J.J. Redick

Atlantic Notes: Zion, Raptors, Loyd, Moreland, Sixers

The Knicks apparently won’t have to worry about Zion Williamson demanding a trade if they win the lottery. Williamson said on Friday that he would “love to play” for the Knicks if they drafted him, Adam Zagoria of the New York Times tweets. The Duke freshman made the remark during a Final Four press conference while accepting the Oscar Robertson (Player of the Year) Award. He went on to say he’d be happy to go wherever he was drafted.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Raptors made a number of cost-cutting moves during the course of the season that saved an approximate $18MM, as Blake Murphy of The Athletic details. Waiving Lorenzo Brown, dumping the salaries of Malachi Richardson and Greg Monroe, trading three players for Marc Gasol, getting Gasol to waive his trade kicker, and signing players to 10-day contracts to meet roster requirements all contributed to a healthier bottom line.
  • The Raptors still have an open roster spot heading toward the playoffs and will likely sign a player, Murphy writes in the same story. Guard Jordan Loyd’s two-way contract could be converted to a standard contract and center Eric Moreland, who recently played on a 10-day contract, is another candidate. Veteran center Marcin Gortat could also be in play.
  • The 76ers believe their powerhouse starting lineup will be the difference in the playoffs, even though they haven’t played much together, Michael Lee of The Athletic reports. They’ve gone 8-2 in games that Tobias Harris, J.J. Redick, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler have all been available to play. “Although that starting group hasn’t played that much basketball together, especially relative to the other teams, the excitement is to take the talent we have and quickly try to maximize that,” coach Brett Brown said.

Sixers Notes: Roster Depth, Brewer, Redick, Shamet

The Sixers will focus on improving their depth between now and the playoffs, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The team’s most pressing needs are another perimeter defender and a a big man to back up Joel Embiid, Pompey adds, and management plans to pursue both of those on the trade and buyout markets.

“Where you end up feeling it the most is, ‘What’s your depth? What’s the depth of your team?’” coach Brett Brown said. “(GM) Elton Brand is doing aggressive work behind the scenes, trying to figure out the design of our team as the trade deadline comes up. And I’m following his lead.”

The Sixers were big winners at buyout time last season, landing a pair of shooters in Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova. However, Ilyasova had played in Philadelphia before and Brown had a connection to Belinelli from their days in San Antonio, so duplicating that success won’t be easy.

Two things are working against the Sixers’ effort, Pompey notes. The playoff race hasn’t shaken out like they had hoped, and with so many teams still in contention there may be a shortage of sellers before the deadline. Also, Markelle Fultz, who might have been a useful trade chip, has been sidelined since November 19 with thoracic outlet syndrome.

There’s more this morning from Philadelphia:

  • Corey Brewer, who signed a second 10-day deal on Friday, deserves to be kept for the rest of the season and possibly longer, Pompey states in a separate story. Brewer has started the past three games while Jimmy Butler recovers from a sprained wrist and is averaging 10.8 points per night since joining the team.
  • Surrounded by elite players, J.J. Redick can get overlooked, but the Sixers are pushing for him to land a spot in the All-Star Game, Pompey adds in another story. Redick is averaging a career-high 18.4 PPG at age 34 and is having one of his best all-around seasons, shooting 38.9% from 3-point range, contributing 2.8 assists per night and playing 31.1 minutes per game. “I just want to keep playing and enjoying playing,” he said. “Whether that’s three years or five years, I don’t know. You can’t really predict. But how I felt the last couple of years, I’d like to keep playing for a while.”
  • The Sixers believe they have something special in rookie guard Landry Shamet, relays Dario Skerletic of Sportando. The 26th player selected in the 2018 draft, Shamet is averaging 8.4 points per game, shooting better than 40% on 3-pointers and has shown an ability to handle both backcourt positions. “He’s not your typical rookie,” Redick said. “It’s fun to see a guy who’s 21 years old and is already, basically a pro. He acts like a pro, he plays like a pro.”

