Joel Embiid

Atlantic Notes: CP3, Nash, Stevens, Hayward

After the Sixers were swept out of the first round of the 2020 playoffs, the team fired longtime head coach Brett Brown, who had survived several front office shakeups. But the on-court personnel could use some changes, too. Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer makes the case for a Chris Paul trade.

Paul, an All-Star in 2020 during his first season with the Thunder, is scheduled to earn $41.3M and $44.2M in the final two years of his current contract. The 35-year-old point guard could give All-Star guard/forward Ben Simmons more off-ball opportunities and serve as a first-rate facilitator for All-Star center Joel Embiid.

Pompey posits that forward Tobias Harris or center Al Horford could be packaged (presumably along with future draft equity) into a deal for Paul.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • New Nets head coach Steve Nash acknowledges that he was brought on board with the franchise because of his interpersonal relationships and culture-building skills, rather than his knowledge of X’s and O’s. “I think they understand that my acumen for the game is strong and I can catch up on any of the tactical aspects,” Nash told Pelicans guard J.J. Redick in a recent edition of Redick’s The Old Man and the Three podcast (per Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News). “I think they hired me because of my experience, the personality to work with these guys and help them grow and reach their potential and bring it all together.”
  • Following an emotional postgame locker room conversation, Celtics head coach Brad Stevens held a late-evening hotel meeting with four of his frustrated stars, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Jayson Tatum, Kemba Walker, Jaylen Brown and Marcus Smart met with Stevens to unpack their feelings following a Game 2 loss to the Heat that puts Boston in an 0-2 hole for the Eastern Conference Finals.
  • Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is hoping to return to action for Game 3 on Saturday, per Jared Weiss of The Athletic (Twitter link). Hayward’s addition to the active roster would give Boston much-needed lineup flexibility and shooting help.

NBA Announces 2019/20 All-NBA Teams

The NBA has officially announced its All-NBA teams for the 2019/20 season. Voting was completed prior to the league’s restart in July and was based on results through March 11.

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo and Lakers forward LeBron James, widely considered the two frontrunners for this year’s MVP award, were the only two players to be unanimously voted to the All-NBA First Team this season. Rockets guard James Harden, Lakers big man Anthony Davis, and Mavericks guard Luka Doncic rounded out the First Team.

The full All-NBA teams are listed below, with their vote totals in parentheses. Players received five points for a First Team vote, three points for a Second Team vote, and one point for a Third Team vote, so Giannis and LeBron scored a perfect 500 — First Team nods from all 100 voters.

All-NBA First Team

All-NBA Second Team

All-NBA Third Team

Among the players who just missed the cut were Bucks forward Khris Middleton (82 points), Sixers center Joel Embiid (79), Wizards guard Bradley Beal (32), and Raptors guard Kyle Lowry (26). A total of 11 other players also received at least one All-NBA vote — the full results can be found right here.

Today’s announcement is great news from a financial perspective for Siakam and Simmons. As a result of Siakam’s Second Team nod and Simmons’ Third Team spot, both players will earn starting salaries worth 28% of the 2020/21 salary cap, rather than 25%. Players who sign rookie scale extensions can earn maximum salaries up to 30% of the cap if they negotiate Rose Rule language into their deals.

The exact value of those new contracts will depend on where exactly the ’20/21 cap lands. Assuming it stays the same as in 2019/20 ($109.141MM), Siakam’s four-year extension would be worth $136.9MM instead of the $122.2MM it’d be worth if it started at 25% of the cap. Simmons’ five-year pact would be worth $177.2MM rather than $158.3MM.

While it’s also worth noting that All-NBA berths are of great importance to players seeking super-max contracts, there aren’t any real developments to report on that front as a result of this year’s votes. Antetokounmpo and Gobert remain eligible for super-max extensions, but they’d already qualified based on their previous accolades.

Embiid would have become super-max eligible in 2021 if he had earned an All-NBA spot, but he’ll need to make an All-NBA team next season to gain eligibility now, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets.

