Sixers Rumors

Latest On Jimmy Butler

Jimmy Butler wants to sign a five-year maximum deal with a new team next year, which is why he wants out of Minnesota this season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Butler, who is expected to opt out of his current contract next summer, is limited to four years and about $140MM if he changes teams in free agency. However, his Bird rights will transfer in any trade, so if a team deals for him, it can make a five-year offer in the neighborhood of $190MM.

Butler was hoping for a larger extension offer from the Wolves than the four-year, $100MM+ deal he turned down in July, Charania adds. However, Minnesota was prohibited by CBA rules from offering more than that amount this offseason.

Executives from other teams believe a Butler trade will happen at some point this season, but it’s not clear where he will go or when it might happen. Butler identified the Knicks, Nets and Clippers as his preferred locations when making his trade request, but the Wolves are under no obligation to grant his wishes. Another report tonight identified the Clippers as the early front-runner.

Brooklyn and L.A. seem motivated to try to land Butler, Charania adds, while New York is reluctant to part with draft picks and young players. The Celtics have the assets to make a play for Butler, but don’t need him with Gordon Hayward‘s return from ankle surgery. Charania suggests the Sixers may also check into Butler’s price tag.

There’s more to pass along as teams line up for a shot at Butler:

  • Butler didn’t put the Lakers on his list, reportedly because he isn’t interested in a complementary role to LeBron James, but even if he wanted to go there the team would have difficulty putting together an offer for the next three months, according to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report. L.A.’s roster is filled with newly signed free agents who aren’t eligible to be traded until December 15. The team would need to send out at least $16MM to match salaries and has a limited pool of players to pick from. Lonzo Ball and Brandon Ingram would give them a combined $13.2MM, but the Lakers aren’t likely to part with two young stars when they can offer a max deal next summer. They could have kept Luol Deng for salary matching purposes, but Pincus states that Butler was never a priority for the organization.
  • The Nets have young talent, a couple of large expiring contracts and their first-round pick for the first time since 2013, notes Michael Scotto of The Athletic. Caris LeVert is considered a core piece of the organization, but Brooklyn may be willing to part with the versatile guard for a player like Butler. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson is coming off his best NBA season, but will be eligible for restricted free agency next summer. Impending free agents Kenneth Faried ($13.76 million) and DeMarre Carroll ($15.4 million) could both be useful to match salaries.
  • The Heat would love to acquire Butler, but may not have the assets to make a deal work, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Goran Dragic, Tyler Johnson and Hassan Whiteside could all be traded one-for-one for Butler, adds Anthony Chiang of The Herald, but he states that Minnesota will be looking for younger talent such as Josh Richardson, Justise Winslow and Bam Adebayo.
  • Oddsmaker Bovada lists the Timberwolves as 3/2 favorites to still have Butler when the season starts, relays Sean Highkin of Bleacher Report (Twitter link). The Sixers are next in line at 11/4, followed by the Knicks at 15/4, the Lakers at 5/1 and the Nets and Celtics each at 15/2.

Sixers Notes: Brand, Fultz, M. Williams

The Sixers are staying in-house with their new general manager pick, as former NBA big man Elton Brand will receive a promotion to replace Bryan Colangelo. Although elevating an internal candidate may seem like a safe choice, it’s a risk for the 76ers, who are giving significant responsibility to an executive who retired as a player less than two years ago, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic and Tom Ziller of SBNation.com write. People within the organization have raved about Brand’s work ethic since he was hired, but he lacks the front office experience of virtually any other candidate the Sixers considered, Bodner notes.

Of course, Brand won’t be asked to make personnel decisions on his own, and it’s possible he won’t even have the final say on roster moves. The Sixers have talked extensively about their front office’s collaborative approach to key decisions, and as Sarah Todd of Philly.com observes, it remains to be seen what exactly the management power structure will look like. While relying on a collaborative process is fine, “collaborative won’t work forever,” according to Todd, who points out that someone will have to take responsibility for the team’s moves at some point — especially if those moves don’t pan out.

Here’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • While Brand’s promotion may have come as a bit of a surprise, it was welcome news for multiple Sixers players, some of whom played with the former No. 1 pick, per Keith Pompey of Philly.com. “Since we were teammates, I have always been so impressed with EB’s work ethic and professionalism,” T.J. McConnell said. “I’m really happy for him, and I know he’ll carry those same traits into his new job.”
  • Markelle Fultz remains the biggest X-factor on the 76ers’ roster entering the 2018/19 season, according to David Murphy of Philly.com, who suggests that the team could get a good idea in the coming months whether 2017’s top pick can still develop into a difference-making player.
  • Monty Williams, who stepped away from coaching in 2016 after his wife Ingrid died from injuries suffered in a car accident, was hired as the Sixers’ lead assistant earlier this offseason and feels like he’s ready to return an NBA bench, as he tells Sarah Todd of Philly.com. “It’s a great time for me to get back to full-time coaching,” Williams said this week.” It was Brett [Brown], it was the team. I’ve played here before so I kind of know the culture of the city. Most importantly, my family was ready for me to get back into coaching.”

