gotten off to a strong start with Washington this season.

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • Sixers head coach Doc Rivers is giving his reserves extended minutes in the early going and there’s a purpose behind it, Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Furkan Korkmaz and four other reserves turned a nine-point lead into a blowout during the second half of Philadelphia’s win over New Orleans last week. Rivers wants to ensure the team has plenty of reliable options. “That’s why, early in the year, you extend your bench,” Rivers said. “That’s why you do it. It’s so important for your team.”
  • Having De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish healthy and productive is almost like signing two impact free agents, Hawks star Trae Young told Marc Stein of Substack. Both of those players were limited during Atlanta’s postseason run. “We didn’t have them most of the playoffs,” Young said. “And ‘Dre … not having him in the last two series made it a lot tougher for everybody. And then Cam only being able to play the last couple games in the playoffs. Those two guys are key guys for us. Having them healthy is going to be big.” Hunter missed Monday’s game with a non-COVID-related illness.
  • Chuma Okeke‘s return from a bone bruise in his hip remains uncertain, Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. Magic coach Jamahl Mosley said of Okeke, “There is no real timetable for him. We’re going to see how he responds to contact and to his rehab.” Okeke did not play in the preseason and has yet to make his season debut.

Sixers Notes: Milton, Offseason, Contention, Simmons

Sixers reserve guard Shake Milton continues to struggle with a sprained ankle. Head coach Doc Rivers said today that Milton was “nowhere near” being ready to rejoin his teammates in Philadelphia’s season-opening contest on Wednesday against the Pelicans, tweets Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times. Rivers added that he expects Milton to be unavailable “for a while.”

The 6’5″ Milton, selected with the No. 54 pick in the 2018 draft, enjoyed a breakout year with the Sixers during the 2020/21 season, averaging career highs of 13.0 PPG, 3.1 APG and 2.3 in 63 games.

There’s more out of the City of Brotherly Love:

  • After a tumultuous offseason that saw an extended holdout from All-Star Ben Simmons, the Sixers have their work cut out for them to remain a contender in the East. John Hollinger of The Athletic supplies a fresh recap for Philadelphia’s offseason moves and examines the club’s cap situation in a new season preview. Hollinger offers high marks for the club’s value free agency signings, especially applauding the addition of reserve power forward Georges Niang and the re-signings of wings Danny Green and Furkan Korkmaz to team-friendly deals.
  • The Sixers are optimistic they can compete for a title, even with the situation surrounding disgruntled star Ben Simmons still unsettled, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer“If you don’t have great expectations, you are not going to have great success,” head coach Doc Rivers observed. “We have to be able to handle the expectations that we create.”
  • After successfully clearing team health and safety protocols, embattled Sixers All-Star Ben Simmons has resumed practicing with Philadelphia as a full participant, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Head coach Doc Rivers said he intends to treat Simmons as if he will playing with the club going forward. “Well we have to,” Rivers said. “As a coach, I’m literally in a tough spot, right? But we literally have to.” According to an ESPN report, it remains uncertain when Simmons will play actual games for the Sixers. “When he’s ready, he’ll play,” Rivers said.

Atlantic Notes: Knox, Irving, Korkmaz, Morgan

Forward Kevin Knox, a 2018 lottery pick, has reached a crossroads in his Knicks career and Knox remains hopeful he can gain coach Tom Thibodeau’s trust, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. He’s entering the last year of his rookie career and it’s highly unlikely the team will sign him to an extension.

“Right now, no one has really solidified minutes, solidified starters and bench players,” Knox said. “So it’s going into camp, going into the season with the right mindset that I really want to play this year. So I’m going to have to figure out a way to stay on the court and get minutes. So I’m really not worried about the trades and everything else. I’m just worried about getting in the rotation and being on the court.’’

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets aren’t sure whether Kyrie Irving will be allowed to practice with the team on Tuesday, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. Irving’s refusal to be vaccinated will prevent him from playing home games as well as participating in practices at the training facility under New York City rules. “I don’t have an update on that,” coach Steve Nash said. “So I really don’t know.”
  • Sixers wing Furkan Korkmaz has parted ways with Excel Sports, according to Emiliano Carchia of Sportando. He’ll pick a new agent soon, Carchia adds. Korkmaz re-signed with Philadelphia on a three-year, $15MM deal this summer.
  • Juwan Morgan of the Celtics remains sidelined by a hamstring injury, Jared Weiss of The Athletic tweets. The injury imperils Morgan’s chances of making the team. The former Jazz forward, who hasn’t been able to participate in practices, signed a camp deal last month.