Hoops Rumors readers accurately picked 12 of this season’s 15 All-NBA players in our spring poll. Beal, Embiid, and Devin Booker were your picks who didn’t make the official list. Of the 12 who made it, 11 made the exact team you projected, with Paul (who made Second Team instead of Third Team) representing the only exception.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Atlantic Notes: Ibaka, Hayward, Ainge, Sixers

Raptors center Serge Ibaka twisted his left ankle during the second half of the team’s Game 5 loss on Monday, potentially jeopardizing his status for Game 6 on Wednesday. As Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca tweets, Ibaka was in a walking boot today and said that he “will see” about his availability for Wednesday’s game.

Toronto’s initial injury report for Game 6 lists Ibaka as questionable. With the Raptors’ season on the line, down 3-2 to Boston, the big man will presumably do all he can to suit up.

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Celtics forward Gordon Hayward is back on campus, but the team isn’t sure when he’ll clear quarantine and when he’ll be able to play, writes Tom Westerholm of MassLive.com. Meanwhile, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston wonders if the C’s will extend their season long enough for Hayward to contribute — Monday’s win certainly increased those odds.
  • Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge, who has suffered multiple mild heart attacks in the past, was advised by doctors that he’d be “at risk” if he contracts COVID-19, he tells Jackie MacMullan of ESPN. As a result, Ainge didn’t accompany the C’s to the Orlando campus and has been watching the team’s playoff run from afar. “My doctors said it would be best if I did not go,” Ainge said. “But, as we’ve gone along — and I’ve thought about it since — I say to myself, ‘Man, it feels to me like the bubble is the healthiest place to be.'”
  • While Brett Brown, Elton Brand, and the Sixers‘ supporting cast have taken much of the blame for the team’s lack of playoff success in recent years, Sopan Deb of The New York Times notes that Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid haven’t necessarily shown the growth expected of “prospective superstars” and questions whether either player is still capable of taking his play to another level.

Sixers Notes: Arena, Brown, Rucker, Embiid, Simmons

The Sixers are possibly looking at building a new basketball arena at Penn’s Landing, according to a report from The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Inquirer’s report also indicates that the team is lobbying local officials about a plan to have taxpayer support help finance the construction.

The Sixers currently play at the Wells Fargo Center, which is shared with the city’s NHL franchise — Philadelphia Flyers. However, they reportedly want to leave the Wells Fargo Center by 2031.

“The 76ers have long enjoyed a strong relationship with Comcast-Spectacor, but the organization is exploring all options for when its lease ends at Wells Fargo Center in 2031, including a potential arena development at Penn’s Landing,” a Sixers spokesperson said.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • Earlier this week, the Sixers fired Brett Brown as their head coach after seven years. The firing came off the heels of Philadelphia being swept in four games by the Celtics in the first round of the NBA playoffs. Nevertheless, Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports opines that Brown was the wrong scapegoat for the Sixers’ lingering issues. He points out that the 59-year-old was the only stable force in an organization that had three different general managers and 102 different players on the roster during Brown’s tenure.
  • In addition to seeking a new head coach, the Sixers may be in the market for a new executive vice president of basketball operations. Alex Rucker, who currently holds that title, is not expected to be back with the team next season, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Sixers general manager Elton Brand was asked on Tuesday about Rucker’s future. “I’m doing a thorough assessment of our front office,” he said. “I don’t want to pinpoint Alex as a scapegoat or anything like that. Our group has to get stronger, we know that. “So I’m taking time to assess where we are and how we get better. We failed, and we’re not happy about it, actually pissed about it.” Rucker was hired in 2016 from the Raptors to be Philadelphia’s analytics manager during the Bryan Colangelo regime. From there, he was promoted to senior VP of analytics and strategy in August 2018.
  • In his latest newsletter, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote about the Sixers’ intentions to meet with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid to seek their opinions on what the team needs. “I’m going to talk with Jo and Ben about the game and how they see it and what’s going to help them and how to complement them,” Brand said earlier this week. “I’m not going to put the pressure of ‘You wanted this new coach’ or ‘You wanted that player’ on them, just have some clear, candid conversations with them, absolutely, as I think I should.”

