Glenn Robinson III

Sixers Notes: Horford, Milton, Robinson, Thybulle

The Sixers may arrive in Orlando with more lineup questions than any other contender. The most significant involves what to do with Al Horford, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The veteran big man was pulled from the starting lineup Feburary 11, but was reinserted three games later after Ben Simmons suffered a back injury.

Horford looked good in eight straight starts before the hiatus, but may be headed back to the bench now that Simmons is fully recovered. Horford seemed like a valuable addition when he left the Celtics for the Sixers last summer. But he hasn’t found a way to be effective playing alongside center Joel Embiid, particularly when Simmons is on the floor at the same time, which results in spacing issues.

“I just want us to be playing well and to be playing at a high level,” Horford said. “I’m going to continue to work and be an assistance to a team any way I can. I do know for us to be successful I have to play with different lineups. I have to play with Joel sometimes. I have to play with different people. It really doesn’t matter.”

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Coach Brett Brown wants to use Simmons in more of an off-the-ball role, which could mean additional playing time for Shake Milton, according to Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Milton averaged 17.8 points and 4.1 assists in the last nine games before the break and moved into the starting lineup after Simmons’ injury.  However, Brown is wary about expecting too much from the 23-year-old in the postseason. “I always get nervous about relying on young guys for the NBA playoffs. Shake is no different,” Brown said. “… But I’m going into this excited. I think some of the performances that he had on a consistent basis (earlier in the season) can’t be that far out of reach where maybe he can produce a large portion of that again.”
  • In the same piece, Bodner examines which role players the team can count on when the season resumes. He suggests Glenn Robinson III, who was acquired from the Warriors at the trade deadline, may move up in the rotation.
  • Rookie Matisse Thybulle has embraced Brown’s message for players to keep their conditioning at a B level and raise it to an A in Orlando, writes Lauren Rosen of NBA.com“In a matter of two weeks, I feel like I’ve gotten back into really good shape,” Thybulle said. “I think it’s going to be easier to build on after this. Like Coach said, being at a B, I feel like I’m definitely there, and once we start playing, it’s going to fall into place.”

Warriors Notes: Myers, Durant, Cook, Free Agents

“The Last Dance” documentary series is making an impression around the NBA, particularly with the Warriors, who can identify with the challenges of trying to string together championships, writes Nick Friedell of ESPN. One of those challenges is attempting to maintain camaraderie, which became an issue on the way to the 2017/18 title, admits general manager Bob Myers.

“The second time with Kevin (Durant) it felt like, ‘Well, we just did what we were supposed to do, and great job,'” Myers said. “It wasn’t joy. I’m sure a lot of people felt differently. It wasn’t anybody’s fault. I think there’s just a weight to everything. And so I’m sure (the Bulls) felt that weight of everything, weight of relationships.”

Golden State posted 67-15 and 58-24 records and won back-to-back championships during its first two seasons with Durant. But before the quest for a three-peat was derailed by injuries in last year’s Finals, there were frequent reports that Durant was looking to leave the organization and an infamous on-court incident with Draymond Green.

“To be honest, (the documentary) is just confirmation of what I was saying to our team all of last year and 2018,” coach Steve Kerr said. “The whole messaging for the year was based on my experience with Chicago and feeling that level of fatigue (and) emotional toll that had been over the previous four years. … And so watching this now is just a reminder of how difficult it is to sustain that kind of run.”

There’s more Warriors news to pass along:

  • Connor Letourneau of The San Francisco Chronicle talked to a few Warriors players who are too young to remember the Michael Jordan era. Several took note of Jordan’s intense leadership style in the documentary, saying it was reminiscent of Green. “When (Jordan) just said he never asked anybody to do anything that he wouldn’t do, that really stuck with me,” Marquese Chriss said. “You want your leader to lead by example, but also be vocal at the same time. It honestly reminded me a bit of Draymond.”
  • Even though the Warriors dropped to the bottom of the West this season, the team’s culture continues to be a strong selling point with players, observes Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay AreaAlec Burks and Glenn Robinson III both expressed disappointment over being traded in February, and Quinn Cook said it was important to him to sign with the Warriors in 2017. “When Golden State called, I told my agent, ‘I didn’t care if I never play,” said Cook, now with the Lakers. “I don’t have to play. I just want to be a part of the organization. I want to learn every single day from those guys.’”
  • Grant Liffman of NBC Sports Bay Area identifies 11 free agents that the Warriors should target, even though they will be over the cap and can only offer minimum contracts and the taxpayer mid-level exception.