Sixers Hire Elton Brand As GM

The Sixers have promoted Elton Brand to general manager, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.com reports (Twitter link). The team is expected to introduce Brand in his new role during a press conference on Thursday.

Brand held the role of VP of Basketball Operations while also serving as the GM of the Sixers’ G League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats, prior to landing the position. He made a strong impression on ownership and head coach Brett Brown during the interview process, winning the job over several internal and external candidates, Wojnarowski adds.

Brand, who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 1999 draft, spent 17 seasons as a player in the league, including two separate stints in Philadelphia. He signed as a free agent during the summer of 2008 and spent four years with the franchise before departing for Dallas in 2012. He re-joined the 76ers during the middle of the 2015/16 season, serving as a veteran mentor to the team’s young roster.

One of a handful of in-house candidates to receive consideration to replace Bryan Colangelo, Brand was promoted over fellow executives Ned Cohen, Marc Eversley, and Alex Rucker. The Sixers were also reportedly considering Jazz assistant GM Justin Zanik and Rockets executive VP of basketball operations Gersson Rosas, as each executive received a second interview with the club.

During a media luncheon earlier today, Brown mentioned that Philadelphia was expecting to have a GM in place before the start of season. Brown also indicated that the idea of bringing back Sam Hinkie back in his old role was never under consideration, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets.

Sixers Expect Zhaire Smith To Return Around Christmas

Zhaire Smith isn’t expected to become the latest Sixers first-round pick to miss his entire rookie season, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who reports that the team believes Smith will be available to play in a game sometime around Christmas.

Smith, the 16th overall pick in the 2018 draft, sustained a left foot injury during a developmental camp in Las Vegas this summer and underwent surgery in August to repair a Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal.

It generally takes about six to eight weeks for a Jones fracture to heal following surgery, perhaps with another two or three weeks of recovery time, Pompey notes. However, the Sixers have no desire to rush Smith back onto the court, particularly since the club isn’t necessarily counting on the rookie swingman to be a key part of its rotation in 2018/19.

A source tells Pompey that the Christmas timetable for Smith will hinge on the rookie getting in shape and not suffering any setbacks.

In recent years, the 76ers have had some bad injury luck with several of their top draft picks. Joel Embiid didn’t play in a game until his third NBA season, Nerlens Noel and Ben Simmons missed their full rookie campaigns, and Markelle Fultz appeared in just 14 games in 2017/18.

Northwest Rumors: Butler, Porter, Thunder, Aminu

The Nets, Knicks, Nuggets, Sixers and Lakers are potential landing spots for Jimmy Butler if the Timberwolves decide to trade him before he hits free agency next summer, Frank Urbina of HoopsHype opines. Butler is reportedly meeting with Minnesota’s brass on Monday to discuss his future with the organization. The Nets could offer a package featuring the Nuggets’ top-12 protected 2019 first-round pick, as well as defensive-minded wing Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, while Denver could make either Jamal MurrayGary Harris and Michael Porter Jr. the centerpiece in a deal for the All-Star wing, Urbina adds.

We have more from around the Northwest Division:

  • Porter is trying to return to full strength after two back surgeries and there’s no guarantee he’ll play this season, Christopher Dempsey of the team’s website writes in a player profile. The Nuggets will keep him on the sidelines until they’re convinced the rookie forward won’t have any setbacks. There’s no timetable on when he will be ready to make his debut, Dempsey adds.
  • Defense will be the Thunder’s biggest strengths this season, according to Basketball Insiders’ season preview of the team. The return of Andre Roberson from his knee injury and the subtraction of Carmelo Anthony give the Thunder five above-average-to-elite defenders in their lineup. Oklahoma City’s biggest issue is closing out games but without the chemistry issues caused by trying to fit Anthony in with Russell Westbrook and Paul George, its performances in the clutch should also improve this season.
  • Trail Blazers forward Al-Farouq Aminu and center Jusuf Nurkic have returned to Portland after competing in regional FIBA World Cup qualifiers last week, according to Casey Holdahl of the team’s website. Aminu helped Nigeria go 3-0 during the tournament but Bosnia and Herzegovina went winless in two games despite the efforts of Nurkic.
  • Shooting guard Darius Johnson-Odom has remained in Minnesota to work out following his recent tryout with the Timberwolves, Darren Wolfson of KSTP tweets. He could still be added to the training camp roster, Wolfson adds.

Zanik, Rosas Receive Second Interviews For Sixers’ Post

Jazz assistant GM Justin Zanik and Rockets VP Gersson Rosas have earned second interviews for the Sixers’ GM opening, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

Philadelphia’s ownership group dined with Zanik on Sunday and will do the same with Rosas on Monday. The ownership group will also hold second interviews with internal candidates on Thursday and Friday, Pompey adds in another tweet. The news was confirmed by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Warriors assistant GM and director of player personnel Larry Harris was also recently interviewed for the vacancy, though there’s no indication if he’ll receive another interview.