Latest On Jimmy Butler Trade To Philadelphia

The Timberwolves and Sixers agreed on Saturday to one of the biggest trades in recent years. Jimmy Butler is headed to Philadelphia, while Dario Saric and Robert Covington headline the package that Minnesota is receiving.

We have more news to pass along on this blockbuster:

  • Butler had shown an interest in Philadelphia long before Saturday. Butler scheduled a free agent meeting with the Sixers  in 2015, when they were still in the early stages of building a contender, before he re-signed with the Bulls, Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated tweets.
  • If Butler agrees to a max contract with Philadelphia, Markelle Fultz‘s long-term prospects with the organization would be in serious doubt, Zach Lowe of ESPN tweets. There are plenty of other questions regarding how Fultz fits with core group that Philadelphia has assembled and the team’s brass will closely monitor how all the personalities mesh, Lowe adds. The top 2017 pick is averaging just 8.9 PPG and 3.6 APG  in 24.3 MPG and will now have to compete with another All-Star for touches.
  • Minnesota avoided sending Butler to a Western Conference contender, one of the goals it set in trade talks involving the disgruntled swingman, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN notes (Twitter link). The Rockets had been mentioned prominently as a possible destination but even a package of four future first-round picks couldn’t entice the Timberwolves to send him to a conference rival. The Sixers became the most viable trade partner once the Heat pulled Josh Richardson out of trade discussions, Wojnarowski adds.
  • The Sixers were prepared to offer a similar package to the Spurs to acquire Kawhi Leonard this summer, Fischer reports in another tweet. Philadelphia was willing to give up Saric, Covington and a first-rounder to San Antonio before the Spurs opted to deal Leonard to the Raptors. The Spurs’ decision to decline the Sixers’ offer thus far seems like a wise move, considering Saric’s early shooting slump (30% from long range), Jabari Young of The Athletic tweets. Toronto’s package, with DeMar DeRozan as the centerpiece, has helped San Antonio get off to a 6-4 start despite a rash of injuries.
  • Buyout candidates will be even more intrigued to join the Sixers for the stretch run, Alex Kennedy of Hoops Hype tweets. Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli joined Philadelphia in that fashion last season, Kennedy adds, and the incentive for players seeking a ring to hop on Philadelphia’s bandwagon has dramatically increased.
  • The Timberwolves considered three offers from different teams before picking the Sixers’ package, Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic tweets.
  • Philadelphia will likely move J.J. Redick back into the starting lineup because his 3-point shooting will be needed on the first unit, Keith Smith of RealGM tweets.
  • The earliest that Butler could make his Sixers debut, once the trade is finalized, is Wednesday against the Magic, Wojnarowski adds in another tweet.

Atlantic Notes: Hayward, Celtics, Embiid, Redick

Celtics forward Gordon Hayward has admitted that he’s still feeling the ill effects of the horrific ankle injury he suffered on opening night that season, writes Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston. As a result, he recently sat out the second night of a back-to-back.

“There’s soreness in my ankle every time I play right now. I think there will be soreness for a little while,” said Hayward. “That’s why I’m on a minutes restriction… they don’t want any overloading issues, so there is some load management stuff basically.”

That being said, Hayward still hopes that he won’t be forced to miss any future back-to-backs. “That was just the plan for that game. I want to play in every single game and every single minute but my game is not there yet. I trust our staff.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division this evening:

  • In another piece for NBC Sports Boston, Forsberg writes how head coach Brad Stevens gave a blunt assessment of the Celtics after the team’s recent loss to the Magic. “I’ve said it, that we’re not as good as everybody thinks we are. (This is) just another reminder how much we have to work.”
  • Sixers All-Star big man Joel Embiid has been issued a warning from the league office for flopping against Andre Drummond and the Pistons last night, reports Ian Begley of ESPN. There is no fine involved, but there will be if violates the NBA’s anti-flopping rules again.
  • Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes that J.J. Redick is an even more integral piece of this year’s Sixers team than last year’s because of the lack of quality shooting around him with the losses of Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli in free agency.

