Justin Anderson

Justin Anderson Sidelined By Shin Splints

Sixers forward Justin Anderson will miss at least three weeks because of shin splints in his left leg, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Anderson has appeared in 10 games this season, all off the bench, and is averaging 5.0 points and 2.7 rebounds in 12.6 minutes. He played nearly 22 minutes per night and started eight games at the end of last season after being acquired in a February deal with the Mavericks.

The injury should mean more playing time for second-year forward Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Pompey notes (Twitter link). The small forward out of France has played 13 games this season, producing 6.8 points in 16 minutes per night.

Sixers Pick Up Four Options; Okafor In Limbo

The Sixers have exercised their 2018/19 rookie scale team options on four players, according to RealGM’s log of official NBA transactions. Philadelphia has picked up third-year options for Ben Simmons, Dario Saric, and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, along with the fourth-year option for Justin Anderson.

[RELATED: Decisions On 2018/19 Rookie Scale Team Options]

That leaves Jahlil Okafor as the only player with a 2018/19 team option that has yet to be exercised. The Sixers could still pick up Okafor’s fourth-year option – which has a cap hit of about $6.3MM – at some point today. However, the club continues to explore potential trades involving the former third overall pick, and those trade talks could determine whether or not Okafor’s option gets exercised, tweets Derek Bodner of The Athletic.

Outside of Simmons’ option, which will count for about $6.4MM against the 76ers’ cap, the 2018/19 options picked up by the team so far are modest. Saric and and Anderson will have cap charges of about $2.5MM apiece, while Luwawu-Cabarrot’s will be a little over $1.5MM.

The decisions lock all four players in for the ’18/19 season, and Anderson will be eligible for restricted free agency in 2019, assuming he’s not extended during the 2018 offseason. Philadelphia will face fourth-year option decisions on Simmons, Saric, and Luwawu-Cabarrot a year from now.

Sixers Notes: Okafor, Johnson, Holmes, Anderson

Jahlil Okafor was a bad fit for the Sixers from the beginning, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia picked Okafor third in the 2015 draft despite already having centers Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel on the roster. There was never going to be enough playing time for all three big men, so Noel was traded to Dallas in February, and now Okafor appears to be on the way out.

The Sixers front office is working with representatives for the 21-year-old center to find a trade. He has put up two disappointing years in Philadelphia, playing a combined 101 games, and now has fallen out of the rotation. He has gotten into just one game this season.

Okafor’s injury history and poor defensive reputation are limiting the trade market. Coach Brett Brown can’t give him playing time to improve, Pompey notes, because the Sixers are under pressure to start winning and can’t afford to have a glaring liability on defense. That leaves Okafor glued to  the bench while he waits for a deal.

There’s more tonight out of Philadelphia:

  • Brown seems committed to free agent addition Amir Johnson as the backup center, relays Dan Devine of Yahoo Sports. The 30-year-old, who signed with Philadelphia over the summer after spending the last two years in Boston, is averaging 15 minutes per night. “I think it’s going to be Amir’s spot to lose,” Brown said. “… It’s always competitive, but the competitive nature has shifted toward Amir’s performance.”
  • Richaun Holmes will make his season debut Friday, cutting further into the playing time at center, Pompey tweets. The third-year big man has been sidelined since the preseason with a fractured bone in his left wrist.
  • Sixers swingman Justin Anderson is making his first return to Dallas tonight since the Mavericks shipped him out in the February trade for Noel, notes Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News. Anderson got more minutes after arriving in Philadelphia and posted career-best numbers in scoring (8.5 points per game) and rebounds (4.0) over the final two months of last season. “Coming back to the place that drafted me, that kind of took me in, coddled me like a little baby of theirs, I grew a lot here,” Anderson said of the return to Dallas. “It was tough with the trade, but I think everything worked out for a reason. I’m in a great place. We’re onto something big.”

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Fultz, Pullen, Anderson

The Sixers expect to have Joel Embiid ready for Wednesday’s opener at Washington, tweets Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia. The fourth-year center, who signed a rookie-scale extension last week, sat out practice today, but coach Brett Brown told reporters he expects Embiid to practice on Monday and be ready for the first game.

Brown also said rookie point guard Markelle Fultz, the top pick in this year’s draft, will start the season as a reserve (Twitter link). Fultz was limited by knee and shoulder injuries in the preseason and didn’t see much playing time.

There’s more news out of Philadelphia:

  • Converting his contract to a two-way deal was fine with Jacob Pullen, who was looking for any way to get on an NBA roster, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers made the move Saturday, which will keep Pullen with the Delaware 87ers for most of the season. Players on two-way contracts are limited to 45 days in the NBA and salaries that top out at about $275K. But at age 27, Pullen found that preferable to spending another season overseas. “Knowing what I know now and knowing what my dreams are, where I want to be, you have to take this,” said Pullen, who spent last year in Russia and has also played in Italy, Israel, Spain and Croatia. “I tell people all the time, there are three ways to the top — the escalator, elevator, stairs. Some people get the elevator. Some get the escalator. Some walk up all of the flights of stairs. The NBA is an important thing to me now. It’s a dream that I want to come true. So I’ll take the stairs.”
  • Justin Anderson may compete with Jahlil Okafor to be the Sixers’ most improved player, Pompey writes in a separate piece. The 23-year-old swingman, who was traded to Philadelphia in February, dropped weight over the offseason and worked to improve his outside shot.
  • Although Ben Simmons still has some flaws him his game, he impressed opposing coaches with his potential during preseason, Pompey adds in another story. Simmons is preparing for his official rookie season after sitting out all of last year while recovering from a broken foot. “That kid, they are not talking about him enough – the way he moves with the ball, his ability to see the floor, the way he can get places on the floor,” said Grizzlies coach David Fizdale. “I think once he gets confidence in the shot, where you really have to close out on him to the three, wow, he is a big-time talent.”

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Saric, Covington, Fultz

Joel Embiid‘s teammates believe the Sixers made the right move by rewarding him with a five-year extension, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Embiid is slated to receive $148MM, but the value could go as high as $178MM if he meets certain criteria. There are also several salary cap protections to guard the organization against further injury for Embiid, who has played just 31 games in three seasons. “Have you seen him play? He’s a beast,” Ben Simmons responded when asked about the extension. “I can’t name one person that can stop him. Honestly, there’s nobody that can compete with him at his position. No one.”

Embiid is still recovering from “minor” surgery in March to fix a torn meniscus in his left knee. The Sixers were hoping to have him ready for the October 18 season opener, but rehab has been going well and Pompey suggests he may play in Friday’s preseason finale. Embiid’s last game before the surgery was January 27.

There’s more this morning out of Philadelphia:

  • Embiid’s cap hit for next summer will be either $25.2MM or $30.3MM, depending on whether he meets the qualifications for the 30% max, according to Derek Bodner of The Athletic. If Embiid is only at the 25% max, Philadelphia will have about $53.34MM in committed salary heading into next year’s free agent sweepstakes. That leaves roughly $47.6MM, but that figure will be reduced by draft picks and option decisions. The Sixers may have two first-rounders if they land the Lakers’ pick, and they have to determine whether to extend rookie-scale contracts for Jahlil Okafor ($6.3MM in 2018/19), Dario Saric ($2.5MM) and Justin Anderson ($2.5MM) by the end of October. Bodner writes that the Sixers are certain to pick up Saric’s option, but Okafor and Anderson are less definite. Philadelphia also has team options on T.J. McConnell and Richaun Holmes valued at $1.6MM each, but those don’t have to be addressed until June 29.
  • The team’s most important remaining salary decision involves Robert Covington, Bodner adds in the same piece. Starting November 15, Covington will be eligible to have his contract renegotiated or extended. He will become a free agent with a $3MM cap hold next summer if nothing is done.
  • Rookie guard Markelle Fultz may still be suffering the effects of a right shoulder injury, Pompey relays in a separate story. The first overall pick had to sit out Friday’s game and is shooting just 29.2% from the floor in the preseason. “I think his shoulder is affecting him more than he lets on,” coach Brett Brown said. “You can tell with his free throw, you know, trying to get that ball up. Its follow from his body. But he’s been working on just trying to get that thing rehabilitated.”

Sixers Notes: Long, Brown, TLC, Anderson, Embiid

Shawn Long is likely to stick with the Sixers after his 10-day contract expires, Jessica Camerato of CSN reports. Long, whose contract expires Wednesday, has earned the respect of coach Brett Brown.

“I think we’re going through that,” Brown said of making a decision on Long’s contract. “It wouldn’t surprise me. I have no desire, personally, to look elsewhere. He’s a part of what we’ve been doing.”

“We feel like he’s ours. His ability to step out and make a three, his ability to have a finesse move at a post, he does have length, he does play hard, he is fluid in his movements. All those things give you hope that maybe there is a place for him. He’s young, he’s a good young man, he works. There’s really nothing but positives that come to my mind when you mention his name.”

As Camerato mentions, the health of Tiago Splitter may influence the team’s decision to tender Long another contract. As Keith Pompey of Philly.com recently reported, the team was considering working Splitter out with the Delaware 87ers.

More from the City of Brotherly Love…

  • While injuries have decimated the Sixers’ lineup, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot has impressed in his rookie season, Bob Cooney of Philly.com writes. “Luwawu-Cabarrot isn’t all the way there yet, but he has turned his game into something that could be very complementary next season,” Cooney writes. “He uses his athleticism very well on both ends of the court, and for a team that is always going to be in need of perimeter defense, that is a huge asset. His floor vision has improved to the point where he is a legitimate triple threat when the ball is in his hands. He hasn’t even really had the chance to play with Embiid yet, which could be so helpful in opening lanes and giving more time for jumpers.”
  • Deadline acquisition Justin Anderson held a Q&A with Ed Barkowitz of Philly.com. Anderson claimed to have “gotten over” the shock of being traded, and now embraces a “great opportunity” in Philadelphia. “Here, they have high expectations for me. I’m willing to grind and work. It’s a young team that’s going to play hard and fast.”
  • Anderson also relayed a funny tidbit about Joel Embiid, who he tried to recruit for the University of Virginia: “I tried to recruit him to come to Virginia. I was his host when he came on his official visit. Downstairs (from the dorm), there was big glass windows and he didn’t see the glass and he just walked right into it. It was hilarious. But the cool thing came when I asked him what he wanted to do. Do you want to go out? Do you want to get food? Movies? He said, “I’m just trying to go to the gym.” So it was like 12 o’clock at night and we went back to the gym to get some work in. It was impressive.”
  • Coach Brown has proven himself as the leader of this team, Keith Pompey of Philly.com writes. While there are still questions about Brown’s long-term future within the organization, some coaches around the league are “amazed” he’s managed a 23-42 record. “I think he should be coach of the year,” Bucks coach Jason Kidd said. “You talk about all the players that are out with injuries, but every day, he is upbeat, he’s teaching, he’s coaching, and he’s trying to put his team in a position to win. I am a big fan of coach Brown.”

Sixers Notes: Anderson, Okafor, Bogut, Splitter

When word broke that the 76ers would likely end up receiving a pair of second-round picks from the Mavericks in the Nerlens Noel trade, rather than a first-rounder, critics were quick to rule the deal a misstep for GM Bryan Colangelo and the Sixers. However, in the view of Mavs GM Donnie Nelson, the draft compensation isn’t even the most important part of the package heading to Philadelphia — Nelson thinks Justin Anderson is that centerpiece.

“Look, they had an extremely difficult situation,” Nelson said of the Sixers, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. “They were overstocked at the center position. You’re looking at basically the possibility of a couple-month rental, and so I think they did the best that they could with the situation they had. It was really a need position for us, and it was taking the best possible deal they could get. They like Justin Anderson a lot. He is the critical piece, and it was hard for us to give them that piece.”

David Murphy of The Philadelphia Daily News agrees with Nelson’s sentiment, writing – even before the Mavs GM spoke to reporters – that the success of the deal from the Sixers’ perspective figures to hinge on the development of Anderson.

Here’s more on the Sixers, who announced earlier today that Ben Simmons will be out for the rest of the season:

  • The trade market for Jahlil Okafor leading up to the deadline was “much more broad” than the market for Noel, but the right deal didn’t present itself, per Colangelo (Twitter links via Jake Fischer of SI.com). The Sixers GM hinted that the team will probably revisit trade talks involving Okafor at a later date.
  • Andrew Bogut won’t be with the Sixers for at least a week while dealing with personal issues, but that doesn’t preclude the two sides from negotiating a buyout during that time, says Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter links). A buyout is considered likely, so Bogut may never end up reporting to Philadelphia.
  • Colangelo said today that Tiago Splitter is hoping to get back onto the court this season and the Sixers will help him rehab, but the big man – acquired from the Hawks this week – isn’t part of the club’s long term plans (Twitter links via Fischer and Pompey). Splitter will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • Colangelo said today that Ersan Ilyasova will be seeking a long-term deal in free agency this summer, but wasn’t part of the Sixers’ long-term plans, which was why the club felt compelled to move him this week (Twitter link via Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com).
  • Joel Embiid wasn’t thrilled with the cagey way in which the Sixers handled updates on his knee injury, as Tom Moore of The Burlington County Times writes. “I was told I was going to kind of miss two or three weeks, so I wasn’t happy with the way it was handled,” said Embiid, who was announced as day-to-day when he first went down. “I thought keeping my name out there was going to literally have people think about me all the time instead of just saying when I was going to be back.”

Sixers Trade Nerlens Noel To Mavericks

8:48pm: The trade is official, according to a press release from the Sixers. The announcement suggests that if the 2017 first-round pick from the Mavs isn’t conveyed, Philadelphia will receive Dallas’ second-round picks for 2017 and 2020.

11:58am: According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter links), if the Sixers don’t receive the Mavs’ first-round pick this year, they’ll instead receive 2017 and 2018 second-round picks from Dallas. Since that first-rounder is top-18 protected, it seems very unlikely to change hands, so the conditions on the pick make the deal look even better for the Mavs.Nerlens Noel vertical

11:30am: There are still some moving parts to sort out in the deal before it becomes official, according to Jake Fischer of SI.com, who tweets that the trade may expand to involve a third team so that the Sixers don’t have to waive a player.

10:46am: The Sixers are in agreement with the Mavericks on a deal that will send Nerlens Noel to Dallas, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, Philadelphia will receive Justin Anderson and a first-round pick from the Mavs. ESPN’s Marc Stein adds (via Twitter) that the Sixers will also get Andrew Bogut‘s expiring contract.

According to Stein (via Twitter), the first-round pick heading to the Sixers in the deal will be top-18 protected in 2017, which makes it unlikely that it will change hands this year. As our 2016/17 Reverse Standings show, Dallas currently projects to have the No. 7 overall pick, though Noel should help improve this year’s team. Future protections on the first-rounder have not yet been reported.

Noel, who will turn 23 in April, was frequently mentioned as a trade candidate earlier this season, particularly after he publicly questioned the Sixers’ decision to head into camp with a logjam at center. However, the former sixth overall pick had played well as of late, averaging 8.9 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and a career-best .611 FG% in less than 20 minutes per game for the season.

Recent trade rumors had focused more on Jahlil Okafor than Noel, so it will be interesting to see if the Sixers end up moving Okafor today as well. In his full report on the trade, Wojnarowski suggests Okafor is now likely to stay put. However, as Jake Fischer of SI.com notes (via Twitter), the Sixers have been “steadfast” this week in their efforts to move Okafor, so it would be a change of direction to hang onto him now.

[RELATED: Latest on Jahlil Okafor]

For the Mavs, Noel represents a substantial upgrade at center, giving the team the sort of athletic, rim-protecting big man it had been seeking. As Wojnarowski tweets, Dallas has “long been intrigued” by Noel, and will look to lock him up this summer. The Kentucky product will be a restricted free agent, so the Mavs will have the opportunity to match any offers he receives from other teams.

From the Sixers’ perspective, the move represents a chance to pick up a young player and a draft pick while also potentially not having to worry about reaching the salary floor. Anderson has yet to make a real impact in his two NBA seasons, but he’s still just 23 years old and won’t be a restricted free agent until the summer of 2019. Meanwhile, the combined salaries for Bogut ($11MM+) and Anderson ($1.51MM) are worth approximately $8MM more than Noel’s salary, allowing Philadelphia to surpass the salary floor.

However, if the Sixers were to flip Bogut in another deadline deal, that could change the equation, and the team has yet to decide what they’ll do with the veteran center, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). ESPN’s Chris Haynes reports (via Twitter) that Bogut and the Sixers are expected to engage in buyout talks, with potential suitors like the Cavs keeping a close eye on the situation. However, TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter links) suggests Philadelphia could reroute the former No. 1 pick to another team, with the Celtics as one possibility.

A couple final bookkeeping notes on the swap: Assuming it’s completed as reported, Dallas should have the opportunity to create a pair of trade exceptions in the deal. One would be worth about $6.64MM (the difference between Bogut’s and Noel’s salaries), while the other would be worth approximately $1.51MM (Anderson’s salary). The Mavs should also now comfortably avoid the luxury tax this season, having previously been about $1MM away from the tax threshold.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Mavs Notes: Williams, Ferrell, Trade Chips

Sidelined since January 25, veteran point guard Deron Williams has had his status updated to “questionable” for Saturday’s contest between the Mavs and Magic. The point guard has missed eight games nursing a sprained big toe on his left foot.

In 37 games with the Mavs this season, Williams has averaged 13.5 points and 7.1 assists per game and, after participating in shootaround earlier today, will be a game-time decision says Eddie Sefko of the Dallas News.

Williams’ absence, in addition to injuries and illness to J.J. Barea and Devin Harris, have contributed to the rise of 10-day signee Yogi Ferrell. Signed as a temporary replacement for previous 10-day signee Pierre Jackson, Ferrell was thrust into the spotlight in Dallas and did not disappoint. In seven games as a starter, Ferrell has averaged 15.3 points and 4.6 assists per game, enough to earn himself a two-year deal.

When Williams returns to the lineup, he will presumably assume his position in the starting five, but there’s no guarantee that the depth chart behind him will remain the same as it was prior to the Ferrell signing.

There’s more news out of Dallas:

  • An inconsistent season has put the Mavs in a unique position where there’s no direct indication that they’ll either be buyers or sellers at the deadline. If they do decide to make moves, they have a number of valuable trade chips, writes Eddie Sefko in a separate piece for the Dallas News. Andrew Bogut and his $11MM expiring deal will be coveted, as will Deron Williams and his one-year $9MM contract. Similarly, Dwight Powell and Justin Anderson could stand out as valuable assets with bargain contracts.
  • Since debuting with the Mavs at the end of January, undrafted rookie Yogi Ferrell has been a bright spot in an otherwise forgettable season. Ferrell hit the ground running with Dallas, starting in his first game with the club and Barry Horn of the Dallas News suggests that he could be partly responsible for a boost in the team’s TV ratings.
  • The Mavs will have the opportunity to draft a great player, regardless of position, writes Matt Mosley of the Dallas News. The writer specifies that, even despite the emergence of guards Seth Curry and Yogi Ferrell, if Lonzo Ball or Dennis Smith Jr. are available, them team should draft them anyway.

Mavs Pick Up Justin Anderson’s 2017/18 Option

The Mavericks have locked in Justin Anderson‘s salary for the 2017/18 season, exercising their team option on the third year of his rookie contract, per RealGM’s transactions log. The move guarantees Anderson’s $1,579,440 salary for the ’17/18 campaign.

[RELATED: Offseason In Review: Dallas Mavericks]

The deadline for teams to make 2017/18 option decisions on rookie contracts is October 31, but the Mavs didn’t exactly need to take their call on Anderson down to the wire. Although the Virginia product didn’t make a huge impact in his rookie season in Dallas, averaging 3.8 PPG and 2.4 RPG in 55 regular-season contests (11.8 MPG), he appears poised to take on a bigger role as he continues to develop his game.

Anderson’s salary also represents a very small fraction of what the Mavericks will spend on player salaries for the next few seasons. Assuming the cap for 2017/18 rises to at least $102MM, as expected, Anderson’s salary would only represent about 1.5% of that figure.

The 6’6″ forward, who will turn 23 next month, would get another salary bump to about $2.52MM in 2018/19, assuming the Mavs exercise that option next fall. That would put Anderson on track for a contract extension in 2018 or potential restricted free agency in 2019.

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