Some of the internal candidates for the job who were reportedly interviewed this month include former Sixers player Elton Brand, Marc Eversley, Ned Cohen and Alex Rucker.

The organization has been operating without a GM since Bryan Colangelo departed in June amid charges of releasing sensitive information on Twitter.

The Sixers initially targeted big-name NBA GMs and presidents like Rockets GM Daryl Morey, but have since cast a wider net, focusing more on executives who would view the Philadelphia job as a promotion rather than a lateral move.

Dario Saric's Long-Term Role

  • There are less than 10 days until training camp begins. Currently, two Atlantic Division teams have maxed out their rosters at 20. The Knicks, Raptors and 76ers all have one more space to fill. Check out our list of NBA roster counts for the rest of the league, broken down by team.

Central Rumors: Redick, Irving, Brown, Cavs

Sixers guard J.J. Redick nearly signed with the Pacers in free agency, he revealed during a podcast with ESPN’s Zach Lowe. Redick’s comment was tweeted by Scott Agness of The Athletic. Redick stayed with Philadelphia after the Sixers improved their one-year offer to $12.25MM but that was still less than the Pacers were willing to pay. “I wouldn’t have started but I felt like I fit what they needed,” Redick said. “I just envisioned playing two-man (game) with (Domantas) Sabonis.”

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks’ desire to sign Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving could have a negative impact on the Bulls’ free agency plans next summer, according to an NBC Sports Chicago post. The Knicks have reportedly made Irving their No. 1 target in free agency and it’s been previously rumored that Irving and Jimmy Butler might join forces. If the Bulls wanted to bring back Butler after trading him away last summer, Irving’s potential interest in the Knicks could sidetrack that plan, the report adds.
  • One of the officers involved in the Sterling Brown arrest last January has been fired, according to a Milwaukee Journal Sentinel story passed along by NBC Sports. The Bucks swingman filed a civil lawsuit against the Milwaukee police department after he was arrested and tasered for a parking violation. The officer was fired for violating social media policy and not for his conduct the night of Brown’s arrest, the city’s police chief told the Journal Sentinel.
  • The Cavaliers could be more interesting and successful without LeBron James than many people expect, Terry Pluto of the Cleveland Plain Dealer opines. The development of first-round pick Collin SextonAnte Zizic and Cedi Osman will be intriguing to watch and GM Koby Altman will likely make more moves during the season to reshape the team’s future, Pluto continues. Trading J.R. Smith and Tristan Thompson, who have seemed disinterested during the regular season during the James era, would move the process along, Pluto adds.

Spurs Asked For Embiid Or Simmons For Leonard

Before the Spurs agreed on a Kawhi Leonard trade package focused around DeMar DeRozan, they were asking for much bigger names from the Sixers, according to ESPN’s Zach Lowe. (Hat tip to Dale Delgado of NBC Sports).

In his latest Lowe Post podcast, Lowe says Philadelphia turned down San Antonio offers that would have included Joel Embiid or Ben Simmons. The Sixers were reluctant to part with stars in exchange for a player who isn’t guaranteed to stay beyond this season, and Embiid and Simmons are probably untouchable in any circumstances.

Another name that popped up in rumors was Markelle Fultz, whose rookie season was cut short by a combination of injuries and problems with his shooting form. However, Lowe says the Spurs were never interested in the top pick in the 2017 draft.

“There is no evidence that the Spurs wanted Fultz,” Lowe said. “I’ve been told the Spurs never asked for Fultz, and actively didn’t want Fultz, and in fact wanted one of the two big guys.”

Sixers guard J.J. Redick, who was a guest on Lowe’s podcast, defended Fultz and claimed he was poorly treated by the media last season.

Sixers, Lakers Interested In Jamal Crawford

The Sixers and Lakers both have interest in signing veteran guard Jamal Crawford, according to Marc Spears of EPSN (hat tip to Miguel Gargaritano of Clutch Points).

Appearing on “The Jump,” Spears said Crawford isn’t close to making a decision on a new team, but Philadelphia and L.A. are among the contenders. The 38-year-old also had contact with Golden State, but the Warriors won’t have a roster spot to offer if Patrick McCaw re-signs.

Crawford spent last season with the Timberwolves, but was frustrated by a lack of playing time. He appeared in 80 games, but averaged just 20.7 minutes per night, the lowest since his rookie year, and saw his numbers decline across the board from where they had been with the Clippers.

The Sixers have 19 players signed and 14 guaranteed contracts, so they have room to add Crawford. He would bring firepower to the reserve unit and give the team a much-needed 3-point shooter.

The Lakers also have 19 players under contract with 14 guaranteed. Crawford would add a veteran presence to the L.A. backcourt, which is short on outside shooters to help stretch the floor for LeBron James.