Sixers Notes: Simmons, Embiid, Horford, GRIII

While Sixers center Joel Embiid has a chance to return from his shoulder injury within the next week, sources tell ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne that Ben Simmons‘ recovery timeline is harder to pin down. Simmons, who is dealing with a nerve impingement in his lower back, will be re-evaluated next week.

As Shelburne explains, the Sixers are waiting for the inflammation around Simmons’ nerve to subside. The club is hoping to get him back before the end of the season so he can get his feet under him again before the playoffs. But at this point, that’s “just a hope,” given the uncertainty surrounding the injury, Shelburne writes.

Here’s more on the 76ers:

  • Shelburne’s ESPN article on the Sixers’ up-and-down season is worth reading in full, with head coach Brett Brown, GM Elton Brand, and big man Al Horford among those providing quotes. Brown, notably, expressed plenty of confidence that Embiid and Simmons are capable of not just co-existing and thriving, but of winning a title together. “I know these guys,” Brown said. “It’s like how my wife knows when my kids are going to get sick about two days before they get sick. When you’re a parent, you know your kids. And so I look at these two guys and I know they can win together. They can and they will.”
  • In the wake of a report suggesting the 76ers may explore trading Horford in the offseason, Chris Mannix of SI.com asked a veteran NBA executive about the possibility. “I would be shocked if he has value,” the exec said of Horford. “They might have to include an asset for someone to take him off their books. He has not looked good this year. His movement, it just seems a step slow, on both ends. I think they have to try to trade him. He obviously can’t play with Embiid. The goal should be to divide that salary over a couple of players and make them deeper. But I don’t know how they are going to do that.”
  • Glenn Robinson III, who expressed some confusion last week about what role the Sixers wanted him to play, is feeling a little better about his place in the rotation these days. As Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes, Robinson showed on Tuesday why the 76ers traded for him, scoring 25 points on 10-of-15 shooting. He said after the game that he’s continuing to “get a feel for my teammates.”

Eastern Notes: Lamb, Robinson, Boylen, Robinson

The Pacers aren’t interested in re-signing swingman Lance Stephenson despite Jeremy Lamb‘s season-ending injury, according to Scott Agness of The Athletic. Stephenson is seeking to return to the league and would welcome a reunion, Agness adds. Aaron Holiday, Justin Holiday, Edmond Sumner and Doug McDermott could all see additional playing time to make up for Lamb’s absence.

We have more from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Glenn Robinson III isn’t quite sure why the Sixers wanted him, as he told Spencer Davies of Basketball Insiders. Robinson was acquired from the Warriors in a deadline deal. “When you come here and your role’s not really explained or you don’t know what’s going on with the trade — it’s not like it was a trade where you come in and immediately have an impact,” Robinson said. “It’s a little different, so… this team is full of wings, full of guys who can play. So really, I don’t really understand it.” Robinson has an expiring contract after signing for the veteran’s minimum with Golden State last summer.
  • Jim Boylen’s chances of remaining head coach of the Bulls beyond this season rest upon whom the front office hires, as K.C. Johnson of NBC Sports explains. The Bulls plan to restructure the front office and there will be at least one new prominent hire in basketball operations, Johnson continues. While it’s unknown whether the newcomer would determine Boylen’s future, the ability to make that decision would likely be a priority for most attractive candidates, Johnson adds.
  • Shooting guard Jerome Robinson hit a big 3-point shot for the Wizards against the Nets this week as he continues to take advantage of his opportunities, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington writes. Acquired in a three-team deadline deal from the Clippers, Robinson is averaging 5.6 PPG, 3.7 RPG and 1.3 APG in 17.6 MPG in seven games with Washington. Robinson, the 13th pick of the 2018 draft, has a $3.7MM guaranteed salary for next season with a $5.3MM team option for the 2021/22 campaign.

