Jerryd Bayless

Atlantic Notes: Belinelli, Fultz, Mudiay, Hayward

Marco Belinelli should provide a boost to the Sixers‘ offense when he signs with the team later this week, writes Sarah Todd of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Belinelli reached a buyout agreement with the Hawks and was officially waived Friday, allowing him to clear waivers today. He announced his intentions to join the Sixers on Saturday night, throwing in a “TRUST THE PROCESS” tweet for added emphasis.

The 31-year-old has been a deadly 3-point shooter throughout his 11-year career and is hitting at a .372 clip from long distance this season while averaging 11.4 points per game. He was part of a title-winning Spurs team in 2014 and will bring some playoff experience to a relatively young roster. He also has a reputation as a clutch shooter and won’t mind taking a shot with a game on the line.

The addition of Belinelli makes it less likely that rookie Markelle Fultz will return this season, according to Todd. It should also cut into the playing time of Jerryd Bayless and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Fultz’s shooting problems appear to be more mental than physical, suggests Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers‘ top overall pick has missed 49 straight games with a “scapular muscle imbalance” in his right shoulder. However, the Sixers issued a statement on December 9 that the muscle imbalance had healed and Fultz no longer had pain in his shoulder. Another team statement in early January said he was cleared “to begin the final stage of his return-to-play program.” However, there has been no progress since then and no guarantee that Fultz will be back this season.
  • Emmanuel Mudiay posted a double-double and kicked the Knicks into a higher gear in his debut game with the team this afternoon, relates Marc Berman of The New York Post. Mudiay, who hasn’t practiced yet with his new team, put up 14 points and 10 assists in 29 minutes off the bench. Veteran Jarrett Jack kept his starting job, but played just the first four minutes of each half. “When we bring in another point guard and young kid in Emmanuel, we have to look at things,’’ coach Jeff Hornacek said about a possible lineup change. “We have a couple more games before the break. Then when we come back we have a few practices before that first game. If we’re going to do something, that will be the time.”
  • The Celtics still plan to start taking injured forward Gordon Hayward on road trips beginning next month, tweets A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. Hayward continues to make progress from the fractured ankle he suffered on opening night, but he remains unlikely to return to the court before the season ends.

Sixers, Others Express Interest In Tyreke Evans

11:08am: While the Sixers have expressed interest in Evans, they’re hardly alone. The Celtics, Cavaliers, Pelicans, Thunder, Heat, and Rockets have all inquired on the veteran guard too, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who tweets that it will come down to which team is willing to meet the Grizzlies’ asking price.

10:48am: The Sixers have expressed trade interest in Grizzlies guard Tyreke Evans, league sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link), However, according to Stein, Memphis continues to seek a first-round pick in exchange for Evans, and Philadelphia is reluctant to surrender one.

Evans, 28, has been enjoying one of the best years of his NBA career in Memphis this season, averaging 19.5 PPG, 5.0 APG, and 5.0 RPG with a .458/.392/.799 shooting line so far. Based on his terrific production, the Grizzlies are said to be looking for a first-rounder in any deal.

However, while Evans’ expiring contract and modest salary ($3.29MM) make him an intriguing trade piece, they also reduce his value to some extent — he would likely be a rental for any team acquiring him, since he’ll be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Evans is on track to get much more expensive, and whichever team has him at season’s end won’t have his Bird rights, limiting that club’s ability to re-sign him.

Still, the Sixers represent an interesting potential trade partner for the Grizzlies, particularly since they could end up with multiple first-round picks this spring. Chris Herrington of The Commercial Appeal speculates (via Twitter) that perhaps Memphis could pry the 76ers’ own first-round pick away from Philadelphia if the Grizzlies are willing to take on Jerryd Bayless‘ contract, which has a guaranteed $8.58MM cap hit for 2018/19.

Although salary-matching rules would prevent Memphis from trading Evans straight up for Bayless, attaching a player like Ben McLemore or Brandan Wright to Evans would make it cap-legal, Herrington notes (via Twitter). James Ennis‘ contract would also work, but Ennis is a more valuable trade chip than McLemore or Wright, so the Grizzlies likely wouldn’t want to just throw him in for salary purposes.