Atlantic Notes: LeVert, Valanciunas, Nets Prospects, Redick

Caris LeVert‘s impressive early-season performances could make the Nets a more attractive free agent destination, Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer points out. The Nets guard, who is averaging 24.7 PPG, 4.7 RPG and 4.0 APG, is a versatile talent who can mesh with anyone because of his passing, cutting and spot-up shooting, O’Connor continues. Brooklyn’s front office looks smart for taking LeVert off the table in trade discussions with the Timberwolves for Jimmy Butler, O’Connor adds.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • There hasn’t been any grumbling from Raptors players who have seen their minutes reduced, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun reports. Jonas Valanciunas, Norman Powell and Pascal Siakam, among others, will see their playing time fluctuate depending on the opponent. “We are sharing the minutes. We don’t know what matchups are going to come to us,” Valanciunas told Wolstat. “We have versatility. Just have different things for different matchups. We have different lineups, different people going at some different players.”
  • Nets draft-and-stash prospects Aleksandar Vezenkov and Isaia Cordinier are off to good start overseas, according to a NetsDaily.com post. Vezenkov, a 6’9” forward has played three Euroleague games for Olympiacos and is averaging 9.7 PPG and 3.3 RPG in 17.0 MPG. Cordinier, a 6’5” shooting guard who plays in the French League, returned to action on Friday after missing last season with knee tendinitis. It’s uncertain whether they’ll pursue NBA careers next season. Another draft-and-stash player, Juan Pablo Vaulet, was sent home by his Argentine team for undisclosed reasons.
  • Sixers guard J.J. Redick believes the Magic made a smart move by trading him to the Bucks five years ago, Josh Robbins of The Athletic reports. Redick was heading into unrestricted free agency at the time but would have liked to finish out that season with Orlando. He would have considered a long-term deal with the Magic that summer. Orlando acquired forward Tobias Harris and two other players in the deal. “The trade for Tobias was definitely in Orlando’s favor,” Redick told Robbins. “You get a guy who’s going to get you 18 [points] and 8 [rebounds] at 22, or whatever age Tobias was at the time. … Things obviously didn’t turn out great for them subsequently, but I think they made the right call.”

Sixers Notes: Morey, Offseason Changes, Fultz

When a July report indicated that the Sixers tried and failed to lure Daryl Morey away from Houston, it appeared that those discussions didn’t go far — Philadelphia reportedly received permission from the Rockets to talk to Morey, but the veteran executive decided to remain in his current job.

According to Kevin Arnovitz of ESPN.com, however, Morey didn’t turn down the Sixers’ advances out of hand. One source close to the process tells Arnovitz that discussions got “pretty far down the road” before Morey elected to stay in Houston.

As the 76ers’ search for a new head of basketball operations continued following their failed bid for Morey, a consensus begin to build that it was important to maintain continuity in the front office, per Arnovitz. That’s one reason why Elton Brand was the eventual choice for the general manager job.

“When you live with these guys over three months, from draft and free agency, you appreciate what we already had,” head coach Brett Brown said, per Arnovitz. “Elton was always going to be a general manager at some point, in some city. And it might as well be here, and it might as well be now.”

According to Arnovitz, multiple league insiders viewed the decision to promote Brand and give him the title of GM (rather than president of basketball operations) as a “statement of control” by Sixers ownership — if they get cold feet on Brand down the road, they could always bring in a veteran executive above him. For now though, he’s running the show in Philadelphia.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • Arnovitz’s feature on the Sixers, which is worth checking out in full, also includes details on how Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are shaping the franchise’s culture and identity, and the lessons Embiid was taught by Tim Duncan during his rookie year in 2014/15.
  • Replacing Ersan Ilyasova and Marco Belinelli on the second unit will be one of Brown’s biggest challenges this season, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. In 23 games after that duo was acquired in February, the second unit averaged 41.6 PPG and improved its three-point percentage from 32.2% to 35.2%. Mike Muscala and Wilson Chandler, acquired in trades this summer, are projected to replace them in the rotation but both are batting injuries, Murphy adds.
  • Late first-rounder Landry Shamet had a productive preseason and that opens up more options for the second unit, Sarah Todd of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes. Shamet, a 6’5” point guard, had a pair of double-digit games while mostly working alongside J.J. Redick. “I think it went about as well as it could have,” Shamet told Todd. “I didn’t surprise myself, that’s kind of the way I look at it.”
  • Markelle Fultz will start the season opener and Redick will come off the bench, Jon Johnson of KYW 1060 Philadelphia tweets. The 2017 top overall pick will be starting for the first time. Fultz only appeared in 14 regular season and three postseason games as a rookie. Redick, who averaged a career-best 17.1 PPG last season, hasn’t come off the bench in a regular season game since the 2013/14 season.

