Sixers Rumors

Celtics Notes: Horford, Green, Roster, Walker

The Celtics feel there was tampering involved in the departure of Al Horford to rival Philadelphia, according to Brian Windhorst. The ESPN analyst made that revelation on a Hoop Collective Podcast (hat tip to NBC Sports Boston’s Justin Leger). “What happened with Horford, again from what I’m told, really upset the Celtics,” Windhorst said. “They were thinking they were going to be able to negotiate with him. Talk to him about a new contract and all of a sudden it was like he already knew what his market was and he was out of there.” The Sixers inked Horford to a four-year, $109MM deal.

We have more on the Celtics:

  • Swingman Javonte Green is expected to sign a two-year deal with the Celtics, with a partial guarantee in the first year and a non-guarantee in the second, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe tweets. The news that Green was signing with Boston surfaced on Thursday. Green, who has played overseas since going undrafted in 2015, averaged 10.8 PPG, 4.8 RPG, 2.8 APG, and 1.8 SPG in 22.6 MPG over five Summer League games at Las Vegas this month.
  • The Celtics will have an open competition for the final roster spot, Himmelsbach reveals in the same tweet. Players with partial guarantees and their two-way contract players will try to earn that spot. Guards Max Strus and reportedly Tremont Waters are their two-way players.
  • Kemba Walker received the max allowed for a free agent from an opposing team but the opportunity to join a contender seeking a point guard tipped the scales to Boston, Rick Bonnell of the Charlotte Observer relays. “It really came down to my happiness and how I want to compete night-in and night-out,” Walker said. “It’s a winning organization, and I want to win. That’s what it’s all about. Throughout my basketball career as a pro, I haven’t won consistently, and I want to get a taste of that.”

Sixers Reach Deal With Christ Koumadje

6:01pm: It’s an  Exhibit 10 contract, according to Rich Hofmann of The Athletic (Twitter link).

4:46pm: The Sixers have agreed to a one-year, partially-guaranteed deal with center Christ Koumadje, Michael Scotto of The Athletic tweets. The news that Koumadje would sign a contract with Philadelphia was first reported by Mark Deeks of SkySport, though that was prior to summer league competition.

The 7’4” Florida State alum played for Philadelphia’s summer league team after going undrafted. He played four seasons with the Seminoles and started all 37 games as a senior. He averaged 6.6 PPG, 5.6 RPG and 1.4 BPG in 16.0 MPG in his final year.

In five summer league appearances, he averaged 6.0 PPG and 5.8 RPG in 13.6 MPG.

The addition of Koumadje gives Philadelphia 14 players on the roster, along with a pair on two-way deals. There’s a crowd at center —Joel Embiid, Kyle O’Quinn and Norvel Pelle (who is on a two-way contract) are already on the depth chart and Al Horford can swing over to that spot.

Koumadje is a developmental project who will likely spend most of next season in the G League.

Ben Simmons Confirms He Won't Play In World Cup

  • Sixers guard Ben Simmons confirmed on Twitter that he won’t be playing in the FIBA World Cup. He plans to host camps in Australia and train with the national team, but he won’t take part in any games. Simmons expressed an intention to participate in the Olympics next summer.

Celtics Attempted To Work Out Horford Sign-And-Trade With Sixers

  • The Celtics attempted to work out sign-and-trade deals with the Sixers and Nets for Horford and Irving, respectively, but both teams wanted more draft pick compensation than Boston was comfortable with, tweets Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Turning those free agent departures into sign-and-trades might have allowed Boston to retain more cap flexibility or pick up an extra asset or two.

Simmons’ Extension Includes Trade Kicker, Rose Rule Language

JULY 17: According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (via Twitter), Simmons’ extension would have a different starting salary depending on which level of All-NBA team he makes. Based on the figures Marks provides, it looks like Simmons’ starting salary will be worth the following percentage of the cap:

  • All-NBA First Team: 30%
  • All-NBA Second Team: 29%
  • All-NBA Third Team: 28%
  • No All-NBA spot: 25%

We’ve updated the chart at the bottom of this story to reflect the new info from Marks.

