Philadelphia 76ers

Andrew Bogut, Jose Calderon Finalize Buyouts

Andrew Bogut and Jose Calderon have completed their buyouts, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical (Twitter links). Per Marc Stein of ESPN, neither player can sign with a team until clearing waivers Wednesday. While Bogut is likely to join the Cavs, he will hold talks with the Spurs, Rockets, and Celtics before reaching a decision (Twitter links).

Both the Lakers and Sixers have announced the transactions via press release. Now presumed to join the Warriors, Calderon and his agent released a statement commending the Lakers’ accommodation.

“I’m very appreciative of the Lakers doing this,” Mark Bartelstein told Mark Medina of the L.A. Daily News. “This is something we had gone to them and talked about since Jose wasn’t playing much…I’m very appreciative of Magic [Johnson] doing this. Jose’s got a lot of basketball left in him and can play at a high level. But with the Lakers being in a rebuilding state, it didn’t make sense from a playing perspective.”

Joe Vardon of Cleveland.com discussed obstacles in Bogut’s path to Cleveland, noting Houston’s interest in the Australian big man. Following their signing of Isaiah Taylor, the Rockets should have more than $3MM of cap space to offer Bogut.

Joel Embiid Out Indefinitely

Joel Embiid didn’t take part in the Sixers’ shootaround today, and the team is now listing him as out “indefinitely” after he experienced some swelling and soreness in his injured knee (Twitter links via Sixers and Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com).

Coming out of the All-Star break, the Sixers had announced that Embiid would miss at least the first four games of the second half, but it now appears that his absence will extend beyond March 1. The young center is scheduled to undergo an MRI on his knee this afternoon, per Camerato.

For the Sixers, the news comes on the heels of Friday’s announcement that No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons won’t make his NBA debut until next season, having been ruled out for the remainder of 2016/17. While Philadelphia fans may be disappointed not to see the highly-touted duo of Embiid and Simmons on the court together this season, there’s no need for the team to rush either player back, since a playoff spot is almost certainly out of reach — the Sixers are 5.5 games back of the eighth-seeded Pistons, with four other non-playoff teams ahead of them.

The Sixers provided an update on Simmons today as well, announcing (via Twitter) that he underwent a minor procedure – a bone marrow injection, per Camerato (via Twitter) – to stimulate bone growth and accelerate healing. Simmons is expected to resume training by the end of the week.

Andrew Bogut Expected To Join Cavaliers

Andrew Bogut is expected to join the Cavaliers once he reaches a buyout agreement with the Sixers, sources tell Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com (Twitter link). Cleveland is expected to add Deron Williams on Monday and it currently has only one open roster spot, so the team will need to make a corresponding move should it plan to add both players.

Bogut was sent to Philadelphia as part of the Nerlens Noel trade, but he hasn’t reported to the team. He must be waived before Wednesday’s deadline in order to be eligible for postseason play, per league rules. He has spoken to Sixer coach Brett Brown, explaining his desire to play for a championship contender and a buyout agreement is considered likely.

Cleveland is among the five teams which reportedly reached out to Bogut’s representatives. The Spurs, Rockets, Celtics and Jazz were also interested in adding the Australian big man.

Bogut has battled injuries this season, but when he’s healthy, he remains one of the better interior defenders in the league. ESPN’s Real Defensive Plus/Minus ranks him as the second-best center in the league on defensive this season.

Five Teams Have Contacted Andrew Bogut

The Cavaliers, Spurs, Rockets, Celtics and Jazz have talked to representatives for center Andrew Bogut over the past 24 hours, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical.

The 32-year-center has reportedly been negotiating a buyout with the Sixers ever since Thursday’s trade that sent him from Dallas to Philadelphia. Bogut must be waived before Wednesday’s deadline to be eligible for the post-season with another team.

Bogut hasn’t reported to the Sixers, but Charania relays that he spoke to coach Brett Brown over the phone. Bogut said he has respect for Brown and the culture of the team, but he wants to help a championship contender.

