Furkan Korkmaz

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.

Free Agent Rumors: Lowry, Caruso, Cavs, Trent, Batum, Bradley

The Pelicans are viewed as the most likely of Kyle Lowry‘s prospective suitors to guarantee a third year in their offer to the veteran point guard, sources tell Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. However, it’s the Heat that are considered the current frontrunners to land Lowry.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski confirms as much in his latest report, suggesting that the Heat are ready and willing to attach assets to Goran Dragic to entice the Raptors to accept a sign-and-trade offer, with Precious Achiuwa and draft picks among the pieces that could be in play. According to Wojnarowski, the Pelicans and Mavericks – rumored to be two of Lowry’s most aggressive suitors – are beginning to consider other options as they look for a starting point guard.

Here are a few more updates on free agents, with the start of the 2021 free agent period less than 24 hours away:

Rosters Announced For Olympic Qualifying Tournaments

Four qualifying tournaments to determine the final four teams in the men’s basketball pool at the Tokyo Olympics are set to tip off on Tuesday. In advance of the Olympic qualifiers, the 24 teams involved have officially set their 12-man rosters, according to a press release from FIBA.

More than two dozen current NBA players are participating in the tournament, and 11 of the 24 teams competing for Olympic spots have at least one current NBA players on their respective rosters. Of those clubs, Team Canada has the biggest contingent of NBA players — eight of the 12 players on Nick Nurse‘s squad finished the season on an NBA roster. Turkey is next with four NBA players.

The four qualifying tournaments will take place in Serbia, Lithuania, Croatia, and Canada. Only the winner of each six-team group will advance to Tokyo. Those four winners will join Japan, Nigeria, Argentina, Iran, France, Spain, Australia, and the U.S. in the 12-team Olympic tournament.

The teams that move onto the Olympics may tweak their rosters for Tokyo, depending on the availability of certain players. For instance, if Greece were to win its qualifying tournament, perhaps Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo – who remains active in the playoffs for now – would make an effort to join the team in Tokyo next month.

Here are the NBA players on the OQT rosters:

Belgrade, Serbia

Kaunas, Lithuania

Split, Croatia

Victoria, Canada

There are also many former NBA players among the 24 rosters, including Mario Hezonja (Croatia), Milos Teodosic (Serbia), Jan Vesely (Czech Republic), Timofey Mozgov (Russia), and Anthony Bennett (Canada).

To view the full rosters, be sure to visit FIBA’s official site and click through to each team from there.