Latest On Ben Simmons

The primary motivation for Ben Simmons‘ trade demand and holdout is to steer him to a team that would build around him on offense, league sources tell Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. O’Connor’s story comes on the heels of a Tuesday report which suggested that Simmons no longer wants to play with Joel Embiid, whose style of play isn’t considered conducive to the way Simmons wants to play on offense.

However, according to O’Connor’s sources, Simmons didn’t make it clear during his August meeting with the Sixers‘ brass that his offensive role was a major problem. During that meeting, O’Connor says, head coach Doc Rivers outlined a plan to stagger Simmons’ and Emibiid’s minutes more often, frequently using Simmons more like the Bucks use Giannis Antetokounmpo, with four shooters around him. It sounds as if the three-time All-Star wasn’t enthused by the team’s pitch.

League sources tell The Ringer that the Rockets planned on building their system around Simmons if they had taken the Sixers’ trade offer for James Harden last season, but obviously that didn’t come to fruition. It’s unclear whether any of Simmons’ current suitors are prepared to provide him with the offensive environment he’s looking for — O’Connor suggests that the Kings might be the best candidate to do so.

Here’s more on the Simmons situation:

  • O’Connor acknowledges that things can change quickly, but said that as of Tuesday, league sources didn’t get the sense that the Sixers were close to trading Simmons. As O’Connor notes, with Philadelphia not especially interested in packages heavy on draft picks and prospects and so many veterans ineligible to be dealt until at least December 15, it could still be a while before the 76ers start getting offers they deem acceptable.
  • Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today (Twitter link) has heard that the Sixers are targeting potential trade partners in the Western Conference.
  • With Simmons unavailable, Tyrese Maxey has taken the reins as the lead point guard, writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. However, Rivers and the 76ers are prepared to try out some unconventional ball-handling options beyond Maxey. According to Mizell, Rivers said that Furkan Korkmaz and Georges Niang were “very effective” at bringing up the ball with the reserves on Tuesday.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Sixers, Simmons, Horford

Having already received clearance to play their home games in Toronto in 2021/22 after spending last season in Tampa, the Raptors are now waiting to see whether the Ontario provincial goverment will allow them to play in front of full-capacity crowds at Scotiabank Arena, writes Kevin McGran of The Toronto Star.

Both the Raptors and the NHL’s Toronto Maple Leafs – who share Scotiabank Arena – intend to only allow fully vaccinated individuals to attend games. They’re expecting to get an answer from government officials this week, per McGran.

“With a fully vaccinated venue, it is our belief that we can safely host a full capacity event,” MLSE spokesperson Dave Haggith said. “With tickets on sale, we are planning for eventual full capacity in 2021 and our ticketing rollout has built-in flexibility so we are ready for potential scenarios.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • With the Ben Simmons situation still unresolved, Rich Hofmann of The Athletic examines what the Sixers‘ rotation might look like in 2021/22 both with Simmons and without him. Tyrese Maxey, Shake Milton, and Furkan Korkmaz would receive the biggest minutes boosts if Simmons holds out and hasn’t yet been traded.
  • Jared Dubin of FiveThirtyEight considers what past trades of All-Stars can tell us about the Simmons situation. As Dubin outlines, pieces-and-picks packages are typically the most common returns for All-Star players, while the Sixers are seeking a star-for-star deal, increasing the degree of difficulty.
  • Al Horford‘s return to the Celtics means the team will be able to comfortably run out lineups featuring two big men again. Jared Weiss of The Athletic explains why that’s a good thing for Boston.

Furkan Korkmaz Re-Signs With Sixers

AUGUST 9: The Sixers have officially re-signed Korkmaz, the team announced today in a press release.

AUGUST 2: The Sixers have agreed to re-sign wing Furkan Korkmaz on a three-year, $15MM contract, agents Mike Lindeman and Jeff Schwartz told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). It’s a fully guaranteed deal, per Derek Bodner of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Philadelphia has full Bird rights on Korkmaz, which will allow the team to ink him without cutting into its mid-level exception, ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

Korkmaz was a late first-round pick in 2016 and joined Philadelphia the following season. Last season, he appeared in 55 games, including 11 starts, and averaged 9.1 PPG. He’s a career 37.7% 3-point shooter and he’s taken 786 of his 1,260 career shot attempts from beyond the arc.

He’ll once again add depth at the small forward spot for an organization angling to make deeper playoff runs.