Sixers Rumors

Sixers Sign Corey Brewer To 10-Day Contract

The Sixers have filled their open roster spot, having signed veteran NBA swingman Corey Brewer to a 10-day contract, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). Philadelphia has issued a press release confirming the deal.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors’ 10-Day Contract Tracker]

Brewer, who will turn 33 in March, spent time last season with the Lakers and Thunder, but had yet to catch on with an NBA team this season. He was one of several free agents who worked out for the 76ers this week, and it seems the team liked what it saw from the 11-year veteran during that session.

Brewer’s scoring numbers have slipped in recent years, and he has never been a particularly great shooter. In 72 games last season, he recorded 5.3 PPG on .449/.282/.722 shooting. Still, he’s a hard-nosed defender who can provide some energy off the bench — and, considering the Sixers will be his seventh NBA team, he’ll likely be able to adapt quickly to a new system.

While Brewer will occupy Philadelphia’s 15th roster spot for now, his contract will only run through next Thursday, covering the club’s next five games. If the 76ers like what they see from the former Florida Gator during that stretch, he could get a second 10-day contract once this one expires. However, the Sixers may also look to maintain some flexibility with their final roster spot as the trade deadline and buyout period nears.

Sixers Working Out Jodie Meeks, Corey Brewer, Others

The Sixers are hosting a handful of NBA veterans and G League for workouts on Monday and Tuesday, with an emphasis on backcourt players, wings, and shooters, according to reports.

Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer first reported that the club would be working out Jodie Meeks, Corey Brewer, Brandon Rush, and Jamel Artis on Monday. Rush also worked out for the 76ers in December, but this appears to be the first time that the team has brought in Meeks, Brewer, and Artis.

Meanwhile, Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link) hears that a workout on Tuesday will feature G League wings Josh Huestis, Rashad Vaughn, and D.J. Hogg. Hogg was briefly a Sixer back in October when the club signed him at the end of the preseason to secure his NBAGL rights.

The Sixers have one open roster spot and could use some shooting help, as well as some depth on the wing. The team will keep an eye out for trade opportunities and will monitor the buyout market in the hopes of striking gold again after landing Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova a year ago.

However, while they wait for those opportunities to materialize, the Sixers might explore short-term solutions. Philadelphia’s open roster spot could accommodate a player on a 10-day contract, and the 76ers have until tomorrow to make a change to their two-way contract slots if they so desire.

Sixers Notes: Buyout Candidates, Milton, Roster Spot, Bolden

The Sixers are in position to be among the league’s most active teams once the trade deadline passes and buyout season begins, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Philadelphia still has its entire $4.449MM room exception available and can offer players the chance for a significant role on a title contender.

Last year, the Sixers improved their shooting in the buyout market by adding both Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova. Bodner admits it’s hard to pinpoint who this year’s candidates will be, as much depends on how the playoff races develop between now and the deadline date of February 7.

He speculates Trevor Ariza could be a possibility if the Wizards aren’t in contention next month and can’t find a team willing to trade for his $15MM salary. Bodner mentions the Timberwolves’ Anthony Tolliver as another possibility, along with Knicks’ center Enes Kanter and Bulls’ center Robin Lopez, although neither is an ideal fit as a backup to Joel Embiid. The Knicks’ Courtney Lee and the Cavaliers’ J.R. Smith could both provide outside shooting, but Bodner believes the team has a greater need for perimeter defenders.

There’s more Sixers news to pass along, all courtesy of Bodner:

  • Shake Milton is approaching the 45-day limit on his two-way contract and is likely to receive a standard deal soon. However, Bodner cautions that the new arrangement might be temporary if Philadelphia finds a couple of players to add through trades or buyouts. The Sixers acquired Milton’s rights on draft night after he was taken 54th overall by the Mavericks. He has appeared in 11 games this season, averaging 3.4PPG in 7.7 minutes per night.
  • Bodner questions why GM Elton Brand has kept a roster spot open throughout the season when the team is already shorthanded because of injuries to Markelle Fultz, Zhaire Smith and Justin Patton. Brand has claimed it’s to preserve flexibility for future moves, but Bodner notes it would have been easy to add someone to the roster and cut them before salaries became guaranteed for the rest of the season last week.
  • Jonah Bolden has played well, but his shooting issues make it risky to insert him into the starting lineup. Bodner states that Bolden makes the Sixers a better defensive team and provides offensive rebounding in addition to energy and athleticism, but he is hitting just 16.7% on 3-pointers, something opposing teams will exploit, especially in the playoffs.

Schmittel Named VP Of Player Development

  • The 76ers named Annelie Schmittel as the team’s VP of player development, according to a team press release. She will be responsible for creating, managing and overseeing the holistic development and implementation of programs that support professional and personal growth of players, staff and families. She spent the last three seasons with the NFL’s Oakland Raiders.

