Furkan Korkmaz

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Niang, Maxey, Luxury Tax

Joel Embiid turned in an MVP performance Saturday afternoon while matched up with Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, who has beaten him out for the award the past two seasons, writes Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice. Embiid posted 47 points, 18 rebounds and five assists and made several big plays late in the game to help the Sixers win the battle between two of the NBA’s best teams.

Embiid was a bit too focused on his individual matchup with Jokic early on, Neubeck observes, but he began to take over the game in the second quarter, showing off his full offensive arsenal. Many of Embiid’s points came via a two-man weave with James Harden that resulted in prime scoring opportunities.

Afterward, Embiid said he doesn’t have a personal rivalry with Jokic, but he felt it was “a little disrespectful” that he wasn’t named a starter when the results of this year’s All-Star voting were announced Thursday, relays Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

“I’m used to it,” Embiid said of the snub. “It’s not the first time. I think it’s more of a motivation to go out and win the whole thing. That’s the only way I’m probably going to get that respect.”

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Georges Niang is headed for a sizable payday in free agency this summer, Neubeck adds. Niang contributed 14 points in about 18 minutes off the bench today, shooting 4-of-7 from three-point range. Neubeck calls Niang one of the NBA’s best bench shooters and expects a lot of teams to be interested when he hits the open market.
  • Tyrese Maxey has adapted well to a reserve role since the Sixers changed their starting lineup earlier this month, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer states in a mailbag column. Coming into today, Maxey was averaging 22.4 points and shooting 41.9% on three-pointers in his first five games off the bench. However, Pompey views Maxey as a long-term starter and says he needs to improve his defense this summer so he’ll be a better fit alongside Harden.
  • Luxury tax concerns will affect the Sixers’ strategy heading into the trade deadline, Pompey adds. Philadelphia is currently about $1.1MM over the threshold of $150.3MM, so Furkan Korkmaz or Jaden Springer could be unloaded to avoid the tax.

Atlantic Notes: Korkmaz, Raptors, Claxton, Celtics

With the Sixers‘ 2022/23 team salary just barely over the luxury tax line, there have been rumblings that the team will look to trade a non-rotation player to duck out of tax territory. Furkan Korkmaz, one player who has been cited as a candidate to be moved in such a deal, has heard the rumors, but is trying to not let them affect him, as Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays.

“I just let those guys handle it — my agent, my organization-wise,” he said. “Right now, I don’t think it’s going to make a lot of sense for me to say anything about it, because it’s not in my hands at some point. … For me, the best thing that I can say is I want to be happy, you know? I want to be on the court. And whatever they think is working with the team, that’s fine with me.”

Korkmaz has been a rotation regular in Philadelphia over the last several years, averaging 20.8 minutes per game in 194 appearances during the three seasons prior to this one. In 2022/23, he has appeared in just 23 contests and averaged only 10.9 MPG.

Given his decline in production over the last year and the fact that he’s owed a guaranteed $5.37MM next season, Korkmaz wouldn’t be a positive asset on the trade market — especially since potential trade partners would recognize that the Sixers want to duck the tax, reducing Philadelphia’s leverage.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Asked on his podcast by co-host Izzy Gutierrez about the Raptors‘ struggles this season, Pelicans guard CJ McCollum said he expects Toronto to make a move or two before the trade deadline. “I think in terms of what they need or what they’re lacking, something’s gonna happen. I don’t know what,” McCollum said (hat tip to HoopsHype). “There’s rumblings about certain players on the team not being happy. And due to tampering, I can’t speak to that, but I think they’re gonna move someone at some point.”
  • In a conversation with Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Nets center Nic Claxton said he feels like he’s “barely scratching the surface” of his potential and that he believes he can become one of the NBA’s best two-way players. Claxton also believes he should be the frontrunner for the Defensive Player of the Year award. “I’m defending one through five and neck and neck as the (NBA’s) leading shot blocker,” he said. “I’m doing everything on the defensive end for the team, anchoring the defense every single night.”
  • Jared Weiss of The Athletic takes a closer look at some of the Celtics‘ trade assets, examining which players might be available at the deadline and whether the team will have an opportunity to use its disabled player exception. Weiss identifies Danilo Gallinari and Payton Pritchard as two of the team’s top trade candidates and suggests the DPE will likely be saved for the buyout market.