Sixers Sign Demetrius Jackson To Two-Way Deal

4:58pm: The signing is official, per team release.

4:42pm: The Sixers will sign guard Demetrius Jackson to a two-way contract and release forward James Michael McAdoo, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets.

Jackson signed a two-way deal with the Rockets during the offseason after the Celtics waived him. Houston terminated Jackson’s contract and then signed him to a 10-day deal earlier this month. However, he did not figure in the Rockets’ plans and the 10-day deal bought him and his representatives time to find a better situation.

The 6’1” point guard made 12 cameo appearances with the Rockets, playing an average of 5.3 MPG. The Notre Dame product played five games for Boston last season after being selected in the second round as the No. 45 overall pick in 2016.

He’ll provide depth behind T.J. McConnell, Jerryd Bayless and top pick Markelle Fultz, who has been plagued by shoulder woes in his rookie campaign.

McAdoo signed a two-way contract with Philadelphia in late August but appeared in just three games.

Atlantic Notes: Ntilikina, LeVert, Saric, Bayless

Knicks lottery pick Frank Ntilikina has played 20 or more minutes in 13 of the last 15 games, as coach Jeff Hornacek continues to gain trust in the French point guard, Roger Rubin of Newsday writes. Ntilikina had a 9-point, 11-assist outing late last month against the Spurs. He’s not posting big numbers like some other rookie guards around the league but the Knicks are pleased with hiss progress. “I think I’m making a step moving forward. The coach gives me more trust, more minutes,” Ntilikina told Rubin and other media members. “I think I’m getting more comfortable on the court. He sees that. I think I can help more than I was doing before. I just have to keep going, keep working on it.”

In other developments around the Atlantic Division:

  • Swingman Caris LeVert is justifying the Nets’ 2016 draft-night trade to snag him with No. 20 pick, according to Anthony Puccio of Brooklyn dealt veteran forward Thaddeus Young to the Pacers for LeVert, even though he underwent three foot surgeries during his collegiate career at Michigan. Last month, LeVert averaged 14.3 PPG, 3.5 RPG, 5.3 APG and 1.2 SPG in 28 MPG. “He’s been coming in with that second unit and he’s really been our spark right now and doing a great job,” coach Kenny Atkinson said.
  • Forward Dario Saric can step into a starring role if needed, as he showed during the final three games of the Sixers’ recent road trip, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer notes. He averaged 24 PPG and 7.3 RPG while making two-thirds of his 3-point tries. “I need to stay focused and believing in myself, believing in what I’m doing on the court,” Saric told Pompey.
  • Sixers coach Brett Brown considers guard Jerryd Bayless as the team’s hardest worker, as he relayed to Brian Seltzer of the team’s website“His day starts when mine does. You go in at like 6:00 a.m., 6:30, and shortly thereafter you hear the tom toms, and he’s in a gym with a ball. That could be after a game,” Brown said. “He’s just a maniacal worker. … When he doesn’t perform like he wants to perform, he doesn’t shoot like he wants to shoot, he wakes up early and tries to fix it quick.”

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Vinsanity, Hayward

While they may not be touted as the much anticipated products of The Process, NBA veterans like J.J. Redick, Jerryd Bayless and Amir Johnson have had a major impact on the Sixers, Ian Begley of ESPN writes.

Unlike token veterans who the Sixers have employed in the past like Jason Richardson and Elton Brand, both established players in the twilight of their careers, players like Redick, Bayless and Johnson still suit up and play for the squad every night.

To now have players sweating on the court that can add the leadership in real time, instead of something static in a video room — that is priceless,” head coach Brett Brown said. “I think the abundance we have this year and the fact that they play, the combination is powerful, and I appreciate [Sixers president and general manager] Bryan Colangelo helping me, helping us design the team with that in mind.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

Atlantic Notes: Anthony, Hayward, Ojeleye, Bayless

In a wide-ranging interview with Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, Thunder superstar Carmelo Anthony discussed his activism, his trade to Oklahoma City, missing his family in New York, and more. The interview is worth a read, but Anthony once again discussed his tumultuous exit from New York. The 1o-time NBA All-Star said multiple times before the trade that he wanted to win in New York — and even admitted in the interview that he was prepared to come to media day with the Knicks before a trade was consummated.

