Paul Millsap

Sixers Notes: Maxey, Millsap, Harris, Harden

Second-year Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey, who has shifted over one position to starting shooting guard since James Harden joined the lineup, is off to a hot start as part of the new-look backcourt, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The 21-year-old is averaging 24.5 PPG while shooting 66.6% from the floor in his first two games with Harden.

Now that Harden has mostly taken over ball-handling duties, Maxey is able to function more as a scorer than as a set-up man.

“He’s actually playing the position now that he’s played his whole life,” head coach Doc Rivers said. “So in some ways, he’s very comfortable playing the way he’s playing.”

For the season, his first as a full-time starter, Maxey is averaging 17.2 PPG, 4.5 APG and 3.6 RPG, all career highs.

There’s more out of the City of Brotherly Love:

  • Sixers reserve big man Paul Millsap is excited for a fresh start in Philadelphia. Millsap, a four-time All-Star, revealed that the Sixers were the first club to recruit him in free agency last summer, per Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Millsap said the deal that sent him and Harden to the Sixers from the Nets was “meant to be.” Across four games with Philadelphia, the 37-year-old is averaging 5.5 PPG and 3.0 RPG in 11.0 MPG.
  • After the Sixers offloaded Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and future draft picks for All-NBA guard Harden and Millsap, a reduction in touches was in order for Philadelphia forward Tobias Harris. The 6’8″ vet appreciates the necessity of his new role in the club’s pecking order, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “That’s what winning basketball is all about,” Harris said of the change. In his two games played with Harden thus far, Harris has taken a total of 18 shots from the floor, averaging just 9.0 PPG, 4.0 RPG and 3.0 APG. Across 51 total games this season, Harris is averaging 18.3 PPG, 7.2 RPG, and 3.6 APG on .479/.347/.855 shooting splits.
  • Given that Harden has just successfully forced his way off a team with apathetic on-court performances for the second time in two NBA seasons, Tommy Beer of Basketball News opines that several other star players could follow suit, as has been happening for the past few seasons.

Sixers Notes: Maxey, Thybulle, Harden, Millsap

Confirming a series of reports that were published both before and after last week’s Ben Simmons/James Harden blockbuster, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said on Tuesday that the team viewed it as imperative to hang onto Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle in that deal.

“Yeah, they were critical [to keep],” Morey said, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “Tyrese absolutely has the chance to be an All-Star in this league. … Thybulle, I think, easily can be Defensive Player of the Year — after Joel (Embiid) wins it first, he told us. … Both of them, I think, the sky’s the limit. And that’s a big reason why we made sure that they weren’t in this trade.”

While the Sixers were never willing to discuss Maxey, the Nets reportedly pushed for Thybulle, ultimately agreeing to accept two future first-round picks in lieu of one of Philadelphia’s promising young players.

Here’s more on the 76ers:

  • With Harden’s Philadelphia debut delayed until after the All-Star break, the Sixers will only have about a month-and-a-half before the playoffs to adjust to their new-look lineup, but head coach Doc Rivers doesn’t think it will be too challenging to incorporate Harden. “Listen, putting James Harden into an offense is not that hard. It really isn’t,” Rivers said (ESPN story via Bontemps). “I mean, he’s just a terrific basketball player, so you don’t need to overcomplicate it. You know where he’s been great at, you know which direction he wants to go, and so you put him on those sides of the floor.”
  • After pushing to be traded in two consecutive years, Harden has a situation in Philadelphia that’s as good as it gets for him, according to Mike Sielski of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Sielski says that if it doesn’t work out for Harden with the Sixers, he won’t have anywhere else to go, since no other executive in the NBA trusts and believes in the former MVP like Morey does.
  • Although Harden won’t play until at least next week, Paul Millsap made his Sixers debut on Tuesday, scoring nine points in nine minutes. Millsap didn’t get into the game until the fourth quarter, when Philadelphia was already trailing Boston by more than 40 points.
  • In case you missed it, we passed along some of Harden’s comments from his introductory presser on Tuesday, including that he still plans to pick up his $47.4MM player option for 2022/23.