Stein’s Latest: Quickley, Rose, Collins, Burks, Sixers

Although Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley continues to intrigue several rival clubs, New York is now more hesitant to include him in a potential deadline deal, given his strong play since Christmas, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack column.

Quickley has averaged 19.0 PPG, 5.2 APG and 5.1 RPG in his last nine games, during which the Knicks have gone 6-3. As was revealed previously, the Mavericks, Wizards, and Bucks are among the clubs with interest in the 6’3″ guard. Overall on the season, he is posting averages of 12.3 PPG, 4.1 RPG and 3.3 APG for the 24-19 Knicks.

There’s more from Stein:

  • Sources inform Stein that veteran Knicks reserve guard Derrick Rose could be on the move as well. The former three-time All-Star and 2011 MVP has long been a favorite player for head coach Tom Thibodeau, who also coached him with the Bulls and Timberwolves. A source tells Stein that New York would only make a move if the team feels it can “do right by” Rose. This would seem to suggest that the Knicks want to flip the 6’3″ vet to a team with an actual rotational need for him, as he has fallen out of New York’s lineups.
  • The Hawks have allowed the management team of power forward John Collins to look for favorable possible trade destinations, per Stein. Collins has been on the trading block for a while now. Stein writes that the Jazz, Wizards, Nets and Pacers remain intrigued by Collins to some extent. The 6’9″ big man has been having something of a down season, averaging his fewest field goal attempts (10.3) and points (13.1) since his 2o17/18 rookie year.
  • Pistons shooting guard Alec Burks has so impressed his current team that Detroit has reportedly been informing rival clubs that it would like to keep him and plans to pick up his $10.5MM team option for 2023/24, according to Stein. Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports reported something similar earlier in the week, noting that it would take a significant return to pry Burks away. Thus far this season, the 31-year-old is averaging 13.8 PPG on .461/.444/.810 shooting splits. He’s also chipping in 3.0 RPG and 2.2 APG for the Pistons.
  • The Sixers, looking to reduce their luxury-tax bill at the end of the season, are expected to try to trade shooting guards Jaden Springer and/or Furkan Korkmaz ahead of the trade deadline, Stein reports.

Fischer’s Latest: Jazz, Suns, McDaniels, Sixers, Holmes

League personnel expect the Jazz to become a seller ahead of the February 9 trade deadline, according to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports, who reports that Utah has received a lot of interest in Malik Beasley and Jarred Vanderbilt. The Jazz are looking for a first-round pick in exchange for either player, sources tell Fischer.

A couple weeks ago, Shams Charania of The Athletic reported about three-team trade talks between the Jazz, Suns and Hawks that involved Beasley, Vanderbilt, John Collins and Jae Crowder. Fischer hears from sources that the Jazz and Hawks also discussed a more straightforward deal, with Beasley and Vanderbilt heading to Atlanta in exchange for Collins, but suggests that the deal may have fallen apart when Utah asked for a first-rounder as well.

Echoing a report from Marc Stein, Fischer says Jordan Clarkson “is not considered a trade candidate at this time.” The Jazz want to keep the veteran guard, but are currently limited in what they can offer him in an extension, so he is expected to hit free agency.

Here’s more from Fischer:

  • Fischer suggests that a three-team deal is the most likely pathway for Crowder to eventually be dealt from the Suns. The Bucks are known to be very interested in Crowder, with Fischer reiterating that Milwaukee has been dangling Grayson Allen to rival teams. Charania reported a couple days ago that the Suns are interested in Hornets forward Jalen McDaniels, but sources tell Fischer that the fourth-year forward is a favorite of GM Mitch Kupchak, so Allen and second-round picks is unlikely to be enough for Charlotte.
  • Rival teams have gotten the impression that the Suns are looking for another ball-handler at guard, potentially a long-term replacement for point guard Chris Paul, Fischer adds.
  • Like Michael Scotto of HoopsHype, Fischer says the Wizards aren’t currently open to trading Kyle Kuzma, as the team hopes to re-sign him in free agency.
  • Unsurprisingly, Fischer writes that the Sixers will be actively looking for roster upgrades ahead of a playoff push. However, if that doesn’t come to fruition, Fischer suggests Philadelphia might dump a smaller salary to dip below the luxury tax threshold, pointing to Furkan Korkmaz, Matisse Thybulle and Jaden Springer as potential contracts that could be moved.
  • Kings backup center Richaun Holmes is available on the trade market, sources tell Fischer. The 29-year-old is in the second year of a four-year, $46MM deal, but has fallen out of Sacramento’s rotation under new head coach Mike Brown, averaging just 2.7 PPG and 2.0 RPG in 26 games (9.0 MPG). He averaged 14.2 PPG, 8.3 RPG and 1.6 BPG in 2020/21, so it’s possible a rival team might view him as a bounce-back candidate, but there’s no question that his value has declined.

And-Ones: OT Target Score, G League, Korkmaz, Bitadze

The NBA G League has been experimenting this fall with its overtime period by using a variation of the “Elam Ending,” as Kevin Pelton writes for ESPN. Instead of following up regulation with a two-minute overtime period, G League teams have played to a target score — the first team to score seven points in overtime wins the game.

The NBA has used the Elam Ending in its All-Star Game in recent years and could explore the idea of adjusting its own overtime periods if the G League experiment gets positive feedback. As Pelton notes, the idea of playing to a target score in OT holds appeal because beginning from a tie makes the concept simpler, and it could help avoid prolonged double- or triple-overtime games that result in players logging heavier minutes than teams would like.

If the NBA were to adopt an Elam Ending for overtime, it would likely have to increase its target score to about 11 points to better approximate its five-minute overtime period, Pelton adds.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Alex Kenendy of BasketballNews.com spoke to NBA G League commissioner Shareef Abdur-Rahim about several topics, including whether the league plans to experiment with any other rule changes and whether expansion to international markets besides Toronto and Mexico City is in the cards.
  • Following an investigation into a confrontation between Turkish and Georgian players at a EuroBasket game earlier this year, FIBA announced discipline for a handful of the players involved, including Sixers guard Furkan Korkmaz and Pacers center Goga Bitadze. Both players were fined and have been placed on a three-year probation period for international competition. If they commit a similar offense during that probation period, Bitadze would be suspended five games and Korkmaz would be suspended for three.
  • In an Insider-only feature for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks takes a look at the trade restrictions, trade assets, and trade targets for all 30 NBA teams.

Atlantic Notes: Nets, Simmons, Korkmaz, J. Jackson

The Nets are hoping to move past a chaotic offseason, but they looked completely out of sync in Thursday’s 29-point loss to the Heat, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “I didn’t like anything,” Kevin Durant said after Brooklyn committed 26 turnovers while shooting 39.2% from the field and 5-of-28 from three-point range. Coach Steve Nash agreed, saying a lot of improvement is needed before the regular season begins.

“We were second best in every category,” Nash said. “The mentality Miami brought, as we know they play physical, they’re going to get into you, and we allowed them to win that battle. All those little battles: Space, time, poise, screening, not screening, getting cut, no vision, not boxing out, not getting loose balls. You can go down the list, but really it starts with the mentality. They showed it and we’ve got to try to match that going forward.”

Ben Simmons struggled with playmaking duties in his second game after sitting out all of last season. Nash wants him to be more aggressive in attacking the basket, particularly against smaller defenders, but he managed just four points and four assists Thursday while turning the ball over six times.