(Dana Gauruder contributed to this post.)

Sixers Notes: Chandler, Muscala, Covington, Fultz

It appears Wilson Chandler‘s hamstring injury will linger at least a couple of weeks into the regular season, coach Brett Brown says in a video tweeted by Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Chandler, who was acquired in an offseason trade with the Nuggets, has been sidelined since straining his left hamstring September 28 in an exhibition game against Melbourne United.

“My experience with hamstrings is one that reminds you that it rarely is less than a month,” Brown said. “And it’s not like he’s 20 years old. … We don’t need to rush him back into doing anything, and when his body says he’s ready to play, that’s when he’ll play.”

Brown added that no timeline has been set for Chandler to return, but repeated that it should be about a month from the original injury. The Sixers open their season Tuesday against the Celtics.

There’s more news out of Philadelphia:

  • The Sixers ran into another social media issue today that gave new GM Elton Brand his first public relations test since taking the job, writes Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today. The father of Mike Muscala allegedly posted inflammatory comments about Jimmy Butler on his Twitter account, which drew immediate condemnation from Brand. Muscala apologized for the incident and Brand absolved him of any blame. “Having known Mike since his rookie year in 2013-14 when we were teammates, I am also certain these posts are in no way reflective of his own personal beliefs,” Brand said. “Mike has always been a great teammate and ambassador for the game of basketball, and he has never shied away from using his platform to do good in the community. He has our organization’s full support.”
  • Robert Covington endured extreme roster turnover and some of the worst losing in history during his first two seasons in Philadelphia, but he has become the team’s longest-tenured player and an example to his younger teammates. In an interview with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype, Covington talks about how those early years molded him. “Coach Brown looks at me as one of the leaders, if not the leader, of this team because of everything I’ve faced and just how I’ve handled everything,” Covington said. “He looks at me as one of the strongest people on this team.”
  • Brown plans to stick with his preseason strategy of starting Markelle Fultz at shooting guard in the first half and J.J. Redick in the second half, relays Tom Moore of The Bucks County Courier Times. Both players say they’re on board with the unconventional arrangement.

Atlantic Notes: Fizdale, Thomas, Redick, Stevens

The Knicks have started their preseason on a high note, winning each of their three games under new head coach David Fizdale. Fizdale is known for his high energy, positive attitude and veteran mindset, with each of these habits quickly rubbing off on some of his players.

“Absolutely, heck yeah. I want to win everything,’’ Fizdale said after team’s victory over the Pelicans on Friday, according to Marc Berman of the New York Post. “I want to win every game. These guys are building habits right now. And winning is a habit. Anytime we step on the court, if they decide to play checkers together, pool, ping-pong, I want them competing to win. We have to get that really rooted deeply into who we are.’’

Fizdale is well-respected across the league and has two NBA titles under his belt as an assistant with Miami. The Knicks hired him this past offseason as head coach, and he’s quickly made his mark on changing the overall culture of the organization.