Nets Trade James Harden, Acquire Ben Simmons

8:34pm: The trade is official, according to press releases from the Nets and Sixers. Nets general manager Sean Marks released this statement:

“We are thrilled to welcome Ben, Seth, Andre and their families to Brooklyn. Ben is an All-NBA and All-Defensive player with elite playmaking abilities, while Seth has proven to consistently be one of the league’s best 3-point shooters and Andre has been one of the league’s top rebounders for the last decade. Together, the three will enhance our core by providing versatility and depth on both ends of the floor while better balancing our roster.

“The decision to trade James was a difficult one, however after recent discussions with him and his representatives we felt that this move would be best for all involved, as it better positions us to achieve our goals this season and in the years ahead.”

Sixers co-owner Josh Harris released the following statement in Philadelphia’s announcement:

“James Harden is one of the truly elite players in the league. His career has been defined by incredible personal achievement, including honors as NBA MVP and three-time NBA scoring champion. We’re thrilled to pair him with Joel Embiid and this dynamic roster in our pursuit of an NBA title. I am proud to welcome James and Paul Millsap – a proven veteran and former All Star – to the 76ers, and can’t wait for what the future holds for the city and our fans.”


12:18pm: The Nets and Sixers are finalizing a trade that will send James Harden to Philadelphia, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter links), Brooklyn will receive Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond, and two first-round picks, while the 76ers acquire Paul Millsap along with Harden.

Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that the first-rounders headed to the Nets are the Sixers’ unprotected 2022 pick and a protected 2027 pick.

Brooklyn will have the right to defer this year’s pick to ’23, according to Wojnarowski, who says (via Twitter) the ’27 pick will be top-eight protected. If it doesn’t convey in 2027, it will be top-eight protected again in ’28. If it falls in its protected range twice, the Nets would instead get a 2028 second-rounder and cash.

Although a potential Harden/Simmons swap was first mentioned as a possibility back in the fall, it hadn’t been viewed as something that could realistically happen during the season until the last week or so.

With Kevin Durant injured and Kyrie Irving only partially available due to his vaccination status, the Nets have been in a tailspin, losing their last nine games. Harden had looked increasingly unhappy during Brooklyn’s slide and was said to be frustrated by Irving’s off-and-on availability.

Rumors began swirling that Harden was interested in reuniting with Daryl Morey in Philadelphia, culminating in a report this morning that said the former MVP wanted to be traded to the Sixers, but hadn’t made a formal request.

It still seemed like a long shot that the Nets and Sixers would find common ground before today’s trade deadline, but both sides were ultimately motivated to get something done. Brooklyn didn’t want to risk an unhappy Harden leaving for Philadelphia for nothing as a free agent in the offseason, while the Sixers wanted to resolve their standoff with Simmons and maximize their ability to contend for a title this season by acquiring a legitimate star to pair with MVP candidate Joel Embiid.

Morey, the Sixers’ president of basketball operations, had maintained since Simmons first requested a trade last summer that the team wouldn’t give away the Defensive Player of the Year runner-up in a deal that didn’t bring back an All-Star caliber player. He took plenty of heat for that stance as the Simmons drama extended through the offseason, into training camp, and then well into the regular season, but it ultimately paid off. A year after missing out on Harden when the Rockets sent him to Brooklyn, Morey finally got his man.

Harden can become an unrestricted free agent this summer by turning down his $47.4MM player option for 2022/23 and would be eligible to sign a five-year contract worth up to about $269MM with the Sixers, tweets ESPN’s Bobby Marks.

Harden and Embiid will team up to lead a Sixers roster that still features Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle, both of whom reportedly drew interest from the Nets during trade talks.

Philadelphia maintained through the process that Maxey was off the table, but Brooklyn pushed for Thybulle up until today. Shortly before the two teams reached a trade agreement, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported (via Twitter) that the inclusion of Thybulle was the last remaining sticking point. The Nets ultimately relented on that point.