JULY 16: Ben Simmons‘ new five-year, maximum-salary extension with the Sixers doesn’t feature any options, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). That means the deal, which starts in 2020/21, will run through the 2024/25 season.

Wojnarowski provides two more interesting details on Simmons’ extension, reporting that the deal includes a 15% trade kicker and has Rose Rule language that would increase the value of the contract if he earns a spot on an All-NBA team next season.

The trade kicker means that Simmons will receive a bonus worth 15% of the remaining money on his deal if he’s dealt. However, that bonus can’t push his cap hit beyond the maximum salary, so it likely won’t matter until the later years of the contract.

The Rose Rule language is more interesting. Typically, a maximum-salary deal for a player with Simmons’ years of NBA experience (less than seven) would start at 25% of the cap. However, the Rose Rule allows a player who makes an All-NBA team to earn a starting salary worth up to 30% of the cap instead.

Teams and players can negotiate a starting salary between 25-30% if the player achieves certain performance criteria. For instance, Devin Booker‘s maximum-salary contract with the Suns this season would have started at 27.5% of the cap if he’d been named to the All-NBA Third Team in 2019, 28.5% if he was named to the Second Team, and 30% for a First Team nod. It’s not clear if Simmons and the 76ers got that specific in their negotiations.

Here’s what Simmons’ next contract will look like, based on the NBA’s current cap projections for 2020/21:

Year No All-NBA (25%) 3rd Team (28%) 2nd Team (29%) 1st Team (30%)
’20/21 $29,250,000 $32,760,000 $33,930,000 $35,100,000
’21/22 $31,590,000 $35,380,800 $36,644,400 $37,908,000
’22/23 $33,930,000 $38,001,600 $39,358,800 $40,716,000
’23/24 $36,270,000 $40,622,400 $42,073,200 $43,524,000
’24/25 $38,610,000 $43,243,200 $44,787,600 $46,332,000
Total $169,650,000 $190,008,000 $196,794,000 $203,580,000

Eastern Notes: Simmons, Smith, Sexton

Ben Simmons‘ near-$170MM extension with the Sixers may sound like an exorbitant amount for the 22-year-old, but Derek Bodner of The Athletic argue that the deal could turn into a bargain.

Simmons’ 2020/21 salary (estimated to start at $29.25MM) currently places him 30th among his NBA peers that season. Surely other players will sign top-end deals next summer, dropping him lower in the rankings.

The point guard still needs to further develop his jumper to become great, Bodner cautions. However, Simmons has all the tools to easily become a top-10 talent for the Sixers and should that happen, he would be severely underpaid.

Here’s more from the Eastern Conference:

  • If J.R. Smith signs with another team, the Cavaliers will recoup the $500K they agreed to give him for extending his guaranteed date via setoff, ESPN Bobby Marks notes on Twitter. Cleveland waived Smith on Monday.
  • The Cavaliers didn’t play Collin Sexton in Summer League because the point guard didn’t have much to gain from the experience, Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com explains. The level of competition in Las Vegas and Utah isn’t very high and it was much more prudent to allow Sexton to join the team in those locations but not risk injury during live action.
  • The Cavaliers are fans of Jaron Blossomgame, who played for their Summer League team, Fedor relays in the same piece. Blossomgame spent time with the club under a two-way deal in 2018/19 and is a candidate for a roster spot this upcoming season.

Sixers Sign Ben Simmons To Five-Year Extension

JULY 16: The Sixers have officially signed Simmons to his new extension, the team announced today in a press release.

“Ben Simmons is an important piece of our core and he is one of the NBA’s most dynamic and talented young players,” GM Elton Brand said in a statement. “It was a priority for our organization that we finalize a contract extension with Ben this summer. He was Rookie of the Year in his first season, an All-Star in his second and we expect him to continue grow and succeed for seasons to come. Ben positively impacts the game in so many ways and we look forward to continuing our championship pursuits with him as one of our leaders.”

JULY 15: The Sixers and Ben Simmons have reached a deal on a five-year, maximum-salary contract extension, agent Rich Paul tells Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). The agreement had been anticipated after Philadelphia put a max extension offer on the table for Simmons near the start of free agency.