Brand: Sixers “Not Looking To Trade” Embiid Or Simmons

Confirming multiple reports that have surfaced since the team was eliminated from the postseason on Sunday, Sixers general manager Elton Brand said today that there are no plans to shake up the roster by moving either Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons this offseason.

I’m not looking to trade Ben or Joel,” Brand said, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link). “I’m looking to complement them better.”

While the 76ers have faced questions about how to maximize the Embiid/Simmons duo on the offensive end of the court, the team sounds committed to giving its next head coach a chance to solve that puzzle. As Brand suggests, finding the right complementary pieces to share the floor with the two All-Stars will be part of the equation too.

In his comments to reporters today, Brand also spoke in general terms about changes that might be coming to Philadelphia’s front office. Following the departure of former head of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo in 2018, the Sixers’ front office took a collaborative approach to decision-making, but Brand said on Tuesday that “we feel the collaboration days didn’t work” (Twitter link via Bontemps).

Brand, who is expected to retain decision-making control in the front office, added that he’ll be leading the coaching search and will present his choice to ownership. He also addressed what sort of executives the club may be looking to add to its basketball operations department, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets.

“We’re strong in the strategic and analytic standpoint,” Brand said. “Get some more basketball minds in here. But all options are open.”

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • Some of the executives and coaches who spoke to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype about the Sixers believe that trading either Embiid or Simmons might be the right move for the franchise. One Eastern Conference GM said he’d trade Embiid because it’s easier to build a roster around Simmons, but multiple executives suggested that Simmons’ shooting woes would make him the more logical trade candidate. Of the respondents who made the case for keeping both players, most argued that it would be difficult to get fair value for either one in a trade, Scotto writes.
  • Noting that managing the Sixers’ stars will be the primary challenge facing the team’s new head coach, Rich Hofmann of The Athletic weighs the pros and cons of Tyronn Lue, Jay Wright, Ime Udoka, and Dave Joerger, four candidates who have been linked to the position so far.
  • The timing of the Knicks‘ head coaching search allowed them to secure Tom Thibodeau before other teams got a chance to pursue him, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post, who hears from a source that the Sixers held some appeal to Thibodeau (Twitter link).

Sixers Fire Head Coach Brett Brown

The Sixers have parted ways with head coach Brett Brown, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. The move, which has been confirmed in a press release by the club, had been anticipated in the wake of Philadelphia’s quick, disappointing postseason exit.

According to Wojnarowski, Brown’s ouster is expected to be the first of multiple changes within the organization. The 76ers’ senior leadership will likely explore an upheaval of the front office structure, sources tell ESPN. Amidst those looming changes, general manager Elton Brand is expected to continue overseeing basketball operations, Woj notes.

Brown, 59, was hired as the Sixers’ head coach in 2013 by former head of basketball operations Sam Hinkie. His teams over the next four seasons posted a dismal 75-253 record (.229), but the franchise was focused on gathering assets during those years rather than on-court results. With Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons establishing themselves as stars, Philadelphia compiled a 146-91 mark (.616) during Brown’s last three seasons.

Brown kept his job even as Hinkie was replaced in the front office by Bryan Colangelo, who was in turn replaced by Brand. However, the team’s underwhelming results in the postseason in recent years and Brown’s inability to fully unlock the potential of the Embiid/Simmons pairing led to the end of his tenure in Philadelphia.

“I have a tremendous level of respect for Brett both personally and professionally and appreciate all he’s done for the 76ers organization and the City of Philadelphia,” Brand said today in a statement. “He did many positive things during his time here, developing young talent and helping position our team for three straight postseason appearances. Unfortunately, we fell well short of our goals this year and I believe it is best to go in a new direction.”