Atlantic Notes: Celtics, B. Brown, Sixers, Kyrie

Celtics guard Kemba Walker, who was teammates with Marvin Williams for five seasons in Charlotte, said he spent several weeks trying to convince the veteran forward to join him in Boston when he was eventually bought out by the Hornets, according to Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. After Williams joined the rival Bucks instead, Walker called up his longtime teammate to congratulate him on his new deal.

He said that he wished he could have gotten to Boston with me, but I’m just happy for him,” the Celtics’ All-Star point guard said, per Himmelsbach. “That’s my guy, man. That’s one of my favorite teammates I’ve ever been around. That’s my vet. I was upset that we didn’t get the chance to get him, but I’m happy for him. He deserves it. He’s been in the league for a very long time. He works hard. He deserves to be on a winning team.”

The Celtics figure to keep a close eye on the buyout market in the coming weeks, though they’ll have to waive a player from their 15-man roster if they want to bring anyone in.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Following last week’s trade deadline, Sixers general manager Elton Brand said he believes in Brett Brown‘s ability to lead the team. However, as Malika Andrews of ESPN writes, the 76ers’ GM stopped short of guaranteeing Brown would keep his job for the rest of the 2019/20 season. “I’m not going to play what-ifs,” Brand said. For what it’s worth, the team was mired in a four-game losing streak at the time of Brand’s comments and is 2-0 since then.
  • Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer explores what sort of roles newly-acquired bench pieces Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III will play for the Sixers, suggesting that Robinson may end up with a more defined role.
  • Kyrie Irving‘s right knee sprain will sideline him through the All-Star break, according to Malika Andrew (Twitter link), who says the Nets have ruled out the star point guard for Wednesday’s game vs. Toronto.

Western Notes: Wiggins, Collison, Warriors

While Andrew Wiggins‘ contract, which has over $94MM left on it after this season, may seem like it is a negative mark on his trade value, that perception is no longer the reality around the league.

The Timberwolves knew they likely had to move Wiggins (for salary-matching purposes) and reached out to other teams about taking on the 24-year-old prior to agreeing to terms with the Warriors.

The former No. 1 pick has improved his value considerably since last season — part of that is him buying into the plan set forth by Minnesota’s player development staff. Wiggins is finding better looks and taking a more cerebral approach to the game this year after putting in substantial work during the offseason.

Here’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Timberwolves had spoken to the Mavericks about a Wiggins deal prior to trading him to the Warriors, per a source. It’s unclear how far those talks went.
  • Former NBA wing Matt Barnes remains close with Darren Collison and says the point guard is “50/50” on returning to the league, as ESPN’s Rachel Nichols tweets. It was previously reported that if Collison returns, he’d prefer to go to the Lakers or Clippers.
  • The Warriors trading Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III caught the locker room by surprise. “So this was a blindside,” one member of the team told Anthony Slater of The Athletic. Prior to the team’s matchup on Wednesday night, the front office pulled Burks and Robinson from pre-game shootaround, signaling that the duo was going to be traded.

Warriors Trade Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III To Sixers

FEBRUARY 6: The trade is now official, according to press releases from the Warriors and Sixers. Philadelphia waived Trey Burke in a corresponding move, as we noted earlier. The team created the other roster opening by sending James Ennis to Orlando.

FEBRUARY 5: The Warriors and Sixers have agreed to a trade that will send Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III to Philadelphia, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

According to Charania (Twitter link), the 76ers will send Golden State a trio of second-round picks in the deal. Those three picks are Dallas’ 2020 second-rounder, Denver’s 2021 second-rounder, and Toronto’s 2022 second-rounder, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

The 76ers have a full 15-man roster, so they’ll have to move a pair of players to accommodate the new additions. They’re working on possible trades to clear those roster spots, but will waive two players at the deadline if necessary, tweets Wojnarowski.