Simmons’ value took a hit as a result of his poor showing in last season’s playoffs and his subsequent holdout, but the Nets are getting one of the NBA’s best play-makers and defenders, albeit one who still lacks a jump shot.

They’ll also add a sharpshooter in Curry who will fill in nicely for Joe Harris, whose status for the rest of the season remains up in the air due to an ankle injury. Both players on on multiyear deals, with Simmons not eligible for free agency until 2025, while Curry’s contract expires in 2023.

Additionally, the Nets found a new home for Millsap in the deal. The team had agreed last month to trade or waive the veteran forward, who wasn’t satisfied with his role in Brooklyn. The Nets will replace Millsap and bolster their frontcourt depth by adding Drummond, who is on a one-year, minimum-salary contract.

The Nets created $15MM in tax savings as a result of the move, Marks notes (via Twitter).

The Nets will take their time getting Simmons acclimated, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports, who reports (via Twitter) that the former No. 1 overall pick welcomes the change of scenery.He has already spoken to Durant and they’re on the same page, Haynes adds.

Simmons, who said he wasn’t mentally ready to play for the Sixers this season, will continue to work with his therapist now that he has been traded, tweets Ramona Shelburne of ESPN.com. “It’s a work in progress,” a source told Shelburne.

While more deals will be made today, it’s safe to say none will be as impactful as this one, featuring two Eastern Conference rivals who hope to contend for a title this season. It will be fascinating to see how the Nets and Sixers look going forward.

Fischer’s Latest: Nuggets, Fox, Poeltl, Brunson, Buyouts

Nuggets forward JaMychal Green and guard Facundo Campazzo are considered available in trade talks, reports Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Mike Singer of The Denver Post also recently identified Green and Campazzo as two players the Nuggets would probably be willing to move as they seek a defensive-oriented small forward.

The Nuggets’ ability to trade Green could be complicated by his ability to veto any trade that involves him. A source tells Singer that the veteran forward wouldn’t accept a move to a non-contending team.

Here are a few more trade rumors, courtesy of Fischer:

  • The Knicks and Pelicans have held exploratory conversations for Kings guard De’Aaron Fox, says Fischer, whose report was published before New Orleans reached an agreement to acquire CJ McCollum — it’s probably safe to assume the Pels are no longer a candidate to pursue Fox.
  • The Hornets are among the teams interested in Spurs center Jakob Poeltl, per Fischer. Toronto and Chicago have previously been reported as potential suitors for Poeltl.
  • The Pistons remain very interested in Mavericks guard Jalen Brunson, but may have to wait until free agency if they want to make a play for him, according to Fischer, who says Dallas is still committed to retaining Brunson and Dorian Finney-Smith through the deadline.
  • Nets big man Paul Millsap, Kings center Tristan Thompson, Rockets guard D.J. Augustin, and guard Tomas Satoransky (who is reportedly being traded to the Trail Blazers) are considered potential buyout candidates, writes Fischer.

Trade Rumors: Dragic, Noel, Zubac, Batum, Millsap

The Raptors have phoned rival teams to gauge what sort of return they could get in exchange for Goran Dragic‘s expiring contract and a first-round pick, according to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report.

Toronto is known to be in the market for an upgrade at center, but likely won’t want to part with any of its core players in an in-season deal. That makes Dragic’s expiring deal and a draft pick the most logical package for the Raptors to offer.

That framework of Dragic and draft assets was brought up in negotiations for Pacers center Myles Turner before he sustained a stress fracture in his foot, says Fischer.

Here are a few more trade-related rumors from around the NBA:

Western Trade Rumors: Covington, Nurkic, Beverley, Culver, Lakers

Of the veteran Trail Blazers who are candidates to be traded by the February 10 deadline, Robert Covington has been described as the most likely one to be moved, says Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report. Ben McLemore‘s name has also emerged in recent trade discussions, Fischer adds.