Brown reportedly had his ups and downs in 2018/19 with former Sixers swingman Jimmy Butler. During the ’19/20 season, Al Horford expressed frustration about not having a defined role communicated to him, and some people in the locker room have questioned Brown’s handling of rookie Matisse Thybulle, as we relayed earlier today. Josh Richardson also expressed on Sunday that “more accountability” is necessary within the organization going forward.

There was a sense within the Sixers that, after seven seasons, they had gone as far as they could with Brown, according to Wojnarowski, who reports that the head coach expected to be let go unless the team made a deep playoff run.

For what it’s worth, Brown said after Sunday’s loss that he felt as if he never got to show his full potential as a coach, due in large part to frequent injuries over the years. Both Embiid and Simmons have battled health issues in recent years.

There’s still a “strong desire” to keep those two All-Stars together, according to Woj, who says the Sixers intend to let a new coaching staff attempt to maximize Embiid’s and Simmons’ potential before considering the idea of a trade.

Brown still had two years remaining on his contract with the 76ers.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sixers Considered Unlikely To Retain Brett Brown

Following a quick playoff exit, the Sixers are widely expected to part ways with head coach Brett Brown, according to multiple reports.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweeted that Brown, who has two years remaining on his contract, has no “internal momentum” to return for another season; Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports wrote that the anticipation within coaching circles is that the Sixers will part with Brown in the coming days; and Shams Charania of The Athletic cited multiple sources with knowledge of the situation in reporting that the 76ers are expected to make a coaching change.

Sources tell Haynes that Brown “never grabbed full command” of the locker room during his time as the Sixers’ head coach. As Haynes details, Al Horford expressed frustration earlier this season about not having a defined role communicated to him, and some people in the locker room have questioned Brown’s handling of rookie Matisse Thybulle, who has seen his minutes fluctuate drastically at times. Josh Richardson also expressed on Sunday that “more accountability” is necessary going forward, per Sacha Pisani of Sporting News.

“I don’t think there was much accountability this season and I think that was part of our problem,” Richardson said. “… (When) guys are not doing their job on or off the court, there’s got to be some kind of consequence — not consequence, but we’ve got to be able to talk to each other and listen. And not (just) listen to say something back, but actually hear (each other). It’s a hard lesson to learn for some people, but in order for us to make this playoff run that I think we all want, I know we all want, it’s got to start.”

Until the Sixers officially make a decision on Brown, it’s probably too early to identify frontrunners for the job. But Charania hears from sources that Sixers assistant Ime Udoka, Clippers assistant Tyronn Lue, former Kings coach Dave Joerger, and Villanova coach Jay Wright are among the names to watch.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • There’s an expectation that the 76ers remain committed to the Joel Embiid/Ben Simmons duo and plan to let the next head coach figure out how to maximize the two stars, according to Shams Charania. Within his preview of Philadelphia’s offseason, Bobby Marks of ESPN (Insider link) explains why he thinks it makes sense for the team to keep both Embiid and Simmons.
  • While Brown figures to be dismissed, he’s not the reason the Sixers have come up short in recent postseasons, according to Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated, who assigns more of the blame to the team’s front office. Charania suggests that no front office shake-up is imminent though, writing that GM Elton Brand has maintained a healthy relationship with team ownership.
  • Tim Bontemps of ESPN passes along some of Brown’s post-game comments from Sunday, while Brian Windhorst of ESPN does the same for Embiid. As Bontemps details, Brown told reporters that he feels as if he never got a chance to show his full potential as a coach due to the injuries that plagued the Sixers over the years.
  • According to Chris Haynes, the 76ers were prepared to offer Jimmy Butler a maximum-salary contract in the summer of 2019 if he agreed not to take any recruiting visits. However, Butler – who was “lukewarm” on the idea of re-signing with Philadelphia – didn’t agree to that condition. Haynes adds that Brown didn’t love how “outspoken” Butler was with his coaching tactics.