Of the five teams in Charania’s report, Utah has a massive financial advantage with $13.64MM in available cap space. That’s enough for the Jazz to claim Bogut’s entire $11MM contract once he hits waivers. Houston made two deals this week to clear cap room and has about $3.54MM open. Boston is $1.1MM under the cap, while Cleveland and San Antonio are both over.

The NBA ruled on Thursday that Bogut could rejoin the Warriors, even though they traded him in July, but so far there hasn’t been any indication that Golden State is interested in a reunion.

Community Shootaround: Nerlens Noel Trade

Many expected the Sixers to trade a big man at the deadline and Jahlil Okafor was the top candidate to be moved. Nothing materialized with Okafor and opposing teams, but Philadelphia was able to move toward having a balanced roster by trading Nerlens Noel to the Mavericks.

The team will get Justin AndersonAndrew Bogut (who is a buyout candidate) and a 2017 protected first-round pick in exchange for the former No. 6 overall pick. The first-rounder is top-18 protected and if not conveyed this year, the Sixers will instead receive two second-round picks. As our Reverse Standings indicate, Dallas would have to put together an incredible stretch of wins in order for to end up as a team with a top-12 record, so it’s unlikely that the pick conveys this offseason.

The Sixers could have held onto Noel, but it would have meant paying him a lucrative contract in restricted free agency or losing him for nothing. Philadelphia has no cap issues now, but GM Bryan Colangelo doesn’t want to start accumulating expensive assets, especially when he understands how much the market for centers has tanked. Everyone knew the Sixers had to make a trade. It hurt their centers’ trade values and having Noel on a long-term, more expensive contract wouldn’t have helped to increase the demand.

Dallas gets a center who complements Dirk Nowitzki and will make a nice long-term on-court partner for Harrison Barnes. The Mavs will have to hand him a pricey contract in the offseason and I speculate that it will be a deal in the $16-$18 per year range. That’s overpaying for what Noel is right now, but it may be an appropriate value for what he can become during the length of a four-year deal. He has the quickness and the defensive prowess to become one of the top rim protectors in the league and the Mavs should be taking chances on players who are just entering their primes.

From the Sixer perspective, it’s easy to get frustrated. More future second-round picks? Another project player? Why did the team oust Sam Hinkie if it was going to continue to use his strategy? Valid concerns, but the team isn’t ready to compete and there wasn’t a reasonable Noel deal that was going to put them in that position, especially with the latest Ben Simmons news.

So our question to readers is how do you feel about the trade from either side? Do you believe Dallas got the better end of the deal or do you think both sides improved? Please take to the comments section to give us your input on this subject. We look forward to hearing your opinion.

NBA Teams Below Salary Cap For 2016/17

At this point in the season, most teams aren’t going to do much with any leftover cap room. Teams are no longer able to make trades, and most free agents still on the market won’t demand more than the minimum.

Still, there’s reason to consider which teams remain below the cap after this week’s trade activity. With useful veteran players potentially hitting the free agent market as a result of contract buyouts, a team with some extra cap room might have a leg up on teams without any spending flexibility.

For instance, if the Rockets and Warriors were to pursue the same free agent – perhaps Andrew Bogut, if he’s bought out by the Sixers – Houston could offer a deal worth up to about $3.5MM with cap room, while Golden State would be limited to offering a prorated minimum salary worth closer to $400K. That’s a significant difference.

It’s also worth keeping an eye on teams that remain below the minimum salary floor, since those clubs could enter the bidding for a bought-out player or could claim a player off waivers. The Jazz, for instance, probably don’t need a big man like Bogut, but if they wanted him and he became available, Utah has enough cap room to claim his entire $11MM+ contract. That would keep him off the open market and allow the Jazz to surpass the salary floor.