Conversely, there doesn’t seem to be any momentum toward a trade involving Blazers center Jusuf Nurkic, according to Fischer. Marc Stein said something similar in a recent Spotify Greenroom session, suggesting he hasn’t heard Nurkic’s name mentioned much in his recent conversations with teams. Stein gets the sense there’s not a “huge amount” of interest in the veteran center (hat tip to HoopsHype).

Nurkic himself recently told Jason Quick of The Athletic that he doesn’t think he’ll be traded this season. If the latest reports from Fischer and Stein are accurate, he may be right.

Here are a few more items from around the Western Conference:

  • The Timberwolves are exploring some possible trade avenues involving Patrick Beverley ahead of his upcoming free agency, Fischer reports. Responding to that report, Minnesota-based reporters Darren Wolfson of 5 Eyewitness News and Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter links) said that head of basketball operations Sachin Gupta is casting a wide net and is willing to discuss anyone besides Karl-Anthony Towns and Anthony Edwards. However, neither Wolfson nor Krawczynski expects Beverley to be traded.
  • The Grizzlies aren’t considered likely to make any major moves at the trade deadline, but they may receive inquiries on fourth-year swingman Jarrett Culver, Fischer writes. There’s so much leaguewide interest in wings who can play defense that Culver – who isn’t currently part of Memphis’ rotation and will be a free agent this summer – could appeal to another team, Fischer explains.
  • The Lakers, who continue to shop veteran wing Kent Bazemore, have been mentioned as a potential suitor for big man Paul Millsap if he reaches the buyout market, says Fischer. Brooklyn is still looking to trade Millsap.

Stein’s Latest: Grant, Simmons, Fox, Millsap, McCollum

Some rival teams believe there’s something of a split within the Pistons organization on the idea of trading Jerami Grant, says Marc Stein in his latest Substack column.

Signing Grant was one of the first major moves made by general manager Troy Weaver when he took the reins in Detroit’s front office in 2020, and he’s had a “longstanding affinity” for the forward, as Stein writes. However, there’s a belief that Pistons vice chairman Arn Tellem is more open to the idea of trading Grant before the deadline.

Echoing some previous reporting, Stein suggests the Pistons want a significant return for Grant, who in turn wants a significant offensive role and a contract extension with whatever team acquires him. Finding a trade partner willing to check all those boxes could be a challenge for Detroit, so there’s no guarantee the 27-year-old will be on the move by February 10.

Here’s more from Stein:

  • Teams that have been in touch with the Sixers don’t believe Daryl Morey is bluffing about his willingness to hang onto Ben Simmons through the trade deadline, says Stein. However, clubs are less convinced about reports that De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton are off-limits for the Kings — according to Stein, there’s a sense among rival executives that Fox, in particular, could be had.
  • Paul Millsap is away from the Nets as the team seeks a new home for the veteran big man. Stein hears from sources that Brooklyn would ideally like to upgrade their perimeter shooting in the process of moving Millsap. That could mean either trading Millsap for a shooter or trading him and then signing a shooter using the newly-opener roster spot.
  • Anfernee Simons‘ emergence in Portland has sparked “some of the loudest speculation” that the Trail Blazers are finally prepared to break up their longtime backcourt of Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, Stein writes. There has been no indication that the team is interested in shopping the injured Lillard, so McCollum will be the trade candidate to watch. A Thursday report stated that he has been linked most frequently to New Orleans.

Nets Rumors: Millsap, Brown, Carter, Harris, Claxton, Edwards

Although the Nets are trying to find a new home for veteran forward/center Paul Millsap, they don’t want to just give him away for free or attach an asset to move him, Michael Scotto said on the latest episode of the HoopsHype Podcast.

According to Scotto, Brooklyn wants some sort of asset in exchange for Millsap, such as a veteran who can contribute right away or a future second-round pick. It remains to be seen whether any team will meet that asking price for a player who turns 37 on deadline day and has been ineffective in his limited minutes this season.