Joel Embiid Returning For Sixers On Wednesday

All-Star Sixers center Joel Embiid is expected to rejoin his teammates tonight against the Raptors, per Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

Embiid injured his left ankle in the first quarter of an eventual 124-121 defeat by the Trail Blazers on Sunday. He subsequently missed a 130-117 loss against the Suns on Tuesday.

Embiid will be joined by returning Sixers starters Tobias Harris, Al Horford and Josh Richardson — all of whom also sat out for yesterday’s Phoenix contest — in the bout against the Raptors, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Reserve Sixers guard Alec Burks, meanwhile, will miss today’s contest to address left foot soreness, according to a separate tweet from Pompey. The injury is not anticipated to be a lasting impediment for Burks.

At 42-29, the 76ers currently occupy the sixth seed in the East. They are one game behind the fifth-seeded Pacers with two left to play. Philadelphia is 3-3 on the Disney World campus.

Pompey also tweets that young wings Oshae Brissett and Patrick McCaw will be sitting for the Raptors due to knee soreness. Toronto forwards OG Anunoby and Serge Ibaka will also miss the game, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports (Twitter link).

Sixers’ Embiid Out Tuesday, Simmons Undergoes Surgery

The Sixers issued a pair of injury updates on their two star players this afternoon, indicating that center Joel Embiid (left ankle) will miss Tuesday’s game vs. Phoenix, while guard/forward Ben Simmons underwent successful surgery in Philadelphia to remove a loose body from his left knee (Twitter links via Derek Bodner of The Athletic and Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer).

Simmons, whose procedure had been reported over the weekend, will be re-evaluated in two weeks, the Sixers indicated in today’s announcement. However, the expectation is that the former No. 1 overall pick will likely miss the rest of the season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

While Simmons’ outlook for the remainder of 2019/20 isn’t good, there’s optimism that Embiid’s ankle injury isn’t serious and that he’ll be back soon, Wojnarowski tweets. Even after tomorrow’s game, the 76ers have two more seeding contests on Wednesday and Friday, so Embiid will have a couple more opportunities to suit up before the playoffs begin next week.

Embiid’s unavailability for Tuesday is good news for the Suns, who are 6-0 in the bubble and are pushing hard to participate in a play-in tournament for the final postseason spot in the West. According to Bodner (Twitter link), Josh Richardson will also miss Tuesday’s game for rest purposes, while Al Horford (left knee soreness) and Tobias Harris (right ankle soreness) are considered questionable.

Injury Notes: Embiid, Robinson, Harris, Barton, Mills

Joel Embiid missed the Sixers’ last two scrimmage games due to right calf tightness. However, he’s expected to play on Saturday in the team’s seeding opener against the Pacers, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Embiid suffered the calf injury during a July 24 scrimmage against the Grizzlies and played just 13 minutes. He also battled injuries prior to the stoppage of play in March. He missed nine games with a torn ligament in his right hand, and sat out five others with a left shoulder sprain, Pompey notes.

The Sixers can improve their playoff seeding during the next eight games. They are tied for fifth place in the East with Indiana at 39-26.

We have more injury-related news:

  • Sixers forward Glenn Robinson III is doubtful to play on Saturday, Pompey notes in the same story. He has a left hip pointer, which he suffered during a scrimmage against the Thunder on Sunday.
  • The Nuggets will go without at least two key players in their seeding opener on Saturday, the team’s PR department tweets. Guard Gary Harris has a right hip muscle strain while Will Barton is dealing with right knee soreness. Reserve big man Vlatko Cancar (left foot fracture) will also miss the game. Starting point guard Jamal Murray is questionable duo to left hamstring tightness.
  • Spurs veteran guard Patty Mills didn’t play in the team’s first game in Orlando but it wasn’t injury-related, ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk tweets. Coach Gregg Popovich simply wanted to use his younger guards more extensively. Shooting guard Bryn Forbes‘ absence was injury-related — he’s dealing with a sore right quad.