“Get them out of the way now. Gotta get them out now. So that’s something I can be conscious of it and fix that I’m not too worried about that. I mean, it’s just the second game back in like a year,” Simmons said. “… I can’t be turning the ball over. I’m the point guard, so I’ve got to take responsibility in terms of that. But I’d rather figure out my angles and time the passes now and then in the regular season.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets were on the brink of disaster this summer, but they still haven’t gone over the edge, John Hollinger of the Athletic states in his preview of the team. Although there was high drama involving Durant and Kyrie Irving, Hollinger points out that Brooklyn didn’t make an offseason roster move involving anyone earning more than $10MM.
  • Sixers guard Furkan Korkmaz blames nerve damage in his right arm for what he calls a “horrible” 2021/22 season, per Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The injury affected his shot and Korkmaz fell out of the team’s rotation after hitting a career-low 28.9% on three-pointers. “I want to show the people again what I’m capable of,” he said. “Because, at the end of the day, whatever you do, people remember the end (of the season).”
  • After signing a non-guaranteed deal with the Raptors this summer, Josh Jackson is making a strong bid for a roster spot, according to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star.

And-Ones: Referees, Harrison, Bitadze, Korkmaz, Hoard

There won’t be any labor strife regarding NBA officials for several years. The NBA and the National Basketball Referees Association announced that they have entered into a new collective bargaining agreement that covers the next seven seasons.

That CBA runs through the 2028/29 season. The contract addressed salary, travel, pension and marketing issue rights and was ratified by the overwhelming majority of the NBA referees, the NBRA announced (hat tip to Andrew Lopez of ESPN).

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Former NBA guard Aaron Harrison has signed in Slovenia with KK Cedevita Olimpija Ljubljana, JD Shaw of Hoops Rumors tweets. Harrison played 38 games with the Hornets and Mavericks from 2015-18. He played in Turkey last season.
  • FIBA officially announced that disciplinary proceedings have been opened for the alleged attack on Sixers wing and Turkish national team member Furkan Korkmaz by Georgia players, including the Pacers’ Goga Bitadze, after Korkmaz was ejected from a EuroBasket contest, Eurohoops.net relays. Both sides agree that an incident happened and FIBA clarifies that they have the security camera footage from that day. What remains unclear is what kind of sanctions can be imposed, Eurohoops adds, as FIBA uses the wording “applicable disciplinary measures.”
  • Hapoel Tel Aviv has elected to retain Jaylen Hoard for the rest of he 2022/23 season, the team announced. Hoard joined the club on a partially guaranteed deal and now will get a full guarantee. After going undrafted out of Wake Forest in 2019, the 6’8″, French-born swingman joined the Trail Blazers on a two-way deal for the 2019/20 season. He then spent the subsequent two NBA seasons bouncing between the Thunder and their NBAGL affiliate, the Oklahoma City Blue.

Eastern Notes: Antetokounmpo, Knicks, Mitchell, Bitadze, Korkmaz

Minor knee pain was enough for Greece’s national team to hold out Bucks superstar Giannis Antetokounmpo from its EuroBasket contest on Monday, Kirk Goldsberry of ESPN writes. He wasn’t needed, as Greece posted a 93-77 victory over Great Britain.

“He had discomfort in his knee but nothing major,” Greece head coach Dimitris Itoudis said.

Greece will enter the knockout phase of the tournament this weekend, though Antetokounmpo might return to action Tuesday against Ukraine.

We have more Eastern Conference info:

  • The Knicks made a series of mistakes and botched negotiations with the Jazz regarding a potential Donovan Mitchell trade, Alan Hahn opines in a Substack post. They potentially alienated some young players and essentially sent a message to RJ Barrett that he’s not destined for stardom despite giving him an extension. They also overestimated the value of protected draft picks and the package they offered for Mitchell before Utah completed a deal with the Cavaliers. It now calls into question the franchise’s overall strategy, Hahn adds.
  • Sixers wing and Turkish national team member Furkan Korkmaz was allegedly attacked by Georgia players after he was ejected from a EuroBasket contest. One of those alleged attackers was Pacers’ big man Goga Bitadze, sportscaster Ismal Senol tweets. Even if that’s true, there’s no precedent for the NBA to dole out punishment to a player for his actions in FIBA games, John Hollinger of The Athletic tweetsNenad Krstic, Thon Maker and Nicolas Batum were not disciplined by the NBA for past incidents that occurred in FIBA tournaments, Hollinger notes.
  • In case you missed it, the Celtics are expected to apply for a disabled player exception due to Danilo Gallinari‘s knee injury. Get the info here.