Using our Salary Cap Snapshots, let’s take a closer look at the teams below the cap, starting with teams still below the salary floor:

Teams below the salary floor:

  1. Utah Jazz: $13.64MM below cap ($4.23MM below floor)
  2. Minnesota Timberwolves: $12.66MM below cap ($3.24MM below floor)
  3. Denver Nuggets: $11.56MM below cap ($2.15MM below floor)
  4. Brooklyn Nets: $10.21MM below cap ($793K below floor)

Less than a month ago, there were six teams below the salary floor. Since then, the Nets and Nuggets have taken major steps toward the floor, while the Suns and Sixers have gotten above it entirely. That leaves the Jazz and Timberwolves as the clubs furthest below the salary floor.

As we’ve noted in the past, there’s no real penalty if a team remains below the floor — the team simply has to make up the difference by paying their current players a little more money. However, the Jazz and Wolves figure to be mulling other opportunities to reach the floor. That could mean placing a waiver claim or – in Utah’s case – renegotiating a contract.

We haven’t heard any rumors lately about the Jazz discussing a new deal with an extension-eligible veteran like George Hill or Derrick Favors, so that seems like a long shot. But the team does have until the end of February to renegotiate and extend either player’s contract, so it’s worth keeping an eye on.

Teams below the cap, but above the floor:

  1. Phoenix Suns: $9.226MM below cap
  2. Philadelphia 76ers: $8.62MM below cap
  3. Indiana Pacers: $4.14MM below cap
  4. Boston Celtics: $1.11MM below cap

Although the Suns and Sixers have inched above the salary floor, they’re not necessarily out of the woods quite yet. Phoenix needs the contracts of Jared Sullinger and Mike Scott to pass through waivers unclaimed, while the Sixers will require the same for Bogut if they eventually cut him. If any of those deals are claimed, they’ll move to another team’s cap, pushing Phoenix or Philadelphia back below the floor.

Teams that could clear cap room by renouncing exceptions:

  1. Houston Rockets: $3.54MM below cap if TPEs are renounced (largest TPE: $3.33MM)
  2. Oklahoma City Thunder: $3.05MM below cap if lone TPE ($4.94MM) is renounced
  3. Milwaukee Bucks: $1.75MM below cap if TPEs are renounced (largest TPE: $5MM)
  4. Chicago Bulls: $1.59MM below cap if lone TPE ($5.46MM) is renounced

These teams are technically over the cap, but could go under if they chose to renounce their trade exceptions. In some cases, that might not make much sense. For instance, the Bucks and Bulls would have less than $2MM in cap room if they renounced their exceptions. Both teams have trade exceptions worth at least $5MM, so it probably makes sense to stay over the cap for now and see if those exceptions come in handy around the draft.

On the other hand, the amount of cap room the Rockets would have if they renounced their trade exceptions would be greater than the amount of their largest TPE, so it makes sense for Houston to dip below the cap, expunging those TPEs from their books. That would also allow the Rockets to use cap room to sign a free agent, something they couldn’t do using a trade exception.

The rest of the NBA’s 18 teams don’t currently have cap room. That includes the Lakers, whose moves this week took them over the cap by just $316K.

Sixers Notes: Anderson, Okafor, Bogut, Splitter

When word broke that the 76ers would likely end up receiving a pair of second-round picks from the Mavericks in the Nerlens Noel trade, rather than a first-rounder, critics were quick to rule the deal a misstep for GM Bryan Colangelo and the Sixers. However, in the view of Mavs GM Donnie Nelson, the draft compensation isn’t even the most important part of the package heading to Philadelphia — Nelson thinks Justin Anderson is that centerpiece.

“Look, they had an extremely difficult situation,” Nelson said of the Sixers, per Tim MacMahon of ESPN.com. “They were overstocked at the center position. You’re looking at basically the possibility of a couple-month rental, and so I think they did the best that they could with the situation they had. It was really a need position for us, and it was taking the best possible deal they could get. They like Justin Anderson a lot. He is the critical piece, and it was hard for us to give them that piece.”