Based on the NBA’s current cap projections for 2020/21, which is when Simmons’ new deal will begin, a five-year, maximum-salary contract will pay him $169.65MM.

The Sixers and Simmons could agree to language that would push that figure as high as $203.58MM in the event that he earns an All-NBA spot next season, but there’s no indication yet that those Rose Rule conditions will be included in the agreement. For what it’s worth, Charania pegs the value of the contract at $170MM.

Simmons, who will turn 23 on Saturday, has established himself as one of the NBA’s most dynamic young play-makers since being selected first overall in the 2016 draft. After missing his rookie season for health reasons, he has averaged 16.4 PPG, 8.5 RPG, 7.9 APG, and 1.6 SPG in 160 regular season contests for Philadelphia over the last two years.

While Simmons is one of the league’s most dangerous creators in transition and can go off for a triple-double on any given night, the Sixers will be looking for him to expand his half-court game and to add a more consistent jump shot to his repertoire going forward.

With a lucrative new deal for Simmons hitting their books in 2020/21, the Sixers will have to take their long-term luxury tax outlook into account when making roster moves. Having made major financial commitments to Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris, and Al Horford too, Philadelphia already projects to be $6MM+ over the tax line for ’20/21 with only 11 players under contract so far, tweets Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights.

Siegel also observes (via Twitter) that Simmons and Embiid are both now “designated rookies” for the Sixers, having signed five-year extensions before their rookie contracts expired.

An NBA team is permitted to have up to two designated rookies on its roster at a time (including no more than one via trade), so the Sixers wouldn’t be able to add a third until Embiid’s contract expires in 2023, unless they trade away Simmons or Embiid. It’s the same rule that prevented the Celtics from acquiring Anthony Davis last season while they were carrying Kyrie Irving.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Community Shootaround: Ben Simmons’ Contract

Ben Simmons has agreed to a max extension with the Sixers which will reportedly pay the point guard $170MM over five seasons, beginning with the 2020/21 campaign.

There’s no doubt that Simmons is one of game’s best passers. His creativity and court vision, along with his size, make him one of the most unique players in the league. He’s also one of the league’s best rebounding guards and puts steady pressure on defenses with his ability to get to the rim. His size, quickness and length also make him an effective and versatile defender.

For all of his gifts, Simmons is also one of the most limited offensive players you’ll ever see. It’s almost unfathomable the way the game is currently played that he’s never made a 3-pointer in his career. He has no mid-range game, either. Virtually all of his shot attempts come within 10 feet of the basket.

When he does shoot beyond 10 feet, he’s doing the opponent a favor. Last year, he made 25.7% of his shot attempts from 1o-15 feet and 10.7% from 16 feet and out, according to Basketball Reference. He’s also a poor free throw shooter — 60% last season.

Despite those obvious weaknesses, he still averaged 17.8 PPG in his second year. And he’s got plenty of time to expand his offensive game. Simmons turns 23 this week and will undoubtedly get better with age.

However, Simmons’ deficiencies are magnified in the postseason and that could hinder the Sixers’ championship aspirations in future years. He averaged just 13.9 PPG and 6.0 APG during Philadelphia’s playoff run last season, which won’t cut it for a max player.

Still, superior young talent is tough to find and the Sixers probably couldn’t risk offering Simmons less without alienating him.

That leads us to our question of the day: Did the Sixers make the right move by giving Ben Simmons a max extension?

Please take to the comments to weigh in on this topic. We look forward to your input.

Tobias Harris Gets Trade Kicker On Five-Year Deal

  • Tobias Harris has a trade bonus in his five-year contract with the Sixers, according to Siegel (Twitter link). That bonus will be worth either $5MM or 5% of the remaining money left on his contract (whichever is lesser). The bonus can’t exceed Harris’ maximum salary.

Al Horford On Wearing 76ers Jersey: "It Feels Right"

  • Veteran center Al Horford broke the hearts of Celtics fans by choosing to sign a four-year, $109MM deal with the Sixers in free agency. “It feels right,” Horford said while wearing his new jersey in a video posted to the team’s social media this week. Horford will help make up a deadly 76ers frontcourt that includes the likes of Tobias Harris and Joel Embiid.