No salary-matching is required in the deal, since both Burks and Robinson are on one-year, minimum-salary contracts and can be taken on using the minimum salary exception.

Sixers general manager Elton Brand had been on the lookout for players who could provide the team with reliable depth and outside shooting, and Burks and Robinson should fit nicely. Both wings have played increased roles for the injury-plagued Warriors this season, with Burks averaging a career-best 16.1 PPG with 3.1 APG and a .375 3PT% in 48 games (29.0 MPG), while Robinson has put up a career-high 12.9 PPG and 4.7 RPG on .481/.400/.851 shooting in 48 games (31.6 MPG).

Philadelphia didn’t have expendable players on mid-level-type salaries to make a run at higher-priced trade candidates, so the team made use of its cache of second-round selections to acquire a pair of low-cost veterans. Even after surrendering three future picks in this deal, the Sixers still control a handful of valuable second-round selections, including the Hawks’ and Knicks’ 2020 second-rounders.

As for the Warriors, they’ve rebuilt their own collection of future draft picks in recent weeks, having now acquired a total of four second-rounders for role players Burks, Robinson, and Willie Cauley-Stein. The moves have also helped Golden State inch closer to the tax line for the 2019/20 season.

As Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights details (Twitter link), the Dubs are still slightly over the luxury tax threshold, and will move further into tax territory once they sign replacement players. But they’re at the point where they’ve greatly reduced their projected end-of-season bill and could even sneak out of the tax if they move another player or two on Thursday.

The Warriors will have just 11 players under contract once this trade goes through. The team will have to sign at least one player by Saturday, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link), who suggests Marquese Chriss is a strong candidate to be promoted to the 15-man roster. Golden State will subsequently have to add two more players to get to the NBA-mandated minimum of 14 later this month.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Warriors Expected To Trade Alec Burks, Glenn Robinson III

Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III won’t play for the Warriors in tonight’s game at Brooklyn in anticipation of possible trades before tomorrow’s deadline, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times.

A trade involving Burks is “imminent,” according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic (Twitter link), who hears the team is closing in on a Robinson deal as well (Twitter link).

Both players have been the subject of trade rumors in recent weeks, with the Mavericks among the teams interested in Burks. Both signed one-year, minimum-salary ($1,620,564) contracts in free agency last summer, so salary matching won’t be a concern.

Burks has provided a scoring boost for the injury-depleted Warriors, averaging a career-best 16.1 PPG through 48 games while shooting 37.5% from beyond the arc. Robinson has been a full-time starter and is averaging 12.9 points per night.

Golden State guard D’Angelo Russell, who has also been mentioned prominently in trade rumors, is playing tonight, Stein tweets.

Wolves, Warriors Remain Engaged On Russell; Knicks Also Interested

With three days left until the 2020 trade deadline, the possibility of a D’Angelo Russell trade shouldn’t be ruled out. The general belief has been that the Warriors will probably wait until the offseason to seriously consider a move involving D-Lo, but a handful of reporters have indicated today that a deal this week remains possible.

Marc Stein of The New York Times reported last last night (via Twitter) that the Warriors are “listening to pitches” for Russell, noting that it’s no secret the Timberwolves covet the point guard. ESPN’s Zach Lowe followed up by reporting this morning that Minnesota remains “in hot pursuit” of Russell and isn’t necessarily resigned to waiting until the summer to make a push for him.

Finally, Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic wrote this morning that the Warriors and Timberwolves continue to engage in trade talks involving Russell. League sources tell The Athletic’s duo that Golden State will only consider a deal that features “significant” draft pick compensation, which the Wolves may be reluctant to do, since they’re still in the midst of a rebuild.