David Murphy of The Philadelphia Daily News agrees with Nelson’s sentiment, writing – even before the Mavs GM spoke to reporters – that the success of the deal from the Sixers’ perspective figures to hinge on the development of Anderson.

Here’s more on the Sixers, who announced earlier today that Ben Simmons will be out for the rest of the season:

  • The trade market for Jahlil Okafor leading up to the deadline was “much more broad” than the market for Noel, but the right deal didn’t present itself, per Colangelo (Twitter links via Jake Fischer of SI.com). The Sixers GM hinted that the team will probably revisit trade talks involving Okafor at a later date.
  • Andrew Bogut won’t be with the Sixers for at least a week while dealing with personal issues, but that doesn’t preclude the two sides from negotiating a buyout during that time, says Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter links). A buyout is considered likely, so Bogut may never end up reporting to Philadelphia.
  • Colangelo said today that Tiago Splitter is hoping to get back onto the court this season and the Sixers will help him rehab, but the big man – acquired from the Hawks this week – isn’t part of the club’s long term plans (Twitter links via Fischer and Pompey). Splitter will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.
  • Colangelo said today that Ersan Ilyasova will be seeking a long-term deal in free agency this summer, but wasn’t part of the Sixers’ long-term plans, which was why the club felt compelled to move him this week (Twitter link via Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com).
  • Joel Embiid wasn’t thrilled with the cagey way in which the Sixers handled updates on his knee injury, as Tom Moore of The Burlington County Times writes. “I was told I was going to kind of miss two or three weeks, so I wasn’t happy with the way it was handled,” said Embiid, who was announced as day-to-day when he first went down. “I thought keeping my name out there was going to literally have people think about me all the time instead of just saying when I was going to be back.”

Sixers Rule Ben Simmons Out For Season

The Sixers have formally announced that Ben Simmons won’t play this season. General manager Bryan Colangelo informed reporters today of the club’s decision, per Jake Fischer of SI.com (Twitter link).

A report on Thursday out of Philadelphia had suggested that Simmons’ season was in jeopardy after the result of a CT scan showed disappointing progress. According to Fischer (Twitter link), Colangelo said today that the most recent scan indicated that there’s “not full healing in the bone.” The next scan will occur in one month.

The organization has been very cautious with its No. 1 overall pick since he fractured a bone in his right foot in training camp. The original prognosis suggested Simmons had a chance to return with three months, but his NBA debut will instead be postponed until the 2017/18 season. According to Colangeo, the Sixers “will talk about” having Simmons on their Summer League team, depending on his status (Twitter link via Fischer).

Simmons is the third top pick for the Sixers to sit out his entire rookie season in the last four years. Nerlens Noel missed his entire rookie year in 2013/14 due to a torn ACL, while foot problems sidelined Joel Embiid for his first two NBA seasons. Embiid has also been out of action as of late with a knee problem, though Colangelo – who called the injury a bone bruise – said today that the injury is “progressing well.” Embiid is expected to miss at least the next four games.

Season In Jeopardy For Ben Simmons?

A report out of Philadelphia suggests that No. 1 pick Ben Simmons may not play this season. The results of a CT scan that Simmons underwent today showed disappointing progress, and the Sixers could resign themselves to finishing the year without him, tweets John Barchard of Sports Radio WIP.

The organization has been very cautious with Simmons since he fractured a bone in his right foot in training camp. The original prognosis had him returning in three months, but it has been nearly five months since the injury and there is still no timetable for him to play.

A story two weeks ago said Simmons was progressing at a slow pace, although the team wasn’t letting him participate in five-on-five drills at least through the All-Star break. The Sixers are 13th in the Eastern Conference at 21-35, so if this latest rumor is true, there seems to be little chance that Simmons will take the court before the season is over.

Sixers Trade Nerlens Noel To Mavericks

8:48pm: The trade is official, according to a press release from the Sixers. The announcement suggests that if the 2017 first-round pick from the Mavs isn’t conveyed, Philadelphia will receive Dallas’ second-round picks for 2017 and 2020, though that may be a typo — RealGM’s log of traded picks shows that the Sixers would get the 2017 and 2018 picks, as noted below.

11:58am: According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe and Eddie Sefko of The Dallas Morning News (Twitter links), if the Sixers don’t receive the Mavs’ first-round pick this year, they’ll instead receive 2017 and 2018 second-round picks from Dallas. Since that first-rounder is top-18 protected, it seems very unlikely to change hands, so the conditions on the pick make the deal look even better for the Mavs.Nerlens Noel vertical

11:30am: There are still some moving parts to sort out in the deal before it becomes official, according to Jake Fischer of SI.com, who tweets that the trade may expand to involve a third team so that the Sixers don’t have to waive a player.

10:46am: The Sixers are in agreement with the Mavericks on a deal that will send Nerlens Noel to Dallas, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, Philadelphia will receive Justin Anderson and a first-round pick from the Mavs. ESPN’s Marc Stein adds (via Twitter) that the Sixers will also get Andrew Bogut‘s expiring contract.

According to Stein (via Twitter), the first-round pick heading to the Sixers in the deal will be top-18 protected in 2017, which makes it unlikely that it will change hands this year. As our 2016/17 Reverse Standings show, Dallas currently projects to have the No. 7 overall pick, though Noel should help improve this year’s team. Future protections on the first-rounder have not yet been reported.

Noel, who will turn 23 in April, was frequently mentioned as a trade candidate earlier this season, particularly after he publicly questioned the Sixers’ decision to head into camp with a logjam at center. However, the former sixth overall pick had played well as of late, averaging 8.9 PPG, 5.0 RPG, and a career-best .611 FG% in less than 20 minutes per game for the season.

Recent trade rumors had focused more on Jahlil Okafor than Noel, so it will be interesting to see if the Sixers end up moving Okafor today as well. In his full report on the trade, Wojnarowski suggests Okafor is now likely to stay put. However, as Jake Fischer of SI.com notes (via Twitter), the Sixers have been “steadfast” this week in their efforts to move Okafor, so it would be a change of direction to hang onto him now.

[RELATED: Latest on Jahlil Okafor]

For the Mavs, Noel represents a substantial upgrade at center, giving the team the sort of athletic, rim-protecting big man it had been seeking. As Wojnarowski tweets, Dallas has “long been intrigued” by Noel, and will look to lock him up this summer. The Kentucky product will be a restricted free agent, so the Mavs will have the opportunity to match any offers he receives from other teams.

From the Sixers’ perspective, the move represents a chance to pick up a young player and a draft pick while also potentially not having to worry about reaching the salary floor. Anderson has yet to make a real impact in his two NBA seasons, but he’s still just 23 years old and won’t be a restricted free agent until the summer of 2019. Meanwhile, the combined salaries for Bogut ($11MM+) and Anderson ($1.51MM) are worth approximately $8MM more than Noel’s salary, allowing Philadelphia to surpass the salary floor.

However, if the Sixers were to flip Bogut in another deadline deal, that could change the equation, and the team has yet to decide what they’ll do with the veteran center, per Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated (Twitter link). ESPN’s Chris Haynes reports (via Twitter) that Bogut and the Sixers are expected to engage in buyout talks, with potential suitors like the Cavs keeping a close eye on the situation. However, TNT’s David Aldridge (Twitter links) suggests Philadelphia could reroute the former No. 1 pick to another team, with the Celtics as one possibility.

A couple final bookkeeping notes on the swap: Assuming it’s completed as reported, Dallas should have the opportunity to create a pair of trade exceptions in the deal. One would be worth about $6.64MM (the difference between Bogut’s and Noel’s salaries), while the other would be worth approximately $1.51MM (Anderson’s salary). The Mavs should also now comfortably avoid the luxury tax this season, having previously been about $1MM away from the tax threshold.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

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