International Notes: Doncic, Georgia, Turkey, Korkmaz, Lithuania Protest

The EuroBasket schedule could increase the potential for injuries, Mavericks franchise player Luka Doncic told Antonis Stroggylakis of Eurohoops.net. “We’re going to play four games in five days,” Doncic said. “(Sunday), basically we had two games in 24 hours. Yes this should change for everybody. Everybody is doing the same. Everybody has less rest. It’s a problem because of injuries you know. More injuries can happen. Especially the (NBA) clubs wouldn’t be very glad.”

We have more international news:

  • FIBA has issued a statement (hat tip to Eurohoops.net) regarding the altercation between Georgia and Turkey players and delegation members, saying an investigation is underway. Both sides have made allegations and “the competent FIBA bodies will decide on any applicable disciplinary measures.” The Turkish delegation’s protest of the game due to a timekeeper error was dismissed. While the timing error was acknowledged, FIBA determined it didn’t affect the outcome.
  • Regarding those allegations, Sixers wing and Turkey’s Furkan Korkmaz stated that he was attacked by five people. Coach Ergin Ataman asked for extra security measures, while Turkish Basketball Federation vice president Omer Onan asked for sanctions toward Georgia, according to Eurohoops.net. Georgia’s basketball federation countered that there were “provocations” from the Turkish team.
  • FIBA also dismissed a protest by Lithuania in its loss to Germany, Eurohoops.net tweets. Lithuania claimed it wasn’t given a free throw after a technical foul was assessed to Team Germany in the third quarter. The protest was dismissed because it was not delivered within an hour after the game and “the reason presented” was not something that could be protested anyway.

And-Ones: Korkmaz, Turkey, Popovich, France, Team USA

Sixers guard Furkan Korkmaz was attacked in the hallway of the locker room after being ejected in Turkey’s game against Georgia, the Turkish team alleged (link via Semih Tuna of EuroHoops). The Turkish federation vice president, Omer Onan, is now threatening that the team will leave the EuroBasket if proper action isn’t taken.

“While Furkan Korkmaz was walking in the hallway to the locker rooms with our trainer, Georgia’s players who were not in the active roster attacked him together with the ejected player [Duda Sanadze] and the police,” Onan explained in a lengthy statement. “There should not be an attack on the player that goes to the locker room. At the end of the match, 30 policemen each pushed us into a fight. We got into a fight with Georgia’s official police. I am calling out to FIBA and I have also told FIBA’s officials.

“Let no one deceive themselves or think that we are stupid. They will bring us all the camera footage from that corridor minute by minute without anything missing. If those cameras do not come to us, we will leave this tournament. Wherever you look it, there is nothing to hold onto. The non-competing player, (Toko) Shengelia, and three people sitting on the bench went to the locker room. At the end of the match, the police were in front of our locker room. Supposedly they were protecting us but they pushed us all the time. We were going to hit each other with our fists.”

It’s unclear what injuries — if any — Korkmaz sustained. The 25-year-old was drafted by Philadelphia with the No. 26 pick in 2016. He’s spent his entire career with the franchise so far, averaging 7.6 points in 67 games this past season.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Legendary Spurs coach Gregg Popovich believes the NBA and European basketball are becoming more similar, Emiliano Carchia of Sportando writes. While the quote has been condensed, Popovich did shine light on the matter. “Ten years ago, American basketball was mainly made up of threes and dunks, and with the arrival of basketball on European TV, I think everyone was very excited by this,” he said. “In Europe, on the contrary, basketball was played based on fundamentals, movement, a basketball where players move with the ball and without the ball. I think the two worlds have been apart for a while, but now we are getting closer.”
  • France managed to survive Hungary’s comeback and win on Sunday, as relayed by EuroHoops. The team was led by Timberwolves center Rudy Gobert, who finished with 15 points and nine rebounds, plus played his usual stellar defense.
  • Team USA’s game against Venezuela on Sunday was postponed after rain leaked into the gym, according to The Associated Press. America was leading 48-21 at halftime when heavy rain caused multiple leaks and ended the contest early. The game was played in Brazil.