Finding an in-season match for the two teams will be a challenge. As Lowe points out, matching Russell’s $27MM+ cap hit would likely have to involve either Andrew Wiggins‘ or Gorgui Dieng‘s contract, neither of which is particularly team-friendly. The Warriors may also be looking to sneak under the tax line, while the Wolves might be thinking about trading Robert Covington and flipping the assets from that deal to Golden State.

Meanwhile, Charania and Krawczynski suggest that the Wolves appear unwilling to include their unprotected 2020 first-round pick in an offer for D-Lo. One source tells The Athletic that there’s a deal to be had between Minnesota and Golden State, but “something would have to give” on one or both sides.

Here’s more on the Warriors, including another Russell-related note:

  • The Knicks have also registered interest in Russell and discussed possible packages, league sources tell Charania and Krawcznyski. It’s not clear what New York would be willing to offer, but Ian Begley of SNY.tv hears that Bobby Portis and Frank Ntilikina have both come up in discussions with the Warriors. Presumably, Golden State’s request for significant draft compensation from Minnesota would also apply to any deal with the Knicks.
  • Even if the Knicks and Warriors don’t make a Russell trade, they could find common ground on another deal. Begley writes in a separate story that Golden State is looking for trades that would take the team out of the tax this season or reduce its projected tax bill going forward.
  • The Warriors are “widely expected” to trade at least one of Alec Burks and Glenn Robinson III this week, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). Both players are on minimum-salary deals, so they shouldn’t be difficult to move, assuming Golden State’s asking price is realistic.

Pacific Notes: GRIII, Warriors, Kings, Hield

The 2019/20 Warriors haven’t been the contender that Glenn Robinson III may have thought he was joining when he signed with the franchise last summer. However, the injuries that have derailed the team’s season have cleared a path to a major role for Robinson, who has started 44 games and averaged 31.8 minutes per game this season — both are easily career highs. The veteran tells Scott Agness of The Athletic that he’s appreciative of the opportunity he has received in Golden State.

“That 25- to 30-minute range a night, to be able to show what I can do and to showcase my skills and to do it with an organization as great as the Warriors, I think it’s everything I wanted in free agency,” Robinson said.

Robinson, whose 12.4 PPG, 4.8 RPG, .470 FG%, and 1.3 3PG are also career bests, signed a one-year, minimum-salary contract with the Warriors during the 2019 offseason. That modest deal makes him a candidate to be moved at the trade deadline, but even if he remains in Golden State this season, he’ll have the opportunity to consider offers from other teams this July. As he tells Agness, he wouldn’t mind sticking around beyond this season.

“Hopefully, it can be another great free agency for me and I would love to be back here,” the Warriors’ swingman said. “So we’ll see what happens.”

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • After trading Willie Cauley-Stein to Dallas, the Warriors have a chance to take an extended look at Omari Spellman and Marquese Chriss up front, writes Logan Murdock of NBC Sports Bay Area. Neither player is really a natural center, but they’re embracing the challenge of handling minutes at the five. “I’ve tried making a role off playing hard and doing the dirty work,” Chriss said. “I’m not the guy who is going to shoot 20 shots and get you 40 points. I’m gonna try and be that guy that is down low and banging, getting rebounds and setting screens.”
  • For the first time since the 2017/18 season, the Kings removed Buddy Hield from their starting lineup over the last two games, starting Bogdan Bogdanovic in his place. It seems safe to assume that experiment will continue for the time being, as Hield scored 63 points and made 14-of-23 three-point attempts in those two games, both Sacramento wins. Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic explores how grief from Kobe Bryant‘s death fueled a historic night for Hield on Monday.
  • Replacing Hield with Bogdanovic in the starting lineup gives the Kings‘ first unit stronger ball-handling, play-making, and defense, according to Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. As Anderson points out, head coach Luke Walton said that Hield’s move to the bench isn’t necessarily permanent, but it’s working for now.
  • In case you missed it on Monday evening, the NBA announced that Tuesday’s Lakers/Clippers game has been postponed in the wake of Kobe Bryant‘s death.