Fizdale’s decision to bring in Hall of Famers Walt Frazier and Patrick Ewing to discuss what it means to play for the Knicks was praised this week, with the second-year head coach now focused on getting his team ready for the regular season.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Lance Thomas is working hard to maintain his status as the Knicks’ starting power forward, Berman writes in a separate story. “Lance is just … man is he a good leader,’’ Fizdale said. “He’s just a really good leader. Those guys respect him big time. When he speaks, the gym shuts down and everybody listens.”
  • J.J. Redick has provided some much-needed firepower off the bench for the Sixers, as detailed by NBA.com’s Brian Seltzer. Redick shot a perfect 10-of-10 against the Mavericks on Friday.
  • Celtics coach Brad Stevens offered strong words of support for assistant Jerome Allen this week, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports. Allen pled guilty to accepting a $18K bribe from the parent of a prospective recruit when he coached for Pennsylvania in 2014.

Atlantic Notes: Rozier, Celtics, Powell, Redick

With Kyrie Irving and Marcus Smart battling injuries down the stretch last season, Terry Rozier stepped into a starting role and showed why the Celtics used their first-round pick on him in 2015. Although Rozier will return to a bench role to start the 2018/19 season, Marcus Morris tells A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston that the 24-year-old is still “a starting point guard in this league.” Meanwhile, head coach Brad Stevens acknowledges that he’ll need to try to find Rozier as many minutes as possible (link via Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston).

As Stevens and the Celtics explore how best to use Rozier on the court, the franchise will also face a looming decision on him off the court, notes Shane Rhodes of Basketball Insiders. If he doesn’t sign a new extension by October 15, Rozier will be on track for restricted free agency in 2019, and he’s not a slam dunk to be re-signed, since Boston has already committed big money to Smart and will need to re-sign Irving too. Rhodes outlines the options the C’s will have with their young point guard, which include letting him walk, matching an offer sheet, or trading him.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • The Celtics have been a popular pick to win the Eastern Conference and challenge for an NBA title in 2018/19, but – based on his team’s preseason performances – Brad Stevens wants to pump the brakes on that hype. As Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston relays, Stevens said he “couldn’t be more unimpressed” with the C’s at the moment. “We’re not as good as advertised right now,” Stevens said after a Tuesday loss to Cleveland. “So at least we know that.”
  • Norman Powell has the sixth-highest cap hit on the Raptors‘ roster for the 2018/19 season, but he’ll be hard-pressed to crack the team’s rotation, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. In Smith’s view, Powell will have to recapture his 2016/17 form or “capitalize on the misfortune of others” in order to regain a significant role. Otherwise, he’ll likely remain a trade candidate.
  • Sarah Todd of The Philadelphia Inquirer examines the importance of veteran guard J.J. Redick on a young Sixers team. Redick inked another one-year deal with Philadelphia as a free agent this summer.

Lakers Notes: Ball, Redick, Zubac

Lonzo Ball‘s ability as a passer has never been questioned but his ability to shoot has been a concern ever since the 2017 NBA Draft.  As Ball prepares for his sophomore campaign, it appears he has simplified the release on his jumper, Joe Morgan of Sporting News writes.

In his first season, Ball shot 36% from the field and 30.5% from beyond the arc. Those numbers are going to need improvement as he prepares to play with LeBron James, a notorious playmaker who relies on outside shooters. There is reason to believe that Ball can be an effective shooter as he shot 55.1% from the floor and 42.1% from three-point range in his lone season at UCLA.

Based on videos of Ball in preseason workouts, it appears he has dropped the hitch in his release that had been a concern. With a simplified jumper, it should help Ball have a quicker — and hopefully more accurate — release.

Check out more Lakers notes below:

  • Speaking of reliable shooters, after LeBron James signed with the Lakers, the team reportedly intensified its pursuit of veteran sharpshooter J.J. Redick. Appearing on Zach Lowe’s The Lowe Post podcast (via USA Today), Redick said there was an opportunity to join the Lakers, but he also had offers from the Pacers and Suns. Redick ultimately re-signed with the Sixers.
  • Both Ivica Zubac and Svi Mykhailiuk are with their respective national teams as they both approach a berth in the 2019 FIBA World Cup, per NBA.com. Zubac is with the Croatian team while Mykhailiuk is with the Ukranian team