Justin Patton

Sixers Sign Greg Monroe, Waive Justin Patton

APRIL 4, 11:18am: The Sixers have officially signed Monroe, according to a press release from the club. The team’s roster is now back to 15 players.

APRIL 3, 4:10pm: The Sixers have officially waived Patton, the team announced today in a press release.

APRIL 3, 12:49pm: Philadelphia will be the next stop for Greg Monroe, tweets Jordan Schultz of ESPN, who states that the Sixers will waive center Justin Patton tomorrow and sign Monroe for the rest of the season.

Monroe became available when his 10-day contract with the Celtics expired last night. Boston passed on an opportunity to re-sign him, preferring to keep a roster spot open for other options.

The 10-day contract won’t prevent him from being eligible for the playoffs, notes Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Only players waived since March 1 lose their postseason eligibility, and Monroe hasn’t been waived — his 10-day deal with Boston simply expired.

Monroe will provide a veteran presence in the middle for the Sixers, who have been seeking backup help at center. Philadelphia will be his fourth stop of the season after beginning in Toronto before being traded to Brooklyn and then waived. He averaged 4.8 PPG and 4.1 RPG in 38 games with the Raptors, but played just five total minutes in two games with the Celtics.

Philadelphia won’t be on the hook for much salary with Patton, who is entering the final week of a $2,667,600 contract. Injury problems have limited him to just four games in two NBA seasons after being selected with the 16th pick in the 2017 draft. His 2019/20 option was declined by Minnesota last fall.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/13/19

Here are Wednesday’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Sixers have re-assigned Zhaire Smith and Justin Patton to their G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats, the club announced (via Twitter). Smith was available to play for Philadelphia on Tuesday night, but didn’t get a chance to make his NBA debut.
  • After scoring a game-high 28 points to help lead the Capital City Go-Go to a Tuesday win, Chasson Randle was recalled from the G League today by the Wizards, per the team (via Twitter). Randle is part of Washington’s rotation tonight vs. Orlando.
  • The Suns recalled rookie guard Elie Okobo from the G League in advance of their game tonight vs. Utah, the team announced in a press release. Okobo had 19 points, five assists, and five rebounds for the Northern Arizona Suns on Tuesday.
  • Rookie forward Chimezie Metu was assigned to the G League today by the Spurs, according to a team release. Metu is active for Austin’s game tonight vs. Iowa.
  • The Thunder recalled dunk contest champion Hamidou Diallo from the G Leauge today, tweets Brett Dawson of The Athletic. Diallo, who is active tonight for the Thunder, recorded 18 points and nine rebounds for the Oklahoma City Blue on Tuesday.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 3/9/19

Here are today’s G League assignments and recalls from around the NBA:

  • The Jazz assigned Dante Exum, who has been sidelined since January 5 with an ankle injury, to their Salt Lake affiliate, along with Grayson Allen and Georges Niang, the team announced on Twitter. All three players were recalled after today’s practice.
  • The Jazz also recalled Tony Bradley, according to a tweet from the team.
  • The Bucks assigned Christian Wood to the Wisconsin Herd for tonight’s game with Canton (Twitter link).
  • The Rockets recalled Isaiah Hartenstein from Rio Grande Valley to add some center depth heading into a back-to-back, tweets Jonathan Feigen of The Houston Chronicle.
  • The Sixers assigned Amir Johnson and Justin Patton to play for Delaware in tonight’s game, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Both will be recalled after the game.

Atlantic Notes: Dinwiddie, C’s, Baynes, Knicks

As they fight to hang onto the sixth seed in the Eastern Conference, the Nets will get some rotation reinforcements this week. According to Michael Scotto of The Athletic (via Twitter), head coach Kenny Atkinson said today that injured guard Spencer Dinwiddie is set to return to the court for Brooklyn on Friday.

Dinwiddie, who last played for the Nets on January 23, underwent surgery a month ago to repair torn ligaments in his right thumb. At the time, the estimated timeline for his recovery was three to six weeks, so he’s ready to get back right in the middle of that window.

Dinwiddie and veteran forward Jared Dudley were assigned to the Long Island Nets, Brooklyn’s G League affiliate, today in order to get some practice time in, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Both players are expected to suit up for the NBA club on Friday vs. Charlotte.

Here are a few more items from around the Atlantic:

  • While Danny Ainge acknowledged during a Toucher & Rich radio appearance on Thursday that “everybody has some fault” in the Celtics‘ struggles this year, the club’s president of basketball operations offered a strong defense of his head coach. “There’s blame to share for everybody, but I will say this: He’s the least, by far, of anybody that there is to blame,” Ainge said of Brad Stevens (link via Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston).
  • Aron Baynes, who has been sidelined with a left foot injury since the start of February, appears to be almost ready to play, Stevens said on Wednesday, per Taylor Snow of Celtics.com. “I would say that Friday is unlikely,” Stevens said of Baynes’ return date. “But beyond that, I think he could play any time in the days after that depending on how he comes out of (Wednesday’s) workout.”
  • Knicks fans – including Spike Lee – may be happy to see the team embrace the tank and improve their draft lottery position, but losing games isn’t head coach David Fizdale‘s goal the rest of the way, as Steve Popper of Newsday writes. “I’m lucky because Steve [Mills] and Scott [Perry] and Mr. [James] Dolan have all said to me, you play every game to win and you don’t worry about where we land in the draft and all of that stuff,” Fizdale said.
  • Although the Sixers are missing a couple big men and have Justin Patton for Thursday’s game, the young center probably won’t play, head coach Brett Brown told reporters today (video link via Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer). We had more on Patton and the 76ers in an earlier round-up.

Sixers Notes: Z. Smith, Patton, Chemistry

Sixers rookie wing Zhaire Smith isn’t considered likely to contribute to the NBA club down the stretch, or even play at all in Philadelphia this season. However, he appears poised to make his professional debut in the G League this week, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Smith, who has been sidelined for most of the 2018/19 season due to a broken foot, as well as complications from an allergic reaction, should get the OK to play for the Delaware Blue Coats on Friday against Maine if things go as planned, sources tell Pompey. Assuming there are no setbacks, Smith would continue to suit up and shake off the rest for Delaware down the stretch — head coach Brett Brown has said that he doesn’t expect the 2018 first-rounder to play for the 76ers this season.

Assuming Smith doesn’t make his NBA debut until 2019/20, he would be the latest in a string of Sixers first-round picks to sit out his full rookie season. Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, and Ben Simmons missed their entire rookie years, while Markelle Fultz appeared in just 14 games in his.

Here’s more from out of Philadelphia:

  • Speaking of injured former first-rounders, Sixers center Justin Patton may finally get an opportunity to contribute to the NBA club, per Brian Seltzer of Sixers.com. With Embiid and Boban Marjanovic on the shelf, Philadelphia is shorthanded in the frontcourt and has recalled Patton from the G League. The young center’s first two NBA seasons have been derailed by foot injuries, but he’ll be ready to play in his second ever NBA game if the Sixers need him on Thursday. Patton will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports takes a deep dive into the Sixers’ efforts to develop chemistry and establish an identity after a pair of blockbuster in-season acquisitions (Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris). “It’s gonna take awhile to build chemistry as a collective unit, but this is something that can be special if it comes together the right way,” Harris said. “It’s gonna take time, but we’re just feeling each other out.” Philadelphia’s ability to sort things out in time for the playoffs could have a significant impact on the NBA offseason — both Butler and Harris will be free agents, and their decisions could be affected by how deep a run the 76ers make.
  • In case you missed it, we passed along health updates on Embiid, Marjanovic, and Furkan Korkmaz earlier this week. Korkmaz is expected to have the lengthiest absence of the three, as he underwent surgery to repair his torn meniscus.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 2/27/19

Here are Wednesday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Timberwolves assigned veteran forward Robert Covington to their Iowa affiliate as he works his way back from a bruised knee he suffered in late December, the team announced on Twitter. Covington has played just 22 games for Minnesota since being acquired from the Sixers in November.
  • The Hornets assigned guard Devonte’ Graham to the Greensboro Swarm, according to a press release. Graham has posted a 23.8/4.5/4.8 line in in 10 G League games.
  • The Jazz assigned guard Grayson Allen to Salt Lake City, the team announced in a release. Allen is averaging 15.7 PPG in seven games with the Stars.
  • The Grizzlies recalled guard Jevon Carter from the Memphis Hustle, the team tweeted. Carter was active for tonight’s game against the Bulls.
  • The Sixers recalled center Justin Patton from Delaware, tweets Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Patton will join the team for tomorrow’s game at Oklahoma City.

NBA G League Assignments/Recalls: 1/24/19

Here are Thursday’s assignments and recalls from around the NBA G League:

  • The Sixers have assigned Justin Patton and Zhaire Smith to the Delaware Blue Coats for rehab purposes, the team announced. Patton will begin practicing with limited and controlled contact as he works back from right foot surgery, while Smith will participate in non-contact practices as he returns from a Jones fracture in his left foot.
  • The Celtics assigned rookie forward Robert Williams to the Maine Red Claws, announcing the move on social media. Williams was selected by the Celtics with the No. 27 pick in the 2018 draft, appearing in 22 games so far this season.
  • The Hornets have recalled Dwayne Bacon from the Greensboro Swarm, the team announced in a press release. Bacon is holding season averages of 4.6 points, 1.5 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 23 games with Charlotte on the year.

Sixers Notes: Patton, Z. Smith, Vonleh, Butler

The Sixers announced today in a press release that a pair of injured youngsters have been assigned to the G League to join the Delaware Blue Coats for rehab purposes. According to the team, Justin Patton will begin practicing with limited and controlled contact, while Zhaire Smith will participate in non-contact elements of Delaware’s practices.

Patton, who is coming off right foot surgery, has been plagued by foot issues throughout his two-year NBA career, appearing in just one regular season game to date. He was sent to Philadelphia in November’s Jimmy Butler blockbuster, but will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end. It’s unlikely we see him play much of a role for the 76ers down the stretch even if he gets healthy.

Smith, on the other hand, was the Sixers’ first-round pick in 2018 and remains under team control for several seasons, so it’s notable that he’s taking the next step in his rehab process. According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), while Smith is just doing non-contact work for now, he’ll ramp up his activities in the coming weeks. The rookie is coming off a Jones fracture in his left foot and a complication created by an allergy issue.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • Derek Bodner of The Athletic takes an extensive look at the Sixers’ trade deadline options, writing that the team is in need of depth and perimeter defense. Bodner also explores whether the 76ers would move Markelle Fultz while his value is so low and whether the club would make a deal that cuts into its 2019 cap room.
  • Within the same story, Bodner reports that sources with the Sixers “vigorously” denied a recent report suggesting that the team had expressed interest in Knicks power forward Noah Vonleh.
  • Jimmy Butler missed Wednesday’s game with a wrist injury, but it’s not considered a major issue, according to head coach Brett Brown, who said that a Monday MRI on Butler’s wrist didn’t reveal anything concerning (Twitter link via Tim Bontemps of ESPN.com).

Sixers Optimistic Butler Will Stay Put

Sixers managing partner and owner Josh Harris is both determined and optimistic that Jimmy Butler will remain with the team beyond this season, as he told USA Today’s Jeff Zillgitt and The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The Butler trade was made to give the franchise a third star alongside Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid and become a serious championship contender. It wouldn’t have happened unless the Sixers were convinced they could keep Butler, who can opt out of his contract this summer, in the long run.

“We’ve been saying since the summer we’ve been looking for another star and we felt we needed another shooter, a three-and-D wing, someone like Jimmy,” Harris told Zillgitt. “They’re hard to find at this elite level. We know who we have to get through to win the East. It’s obvious who it is. We think this is a piece we needed.”

While Butler became a major distraction around the Timberwolves, he’s been a model citizen since joining the Sixers. And Philadelphia anticipates that its gamble will pay off in the long run in the form of a multi-year contract.

“Our goal is to have elite talent under contract for a long time,” Harris told Charania. “That’s what we’re interested in.”

Both reporters offered insights into the trade discussions involving Butler. The Sixers eventually agreed to deal Dario Saric, Robert Covington, Jerryd Bayless and a future second-rounder for Butler and throw-in Justin Patton.

  • The Timberwolves initially asked for another starter in addition to the trio the Sixers dealt, according to Zillgitt.
  • Minnesota narrowed its offers to three teams, with the Pelicans and Rockets being the other finalists, according to Charania.  New Orleans dangled forward Nikola Mirotic and a first-round pick, while Houston was willing to part with guard Eric Gordon and two first-rounders.
  • The Sixers initially offered draft picks and other large contracts, Harris told Charania. Markelle Fultz was discussed in the Butler talks.
  • Other suitors, such as the Lakers, wanted to wait until the December 15th date when signed free agents could be included in a deal for Butler, Charania added.

Timberwolves Trade Jimmy Butler To Sixers

NOVEMBER 12: The Sixers and Timberwolves have issued press releases announcing that the deal is now official.

NOVEMBER 10: The Sixers have agreed to acquire Timberwolves star Jimmy Butler and Justin Patton for Robert Covington, Dario SaricJerryd Bayless and a 2022 second-round pick, according to Shams Charania and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter links). A trade call with the league to finalize the deal has been scheduled for Monday, Charania adds (via Twitter).

Elton Brand‘s first major move as the Sixers’ general manager will allow the team to acquire a third star alongside Simmons and Embiid without having to take their chances trying to lure that sort of impact player to Philadelphia during 2019’s free agent period. It should also reduce the pressure on 2017’s first overall pick Markelle Fultz to develop into that third star.

Butler and the Sixers fully expect to reach an agreement on a long-term deal for the All-NBA swingman once he’s eligible for free agency in 2019, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Philadelphia’s plan is to have a long-term big three of Butler, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, according to Wojnarowski, who suggests (via Twitter) that only a major injury or a poor fit alongside Simmons and Embiid could diminish the Sixers’ optimism on a long-term future with Butler.

It remains to be seen how Butler will fit on and off the court in Philadelphia with the team’s two young stars after failing to make things work with Karl-Anthony Towns and Andrew Wiggins in Minnesota, but the four-time All-Star should significantly increase the 76ers’ ceiling. Butler will provide play-making and shooting (.361 3PT% since 2016/17) on offense, and figures to replace Covington as the team’s primary perimeter stopper on defense. As for Patton, his NBA career has been derailed by foot injuries, and he’s unlikely to be a Sixer beyond this season.

Even if they re-sign Butler in 2019, the Sixers won’t necessarily be capped out quite yet, with Simmons still on his rookie deal. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks details, with cap holds for Butler and fellow free agent T.J. McConnell to consider, the team would have about $21MM in cap room next summer. If the 76ers want to clear enough room for another max player, trading Fultz would just about get them there, though Philadelphia’s cap sheet could get messy in that scenario, with an eventual max deal for Simmons also on the horizon.

For Minnesota, this trade will end a near two-month saga after Butler’s trade request went public. The week before training camps got underway, word broke that Butler had asked to be traded during a meeting with Timberwolves coach and president of basketball operations Tom Thibodeau and didn’t intend to report to camp.

When the Wolves didn’t find a trade for Butler right away, he rejoined the team, but the last five or six weeks have been rife with drama. The 29-year-old’s return to Minnesota was highlighted by a now-infamous expletive-filled rant in a preseason practice, and things hadn’t quieted down much since then. Now that the Wolves have finally resolved the situation, the team will have an opportunity to focus on a future centered around former No. 1 overall picks Towns and Wiggins.

The Timberwolves will now add Covington and Saric to that long-term core — Saric won’t be up for restricted free agency until 2020, while Covington is locked up through 2022. Both players make sense for Thibodeau, GM Scott Layden, and the Wolves, who didn’t want to take a significant step back in their roster-building process after snapping a lengthy postseason-less streak this past spring. Covington and Saric will be able to jump into the rotation immediately and should also be part of the team for years to come.

Bayless is on an expiring contract and almost certainly won’t be part of Minnesota’s future plans, as he was just included in the swap for salary-matching purposes. If the Wolves don’t plan for Bayless to have a role this season, he’ll become a buyout candidate.

Thibodeau, Layden, owner Glen Taylor, and the Timberwolves also reportedly discussed potential Butler trades with several other teams before agreeing to terms with the Sixers. The Rockets and Heat were said to be the most aggressive suitors, as Minnesota allegedly passed on a Miami offer that included Josh Richardson and a first-round pick, and also balked at a Houston offer featuring four first-round picks.

We don’t know what the protections on those Rockets’ first-rounders or the Heat first-rounder would have looked like, and the Wolves likely would have had to take on an unwanted multiyear contract in each of those proposals. Still, it will still be fascinating to see how Covington and Saric pan out in Minnesota, since we have a sense of what sort of other packages were available to the Wolves.

While Thibodeau exercised plenty of patience through the Butler saga, that patience ran out after the Timberwolves concluded their 0-5 road trip on Friday, according to Wojnarowski (Twitter link). League sources told Wojnarowski that Thibodeau came to the realization Minnesota couldn’t win with Butler in such a dysfunctional environment, and told associates that the team wouldn’t play another game with Butler.

Wojnarowski and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst also report (via Twitter) that team ownership was “heavily involved” on both sides of the negotiations, with Taylor and Josh Harris of the Sixers working closely with management to finalize a deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images. Luke Adams contributed to this post.