“It was bittersweet. That’s my city. I didn’t want to leave like that,” Anthony said. “I didn’t want it to end like that. But it’s just a reoccurring thing that happens in New York. It happened in the past. It happened to other people. It happens all the time. Nobody ever goes out the right way in New York. I wanted to have an opportunity now to go somewhere else rather than wait and dealing with that. It’s at the end. It’s over with.”

The Thunder have played well with Anthony, Russell Westbrook, and Paul George as part of a revamped roster. However, as Anthony touched upon in the interview, being away from his son — who convinced him to join the Thunder — and his wife has been the most challenging part of the process.

Check out other news from the Atlantic Division:

Sixers Notes: Colangelo, Simmons, George, Covington

Bryan Colangelo has become the least trusted GM in Philadelphia, charges Marcus Hayes of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Hayes blasts Colangelo for being evasive about releasing injury details regarding Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Dario Saric and others, and more recently for refusing to say whether Ben Simmons will play in the Summer League. The writer contends that Simmons needs the work to help with his transition to point guard and criticizes Colangelo for not being more open about the team’s plans.

There’s more news out of Philadelphia:

  • A long string of injuries and the February trades of Noel and Ersan Ilyasova made Colangelo’s first full season in charge look like another Sam Hinkie season, writes Bob Ford of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Ford adds that the team wasn’t able to address several important questions for the future of the franchise, such as whether Simmons can handle the point guard role, if he and Embiid are an effective combination and if Jerryd Bayless can be counted on as a starter.
  • Pacers forward Paul George might be worth a gamble if the Sixers want to make a splash this summer, Ford writes in a separate column. George has a player option for 2018/19, which means he will be effectively entering the final year of his contract next season. With rumors that he is interested in joining his hometown Lakers, Indiana may be tempted to move him in a trade instead of losing him with nothing in return. The Sixers have young talent to offer, and may have two high picks, depending on the results of next month’s lottery. “At the three, Robert Covington kind of has that position locked up with not a lot of depth at the position currently,” Colangelo recently told reporters. “But we’ve got some interesting draft prospects in the top 10 that happen to address that situation and that need.”
  • Covington underwent minor arthroscopic surgery this week to fix a meniscus tear in his right knee, the Sixers announced on their website. Covington will rehab the knee in Philadelphia and is expected to be ready for full basketball activities this summer.

Atlantic Notes: Lowry, Tucker, Long

Kyle Lowry, who’s been sidelined since the All-Star break because of a wrist injury, can become a free agent at the season. Raptors GM Masai Ujiri said there’s “no question” that the team will try to bring him back, as Scott Stinson of The National Post passes along.

“You have to remember that, everything that has happened to this team in the last few years, Kyle has been at the forefront of that,” Ujiri tells Stinson.

Lowry was having an exceptional year heading into the All-Star break. “Before the injury, you could argue he was one of the top five players in the league this season,” the GM added.

It’s also arguable that out of all the teams to see a player go down due to injury, the Raptors suffered the biggest loss with Lowry being sidelined. The 31-year-old was the team’s leader in player efficiency and he was one of the best from behind the arc, which I detailed in an early season edition of Fantasy Hoops.

Lowry can become a free agent this offseason by activating the Early Termination option in his contract. All signs point to him doing just that, which means he would turn down his 2017/18 $12MM salary. Stinson believes it’s fair to wonder whether the team should offer a massive five-year deal to a player who will be 36-year-olds at the end of it. However, the scribe believes it’s a bigger gamble to try to replace Lowry, a player who’s Toronto unquestioned leader.