Sixers Rumors: Scott, Kaminsky, Vonleh, Lin

Of course, the Sixers would get Sacramento’s first-rounder instead of their own if the Kings’ pick ends up at No. 1, but Philadelphia would certainly make sure the pick wouldn’t go anywhere in that scenario. Deveney also notes that the 76ers have thus far kept Miami’s unprotected 2021 first-rounder out of trade talks.

While most teams around the NBA are clutching tightly to their future first-round picks, a handful of clubs appear willing to move their 2019 first-rounders, according to Sean Deveney of Sporting News. Deveney identifies the Sixers as one of the teams, reporting that Philadelphia appears open to trading its own 2019 first-rounder to acquire shooting help.

Of course, the Sixers would get Sacramento’s first-rounder instead of their own if the Kings’ pick ends up at No. 1, but Philadelphia would certainly make sure the pick wouldn’t go anywhere in that scenario. Deveney also notes that the 76ers have thus far kept Miami’s unprotected 2021 first-rounder out of trade talks.

Deveney identifies Mike Scott, Frank Kaminsky, and Noah Vonleh as the sort of players the Sixers might have their eye on, though presumably the team wouldn’t part with its first-rounder straight up for any of those players.

  • The Trail Blazers would also be willing to part with their 2019 first-rounder for help in the backcourt or on the wing, per Deveney. Sources tell Deveney that Portland has expressed some interest in Hawks point guard Jeremy Lin, whom the Sixers and Pelicans have also inquired on. Getting a first-round pick in return for Lin might be challenging, but the veteran guard has boosted his value with a solid season so far in Atlanta.

Details On Jimmy Butler's Objection Of Role To Brett Brown

  • The Sixers still hope to re-sign Jimmy Butler this summer despite the team’s recent drama, ESPN’s Zach Lowe writes. Lowe provided details on Butler’s comments to Brett Brown at a recent 76ers film session, with Butler reportedly speaking up for himself and teammate T.J. McConnell. McConnell, who’s averaging 20.7 minutes per game, also voiced his concerns during the session when Brown asked if anyone else had something to add, Lowe notes.

Sixers Sign Haywood Highsmith To Two-Way Deal

2:14pm: The Sixers have officially signed Highsmith, the team confirmed today in a press release.

8:29am: The Sixers are set to sign G League wing Haywood Highsmith to a two-way contract later today, sources tell Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Philadelphia has an open two-way contract slot after waiving Demetrius Jackson on Sunday.

[RELATED: 2018/19 NBA Two-Way Contract Tracker]

Highsmith, a former Division II standout who played his college ball at Wheeling Jesuit, has been solid for the Delaware Blue Coats – Philadelphia’s G League affiliate – so far this season. In 21 games, he has posted 13.8 PPG, 6.9 RPG, and 2.5 APG with a .450/.394/.680 shooting line.

Mike Schmitz of (Insider-only link) recently identified Highsmith as one of a handful of G League players to watch, noting that the 22-year-old offers “an intriguing blend of physical tools, shooting potential and defensive versatility.” Although Highsmith isn’t a great ball-handler or play-maker, he has a “sound feel” for the game, which should only improve with more reps, Schmitz wrote.

Highsmith participated in a workout for the Sixers about a month ago.

Next Tuesday (January 15) is the deadline for teams to sign players to two-way contracts, and two-way salaries will become fully guaranteed on January 20, so Highsmith appears to be in good position to stick with the Sixers for the rest of the season once he inks his new deal.

O’Connor’s Latest: Spurs, Porzingis, Sixers, Wolves

The Spurs are viewed by front office sources around the NBA as a team with “significant interest” in Kristaps Porzingis, reports Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Porzingis will be a restricted free agent this summer and while the Knicks are expected to retain him, they may be pushed by rival suitors if they’re unwilling to put a fully guaranteed maximum salary offer on the tables themselves.

Of course, as O’Connor acknowledges, San Antonio isn’t particularly well positioned to make Porzingis a lucrative long-term offer. Even if they waive and stretch Pau Gasol, who has a partially guaranteed salary for 2019/20, the Spurs will have about $96MM+ in guaranteed contracts on their books for next season.

That $96MM+ figure doesn’t account for San Antonio’s first-round pick or any other cap holds. Assuming a projected salary cap of $109MM, the team would need more than $27MM in room to offer Porzingis his maximum salary. In other words, even if the Spurs’ does have serious interest in the Knicks’ young big man, they’d have to reshape their roster substantially to go after him — New York’s top competition for Porzingis may ultimately come from elsewhere.