Here’s more on the Nets from Scotto:

  • Scotto suggests that Bruce Brown and Jevon Carter are among the other Nets to keep an eye on as possible trade candidates. Brown’s role has fluctuated this season, while Carter has fallen out of the rotation in recent weeks and is believed to be available.
  • Although the Nets have received inquiries on players like Joe Harris and Nic Claxton, they’re unlikely to be moved unless Brooklyn can land an impact player in return, according to Scotto. As we relayed earlier, the Cavaliers are reportedly among the teams with interest in Harris.
  • If the Nets get through the trade deadline with an open roster spot or two, rookie Kessler Edwards will be a strong candidate for a promotion to the 15-man roster, per Scotto. Edwards has started Brooklyn’s last eight games and is averaging over 32 minutes during that stretch, but would be ineligible for the playoffs if he remains on his current two-way contract.

New York Notes: Harden, Irving, Burks, Quickley, Claxton, Sharpe, Mills, Aldridge

The Nets’ two healthy stars had a “breakthrough” performance on Friday, James Harden told ESPN’s Tim MacMahon and other media members. Harden and Kyrie Irving combined for 26 fourth-quarter points against San Antonio. Harden finished with 37 points, 10 rebounds and 11 assists.

“For sure, it was a breakthrough,” Harden said. “(Kyrie)’s capable of doing that at any moment and any point in the game. That’s one of the reasons why we need him every single game, because he’s able to do that, especially with everything that’s going on with our team. But he’s able and more than capable of doing things like that whenever he wants. I think he just tries to get us involved a little bit more, but he’s a special talent.”

Of course, Irving can only play half the time due his unvaccinated status. Kevin Durant is sidelined by a knee injury and there’s no timetable for his return.

We have more on the New York teams:

  • There are all kinds of issues with the Knicks these days, including the lack of production from guards Alec Burks and Immanuel Quickley, Marc Berman of the New York Post notes. Burks signed a three-year, $30MM contract during the offseason and Quickley is on his rookie deal. They’ve tanked during the current three-game losing streak, shooting 22-for-77 (30.6%) from the field.
  • The Nets are reportedly looking for a way to deal Paul Millsap, who hasn’t been able to crack the rotation. That’s due to the increase in minutes for young players Nic Claxton and Day’Ron Sharpe, Brian Lewis of the New York Post writes. That has made it difficult for coach Steve Nash to fit in the numerous frontcourt veterans dotting the roster. “Just a difficult situation that we didn’t necessarily foresee, but here we are,” Nash said. “And Day’Ron and Nic have emerged.”
  • Spurs coach Gregg Popovich offered high praise for two of his former players, the Nets’ Patty Mills and LaMarcus Aldridge, Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News relays (Twitter links). Of Mills, Popovich said, “he’s always positive, a consummate pro in preparing for his job, gives everything he has in every practice and every game, supports everybody on the team and in the organization.” Regarding Aldridge, Popovich said, “LA did all the community things Patty did….He just did it quietly. … He was a great teammate with everybody, a heck of a player.”

Nets Agree To Find New Home For Paul Millsap

The Nets have reached an agreement with Paul Millsap to find a new team for the 36-year forward, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.

Brooklyn will look to trade the little-used big man and could waive him if those efforts fail. Millsap has only played in two of the Nets’ last 17 games. Overall, he’s seen action in 24 games off the bench this season, averaging 3.4 PPG and 3.7 RPG in 11.3 MPG.

Millsap agreed to a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract in free agency to join a championship contender after his former team, the Nuggets, didn’t pursue him. He spent four seasons in Denver, averaging 9.0 PPG, 4.7 RPG, and 1.8 APG on .476/.343/.724 shooting in 56 games (20.8 MPG) in 2020/21.

The Warriors, Bulls, and Clippers showed interest in Millsap last summer, so perhaps one of those clubs might be willing to trade for him.