“The way he goes,” Uriji said about Lowry. “Is the way we go.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Holly MacKenzie of examines how P.J. Tucker has helped the Raptors stay afloat in the Eastern Conference. Tucker, who came to Toronto at this year’s deadline, will be a free agent at the season.
  • Shawn Long, who recently signed a three-year deal with the Sixers, was originally added to provide Philadelphia with depth, but by playing hard, he’s been able to carve out a role with the team, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Long started the season in the D-League, but his teammates believe he belongs in the NBA. “He’s an NBA player, man,” Gerald Henderson said. “He’s aggressive. He’s not scared. He goes out there and plays the same way he did in the D-League.”
  • Jerryd Bayless will workout at the Sixers‘ new practice facility this summer rather than going home to Phoenix as he has done in the past, Pompey relays via Twitter. Bayless signed a three-year deal worth $27MM last offseason, but he suffered a wrist injury earlier this season, which limited him to just three games with his new team.

Sixers Notes: Simmons, Bayless, Lakers’ Draft Pick

The Sixers‘ overstocked frontcourt has been drawing headlines this season, but what the team really needs is help at point guard, writes Bob Cooney of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia had planned to let rookie Ben Simmons run the offense with newly acquired Jerryd Bayless providing a veteran counterpart in the backcourt. However, Simmons’ fractured foot and Bayless’ wrist injury have forced the Sixers to turn over point guard duties to Sergio Rodriguez and T.J. McConnell.

“We started the season with Jerryd Bayless as our starting point guard and Ben Simmons was going to share some of that and be starting at a four. We lost them both for, so far, the season and we’re obviously reevaluating Ben,” said coach Brett Brown. “So you have what used to be your second point guard and your third point guard now lifted a shelf higher and the expectations of grabbing that position come with it. I think that under the circumstances they’ve been very good. Now you need a starting guard.”

There’s more this morning out of Philadelphia:

  • Bayless tried for two months to heal the torn ligaments in his left wrist without surgery, relays Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly. Bayless, who signed a three-year, $27MM deal over the summer, first hurt the wrist in training camp. He tried to play through the pain, but managed just three games. “That’s why I was trying to push it off,” Bayless said. “That was the goal, to try to avoid it at any cost. From the beginning I knew it was going to be season-ending, but I decided to do it. It’s unfortunate, but at the same time I’m glad I’m getting it fixed now and I can move on from it.” Bayless underwent an operation December 15th to have three pins inserted in the wrist and must keep it immobilized for 12 weeks.
  • The Sixers are still waiting for the draft choice that was part of the Michael Carter-Williams trade nearly two years ago, writes Corey Seidman of CSNPhilly. In February of 2015, Carter-Williams was sent to the Bucks in a three-team deal, with Philadelphia receiving a protected Lakers pick from Phoenix. It was top-five protected in 2015 and top-three protected last season, and L.A. kept it both times. It is top-three protected again this year, and with the Lakers seventh in our Reverse Standings at 11-22, it’s possible the Sixers will have to wait even longer. If L.A. remains No. 7, it would have a 15% shot at getting a top three pick in the draft lottery. The choice will become unprotected in 2018.

Sixers Guard Bayless Has Wrist Surgery, Out For Season

Sixers guard Jerryd Bayless underwent surgery on Thursday to repair a torn ligament in his left wrist and will miss the rest of the season, the team announced.

The surgery was performed by Dr. Michelle Carlson of the Hospital for Special Surgery in New York City, according to the release. “While it’s unfortunate Jerryd will miss the remainder of the season, we feel confident that today’s procedure will resolve his wrist injury and related discomfort,” Sixers President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo said in a statement.

Bayless was expected to be the club’s starting point guard this season. He suffered a torn ligament in the wrist during camp but the team and player opted to pursue non-surgical treatments. Bayless had 18 points, six rebounds and six assists in 30 minutes during his second game of the season but multiple falls to the floor resulted in significant impact to the wrist, according to the release. He wound up playing in a total of three games, averaging 11 points, four rebounds and four assists.

Bayless signed a three-year, $27MM contract in July as an unrestricted free agent. He played 52 games with the Bucks last season and averaged 10.4 points, 2.7 rebounds and 3.1 assists in 28.9 minutes.

Sergio Rodriguez and T.J. McConnell have emerged as the team’s point guards in his absence.

The Sixers will not be able to add another player to their roster under the disabled players exception because they are under the salary cap, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets.