Landry Shamet

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: Brand, Harris, Z. Smith, Simmons

Elton Brand‘s rise to GM will make the Sixers a more attractive destination for free agents, former agent David Falk tells David Murphy of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Falk, who represented Brand during his playing career, said the new GM is in a perfect spot to transform the franchise.

“I think he’s in a window where he is young enough where people know him as a player and he’s old enough to understand the business side,” Falk said. “I think that [the Sixers] have a great core, two very special young players in [Joel] Embiid and [Ben] Simmons. It’s one of the top 10 media markets in the country. There’s a great history to the franchise. And I think that today’s generation of players has demonstrated a desire to team up … they have two-thirds of the equation here. They need a third or possibly a fourth. I think it’s going to be very attractive to a lot of players.”

Falk said Brand showed he can handle the job through the amount of effort he put into running the organization’s G League team in Delaware last season.

There’s more today from Philadelphia:

  • Brand and coach Brett Brown will run the team as partners, owner Josh Harris explained to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers won’t fill Bryan Colangelo’s former post of president of basketball operations, Harris added. Brand and Brown are expected to collaborate on decisions and will report to Harris and the ownership group. “Ultimately, Brett is the on-the-court voice,” Harris said. “Elton is the off-the-court voice. Elton will have kind of the loudest voice off the court, and final decision-making authority subject to ownership.”
  • First-round pick Zhaire Smith underwent a follow-up appointment this week after having surgery in August to repair a Jones fracture in his left foot, the Sixers announced in an email. Doctors are pleased with his progress and he has been cleared to put full weight on the foot. Smith will be evaluated again in four weeks. The team also offered updates on Shake Milton, who has been cleared for limited contract after suffering a stress fracture in his back, and Landry Shamet, who has been fully cleared after spraining his right ankle.
  • Among the topics Simmons addressed at this year’s media day was an upcoming television show based on his life, relays Australian website news.com.au. “Brotherly Love” has received a script commitment from NBC, with LeBron James of SpringHill Entertainment listed as an executive producer.

Atlantic Notes: Milton, Halas, Knox, Williams

Sixers rookie guard Shake Milton was recently cleared to resume limited basketball activities, according to an update on the team’s website. Milton was held out of summer-league action due to a stress fracture in his back. Another update on his status will be provided in approximately four weeks. The former SMU standout signed a two-way contract in late July. Another first-year guard, Landry Shamet, has resumed light basketball activities. The 26th overall pick suffered a right ankle sprain during summer league action.

In other developments from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks have a strong interest in former Magic scouting coordinator John Halas, Ian Begley of ESPN tweets. Halas worked with current GM Scott Perry in Orlando and would likely be added to the Knicks’ scouting department, Begley adds.
  • Kevin Knox doesn’t have his attention set on being Rookie of the Year, as he told Marc Berman of the New York Post. Knox was one of the most impressive rookies in Las Vegas but the Knicks’ first-round forward more concerned with team wins. “I’m pretty confident I can be one of the top rookies. But one of my goals this year is just to win in New York,” he said. “I’m not really worried about winning the rookie award. I just want to win as a team, take road games, play some of the top teams and beat them to make the playoffs.”
  • Robert Williams says his recovery from a knee injury is going well and the Celtics rookie big man expects to be 100% by training camp, Chris Forsberg of ESPN tweets. Williams’ summer league schedule was cut short by left knee soreness.

Atlantic Notes: Bjorkgren, Lima, Bonga, Shamet

Nate Bjorkgren will join Nick Nurse’s coaching staff with the Raptors, Ryan Wolstat of the Toronto Sun tweets. This confirms a previous Wolstat report that Bjorkgren, who worked on Nurse’s Iowa staff in the G League, could get an assistant coaching job.  Bjorkgren was an advance scout with the Raptors last season after being let go when the Suns fired Earl Watson.

In other news from around the Atlantic Division:

  • Power forward/center Augusto Lima is hopeful of signing a contract with the Raptors after having his rights renounced by Real Madrid, international expert David Pick tweets. The Brazilian-born Lima, 26, has been playing in the Euroleague since 2009 and went undrafted in 2013. He averaged 6.4 PPG and 5.8 RPG in 14 games with Liga ACB last season.
  • The Sixers will receive $1.5MM from the Lakers to complete the Isaac Bonga deal, Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders tweets. The Lakers have a 45-day window from July 6 to get that done, Pincus adds. Philadelphia also received the Bulls’ second-round pick in the deal for the 39th pick of this year’s draft. The Sixers are paying $110K to the Nuggets as part of the Wilson Chandler trade, Pincus adds in another tweet. Denver generated a $12.8MM trade exception from the deal.
  • First-round pick Landry Shamet will not play in the Sixers’ remaining summer-league games due to a sprained right ankle, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. X-rays were negative and the 6’5” Shamet, the 26th overall pick out of Wichita State, will be reevaluated in approximately three weeks, Pompey adds.

Sixers Sign Landry Shamet To Rookie Deal

The Sixers have now locked up both of their 2018 first-round picks, announcing today in a press release that they’ve signed Landry Shamet to his rookie contract. The club previously made it official with Zhaire Smith.

Shamet, a 6’4″ guard, entered the 2018 NBA draft after averaging 14.9 PPG, 5.2 APG, and 3.2 RPG with a .489/.442/.825 shooting line in his junior year at Wichita State.

The 26th overall pick, Shamet will be in line for a first-year salary of approximately $1.7MM, and will earn $9.5MM+ if he plays out the full four-year contract. The third and fourth years of the deal are team options.

The Sixers entered the offseason with 11 players under contract, so with Smith and Shamet locked up, J.J. Redick set to return, and Wilson Chandler arriving in a trade, the team’s roster for 2018/19 is taking shape.

Sixers Notes: Fultz, Smith Trade, GM Candidate

The Sixers’ decision to draft two guards in the first round could mean Markelle Fultz won’t be part of the future in Philadelphia, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The team acquired swingman Zhaire Smith in a trade with the Suns and took point guard Landry Shamet at No. 26, but coach Brett Brown said the selections have nothing to do with Fultz and the difficulties he encountered during his rookie year.

After being the first player taken in the 2017 draft, Fultz missed much of the season with a shoulder injury and an unexplained problem with his shooting motion. Fultz is still limited to “foundational-type” shooting drills, according to Pompey, and probably won’t join the Sixers for summer league.

The front office insists it isn’t trying to trade Fultz, but Pompey cites a report of internal discussions about moving him, along with the two first-rounders, in an effort to obtain a top five pick. Several league sources also say Fultz was available for a deal, but his performance as a rookie makes it difficult to get anything of value in return.

There’s more this morning out of Philadelphia:

  • Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated offers an inside look at the draft night deal that sent Smith to Philadelphia and Mikal Bridges to Phoenix. The Sixers turned down several offers from the Suns prior to the deal coming together just before Phoenix made its selection at No. 16. Bridges had a private workout in Philadelphia and Smith participated in two group workouts, and the Sixers considered them “1A” and “1B” as prospects who might be available with the 10th pick. When Smith fell all the way to 16th, Philly reconsidered, seeing an opportunity to stock up on future picks.
  • Brown would like to see the Sixers hire someone already in the organization as the next GM, Pompey writes in a separate story. The top internal candidate is believed to be Marc Eversley, who serves as vice president of player personnel. “I don’t think we need an overhaul,” Brown said. “We’re in deep on this. We have ways we do business. So somewhere out there, we’ll find the balance of those things that I said, and I’m sure that I’ll have a voice in the selection of the next general manager.”
  • Brown compares Smith to Spurs star Kawhi Leonard, another player who was traded on draft night, Pompey notes in another piece. Leonard is Smith’s favorite player and could wind up being a teammate if the cards fall right for the Sixers. “I think somebody said we have the same shooting mechanics,” Smith said. “So I try to do whatever move he does to get his shot off. I try to learn that.”

Draft Rumors: Top 6, Bulls, Kings, Sixers, Suns

The Mavericks, Bulls, Cavaliers, and Clippers are among the teams still exploring the possibility of moving up in the draft lottery, league sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). Wojnarowski adds that the Sixers‘ pick (No. 10) is in play for teams targeting Shai Gilgeous-Alexander.

Wojnarowski currently believes that Deandre Ayton (Suns), Marvin Bagley III (Kings), Luka Doncic (Hawks), Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba (Mavericks), and Trae Young (Magic) are the most likely selections (Twitter link). Interestingly, the Grizzlies are the only team Wojnarowski doesn’t mention in his rundown, suggesting the No. 4 pick is still the most likely selection at the top to be traded.

If the top six plays out like that and Chicago doesn’t trade up, the Bulls would likely opt for Wendell Carter Jr. over Michael Porter Jr., tweets K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune.

Here are several more rumors worth passing along as draft night nears…

  • Kings beat reporter James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area (Twitter link) is also getting the vibe out of Sacramento that Marvin Bagley III is the club’s likely choice at No. 2.
  • Sam Amick of USA Today (Twitter link) is hearing some buzz linking Zhaire Smith to the Sixers at No. 10.
  • Although the Heat are exploring opportunities to trade into the first round of tonight’s draft, it’s hard to imagine the club completing a deal for a first-round pick unless it can shed a veteran salary, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald.
  • The Suns, who hold Miami’s pick at No. 16, are eyeing Donte DiVincenzo, Zhaire Smith, Jalen Brunson, Aaron Holiday, Lonnie Walker, Troy Brown, Elie Okobo, and Landry Shamet at that spot, per John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 (Twitter link).
  • NBA teams have been impressed with Michael Porter Jr. in interviews, but the club that picks him will have to be “ultra-cautious” with his health, according to Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today, who suggests (via Twitter) that sitting Porter for a good chunk of 2018/19 is a real possibility.

Draft Workouts: Sixers, Grizzlies, Pacers, Hornets, T-Wolves

The Sixers will host Kentucky forward Kevin Knox and Texas Tech guard Zhaire Smith for the second time on Tuesday, according to a team release. Knox’s workout will be separate from the other six players they will bring in, including Smith. The Sixers hold the No. 10 selection in the lottery. Knox is currently ranked No. 9 by ESPN’s Jonathan Givony, while Smith is slotted at No. 16.

The other members of the group workout are all guards, including B.J. Johnson (La Salle), De’Anthony Melton (USC), Tyler Nelson (Fairfield), Malik Newman (Kansas) and Landry Shamet (Wichita State). Melton (No. 24, Givony) is a possibility for the Sixers with their other first-rounder at No. 26.

We have numerous other draft workouts to pass along:

Draft Updates: Green Room, Sexton, Gilgeous-Alexander, Shamet

The names of several green room invitees for Thursday night’s draft have been leaked, relays Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Only college players will be in the room this year, as Luka Doncic is still involved with his season for Real Madrid.

The projected top picks will be well represented with Arizona’s Deandre Ayton, Duke’s Marvin Bagley III, Michigan State’s Jaren Jackson Jr., Texas’ Mo Bamba, Alabama’s Collin Sexton, Oklahoma’s Trae Young, Duke’s Wendell Carter Jr., Missouri’s Michael Porter Jr., Villanova’s Mikal Bridges, Kentucky’s Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Michigan State’s Miles Bridges all on hand.

Joining them will be Kentucky’s Kevin Knox, Texas A&M’s Robert Williams, Miami’s Lonnie Walker, Villanova’s Donte DiVincenzo, Texas Tech’s Zhaire Smith, Boston College’s Jerome Robinson, Boise State’s Chandler Hutchison and UCLA’s Aaron Holiday.

There’s more pre-draft news to pass along:

  • Sexton doesn’t have any more workouts on his schedule after completing today’s session with the Magic, tweets Josh Robbins of The Orlando Sentinel. Sexton has been limiting his workouts to teams in his projected range, as the only others were for the Cavaliers (No. 8 pick), Knicks (No. 9) and Hornets (No. 11).
  • Gilgeous-Alexander is a rare mid-level prospect who hasn’t conducted a single publicized workout, notes Bryan Kalbrosky of Hoops Hype. Although a team or two may have brought him in for a secret session, there are also organizations that tried to work him out but were denied. Kalbrosky speculates Gilgeous-Alexander’s representatives may be trying to steer him to a large-market team like the Clippers, who hold the 12th and 13th picks.
  • The Sixers will work out Wichita State’s Landry Shamet on Tuesday, Kalbroksy tweets, adding that Philadelphia may consider him at No. 26.
  • The Suns held a workout today with Texas Tech’s Smith as the biggest name in the group. Also participating, according to a tweet from the team, were Georgia Tech’s Josh Okogie, Notre Dame’s Bonzie Colson, Wake Forest’s Bryant Crawford, Oregon State’s Drew Eubanks and Bosnia’s Markus Loncar. This is the Suns’ final scheduled session before the draft, tweets Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic.

Draft Notes: Evans, Jazz, J. Robinson, Simons, Lakers

Potential first-round pick Jacob Evans will work out on Sunday for the Jazz, league sources tell Tony Jones of The Salt Lake Tribune (Twitter link). A swingman out of Cincinnati, Evans could be an option for Utah when the club is on the clock at No. 21.

Meanwhile, the Jazz are bringing in several more prospects for a Friday audition, according to the team (Twitter link). Josh Okogie (Georgia Tech) and Jerome Robinson (Boston College), two more possible targets at No. 21, are the headliners. They’ll be joined by Trevon Duval (Duke), Landry Shamet (Wichita State), Kelan Martin (Butler), and George King (Colorado).

Here are several more draft-related notes:

  • Anfernee Simons is generating some first-round buzz, according to Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer, who tweets that the Trail Blazers and Lakers are among the teams with interest in the IMG Academy guard.
  • The Lakers will host another group workout on Friday, with De’Anthony Melton (USC), Yante Maten (Georgia), Gabe DeVoe (Clemson), Peyton Aldridge (Davidson), Justin Tillman (VCU), and Kyle Washington (Cincinnati) taking part, per a team release.
  • The Timberwolves are among the teams that have worked out Boston College guard Jerome Robinson, according to Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News, who suggests (via Twitter) that Robinson has made a good impression on the workout circuit. Robinson currently ranks as the No. 17 prospect on Jonathan Givony’s ESPN big board, so he’s a potential target for Minnesota at No. 20.
  • In addition to Kevin Knox and Wenyen Gabriel, whose workouts were previously reported, the Sixers will be taking a closer look today at Jacob Evans (Cincinnati), Tra Holder (Arizona State), E.C. Matthews (Rhode Island), and Jordan Barnett (Missouri), as Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer relays (via Twitter).
  • Despite the declining importance of centers in the modern NBA, many of this year’s very best prospects play the five, creating some risk at the top of the draft, Kevin Pelton writes in an interesting piece for ESPN.com.