Here’s more from O’Connor:

  • While Jimmy Butler‘s issues with the Sixers‘ offensive system appear real, league sources tell O’Connor that the All-NBA swingman has “developed a good relationship” with Philadelphia stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. On Monday night, we passed along Butler’s comments on Brett Brown and the coach’s system.
  • Karl-Anthony Towns said on Monday that no one saw the firing of Tom Thibodeau coming, and it seems that doesn’t just apply to the Timberwolves‘ players — sources tell O’Connor that the decision came as a shock to many in the organization, and some staffers are “in limbo with no idea about what will happen next.”
  • According to O’Connor, league sources believe Fred Hoiberg will be a top candidate for the Timberwolves‘ permanent head coaching position, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Sunday. However, there have been no formal conversations between Hoiberg and owner Glen Taylor about the job, and the club is expected to wait until the offseason to make any decisions on its full-time coach and general manager. For now, coach Ryan Saunders and GM Scott Layden will remain in those roles.

Latest On Jimmy Butler, Sixers

After a report on Friday indicated that Jimmy Butler had “aggressively challenged” Sixers head coach Brett Brown over his role in Philadelphia’s offense, Brown downplayed the story over the weekend, telling the media that he didn’t believe Butler had crossed any lines. Speaking today to reporters, Butler conveyed a similar sentiment, as Paul Hudrick of NBC Sports Philadelphia relays.

“We’ve been talking damn near every day,” Butler said of his conversations with Brown. “Trying to figure everything out and how we can make everyone work. Not just for myself but for everybody. I’m telling you it’s a player and a coach conversation. I think that if you’ve followed me long enough, you know if I was being confrontational because I don’t think I could hide it very well.”

Friday’s report referenced a specific film session in which Butler’s questioning of Brown came off as “disrespectful,” according to some witnesses. While the 29-year-old acknowledged that he voiced his opinion during that film session, he framed it as an open, honest discussion about how to maximize the club’s offense.

“I think what the whole thing was, I would say with me being here a lot of things are different,” Butler said. “A lot of things that you used to run with the other personnel that was here — I’m a different player than [Robert Covington] and Dario [Saric]. That’s all I was saying, and then other guys had something else to say, but I think in the end it was a positive thing because everybody got what they needed to say out.”

Since the Butler story broke on Friday, some opposing general managers have called the 76ers to ask whether the All-NBA swingman might go back on the market before the February 7 trade deadline, a team source tells Yaron Weitzman of Bleacher Report. However, according to Weitzman, Philadelphia has firmly turned away any inquiries it has received on Butler, who was just acquired from the Timberwolves in November.

Robert Covington Discusses Sixers, Being Traded

Robert Covington, who is now a member of the Timberwolves, heard the trade rumors surrounding his name over the summer. He was aware that the Sixers were in the Kawhi Leonard sweepstakes and asked Brett Brown about the possibilities of him getting dealt.

“I was told over the summer that there was no chance that I would be traded,” Covington said (via Sarah Todd of the Philadelphia Inquirer). “But things happen. I talked to Brett numerous times. At the same time, you saw everything that transpired with Kawhi and DeMar [DeRozan, the main principles in the trade that sent Leonard from San Antonio to Toronto], so anything can happen.”

Covington added that he didn’t find out about the trade from the Sixers.

“I found out on social media,” he said. “It was like five minutes before the team meeting, then Brett [Brown, the Sixers’ coach] called me and EB [general manager Elton Brand] called me, but I already knew. By then it was already out there. That’s how I found out.”

Covington added that the conversation with Brown was “clear-cut and dry.” The small forward was merely told he going to Minnesota in a package for Butler.

“As far as having that respect level, and for how much we’d been through, I would have thought it had to be completely different, but it wasn’t. Considering how much time relationship-wise and everything that went down. … It was weird,” Covington added.

Brown and Covington have been in contact via text since the deal. Brown recently learned about Covington’s feelings on the communication of the trade and indicated that he will reach out to the 28-year-old about it.

Brand and Covington haven’t spoken since the day of the trade. The two have known each other since Brand was a member of the Sixers (Todd notes that the two players had adjacent lockers) and they had a close relationship. Brand acknowledged that things are different now.

“It probably was cold,” Brand said of trading Covington. “I would talk to those guys about anything and everything … and now we don’t talk anymore. With my new role and my new job, it’s tough to make those decisions. The relationship is real, but it’s tough because it becomes transactional. I can see how he would think it was cold, for sure.”

Covington told Todd that he doesn’t hold any grudges. The Sixers will host the Timberwolves on January 15. “I think it’ll be warm, but you never know with Philly,” Covington said of the response he’ll get from the Philadelphia crowd. “One minute they love you and the next, you never know.”