Sixers Rumors

Sixers Reverse Course On Reducing Employees’ Salaries

Sixers ownership has reversed course on a plan to reduce certain employees’ salaries, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Full-time 76ers employees who earn at least $50K annually were informed on Monday that their salaries would be temporarily reduced by up to 20% as the NBA remains on hiatus, as Marc Stein of The New York Times details. Those employees were told that the new measures would apply to pay checks from April 15 through June 30, with health benefits and 401(k) plans unaffected, says Stein.

Sixers majority owner Josh Harris, whose Harris Blitzer Sports & Entertainment also owns the NHL’s New Jersey Devils, confirmed those plans in a statement today, but indicated they won’t be moving forward.

“Our commitment has been to do our best to keep all of our employees working through this very difficult situation. As part of an effort to do that we asked salaried employees to take a temporary 20% pay cut while preserving everyone’s full benefits — and keeping our 1,500 hourly workers paid throughout the regular season,” Harris said. “After listening to our staff and players, it’s clear that was the wrong decision. We have reversed it and will be paying these employees their full salaries.”

The measures, which have now been nixed, wouldn’t have affected any players. They also wouldn’t have applied to employees on contracts, including members of the coaching staff or certain front office executives, Stein notes. Only “at-will” employees would have been required to accept the salary reductions, Wojnarowski adds (via Twitter).

However, according to Stein, some additional members of the organization had been asked to participate in the rollbacks as well — Sixers GM Elton Brand was among those who had agreed to take a temporary pay cut. Wojnarowski tweets that coaches and executives whose salaries couldn’t be unilaterally cut were initially given until Thursday to agree to a salary reduction of 20%. Per Woj, many were reluctant to give back that money, particularly since their employment situations beyond this summer are uncertain.

As Wojnarowski tweets, other team owners were keeping an eye on the situation in Philadelphia. Those owners were weighing their own desire to save money against the potential PR backlash that such a move would generate. Presumably, based on the negative PR the 76ers faced and the quick reversal that followed, no other teams will immediately enact similar plans.

Sixers part-owner Michael Rubin actually contributed to that PR backlash that helped push the club to change its plans — Shams Charania of Stadium (video link) reports that Rubin wasn’t believed to be part of the decision to reduce employees’ salaries and was said to be “upset” and “outraged” by it.

Meanwhile, before the 76ers’ change of heart, star center Joel Embiid announced that he’s pledging $500K to COVID-19 medical relief efforts in the community and that he was committed to helping Sixers employees who would suffer financial hardship in light of the team’s salary reductions (Twitter link via Ramona Shelburne of ESPN). With the Sixers no longer planning to reduce employees’ salary, Embiid’s financial commitment beyond that $500K for coronavirus purposes no longer appears necessary.

Long Layoff Would Help Sixers

  • The extended layoff will definitely help the Sixers, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer opines. Ben Simmons will have ample time to heal the lower back injury that sidelined him shortly after the All-Star break. Coach Brett Brown will have more time to solve the spacing issues created by playing Simmons, Joel Embiid, and Al Horford together. It also allows Josh Richardson time to rest his hamstring injuries and be further removed from the concussion he suffered, Pompey adds.

Three Members Of Sixers’ Organization Test Positive For Coronavirus

Three members of the Sixers’ organization have tested positive for the coronavirus, according to a team press release (hat tip to The Athletic’s David Aldridge).

Upon recommendation, certain individuals from the organization — including players, coaches and some basketball operations staff members — were tested for COVID-19. The tests were secured and processed privately after consultation with medical experts and the league. All others that were tested turned up negative for the virus.

The latest positive tests adds to the growing fear over COVID-19 within the league and its teams. Seven NBA players are known to have tested positive for COVID-19 so far: Jazz stars Donovan Mitchell and Rudy Gobert, Pistons big man Christian Wood, former MVP Kevin Durant, and three other unidentified Nets players. Earlier on Thursday, it was revealed that a member of the Nuggets’ organization had also tested positive.

Philadelphia returned from a lengthy West Coast trip just prior to the suspension of the season. The Sixers faced the Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Warriors, though there are no known COVID-19 positives among those organizations. They played a home game against the Pistons and Wood last Wednesday, the night that the league decided to halt play over concerns regarding the coronavirus.

Coronavirus Update: Thunder, Sixers, Nets, Testing

The Thunder announced that their players and staff have tested negative for the coronavirus, writes Maddie Lee of The Oklahoman. Oklahoma City was set to host Utah last Wednesday, but the game was postponed after Rudy Gobert‘s positive test.

OKC officials said they followed recommendations of infectious disease experts that all players and staff members should get tested. Jazz players were tested on the night of the game, with Donovan Mitchell also revealed to have contracted the virus, but the Thunder’s tests didn’t come until later.

“Recognizing the stress on the state of Oklahoma’s medical system, the Thunder did not use state resources and chose an alternative path for testing of its personnel,” the team explained today in a press release.

There’s more COVID-19 news from around the league:

  • Sixers players underwent coronavirus tests Monday, multiple sources tell Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. A week ago, Philadelphia hosted the Pistons with Christian Wood, who became the third player to test positive for the virus over the weekend. Sixers players and staff have been in self-quarantine since Thursday while waiting for the tests, according to Pompey, who adds that some staff members still haven’t been tested.
  • The Nets, who had four players test positive, issued a statement today stating that they had players and staff showing symptoms of the virus and obtained the tests from a private company, tweets Malika Andrews of ESPN. “As we learned NBA players on other teams had tested positive for COVID-19, we noticed that several of our players and staff had symptoms,” the statement reads. “Based on this information, and the judgment that all of our players are subject to high exposure due to the close physical nature of basketball, the communal nature of teams and the possibility of an accelerated spread from team to team, our medical experts advised that our players get tested. We sourced the tests through a private company and paid for them ourselves because we did not want to impact access to CDC’s public resources.”
  • The NBA has come under criticism with so many of its players receiving tests that aren’t easily available to the public, so league spokesman Mike Bass offered an explanation to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN (Twitter link). “Public health authorities and team doctors have been concerned that, given NBA players’ direct contact with each other and close interactions with the general public, in addition to their frequent travel, they could accelerate the spread of the virus,” Bass said. “… Hopefully, by these players choosing to make their test results public, they have drawn attention to critical need for young people to follow CDC recommendations in order to protect others, particularly those with underlying health conditions and the elderly.”
  • The Mavericks (Twitter link) and Hawks (Twitter link) both closed their practice facilities to players this week. Players are being told to stay home and engage in social distancing.

Where Traded Draft Picks Would Land If Season Doesn’t Resume

Earlier today, we explored what the lottery odds for the 2020 NBA draft would look like if the regular season doesn’t resume. We’re now applying that hypothetical to another aspect of the draft and examining which traded 2020 picks would and wouldn’t change hands based on the current standings.

Our projections below assume that the NBA will sort its standings by winning percentage in scenarios where teams haven’t played the same number of games this season. Again, this is just a hypothetical exercise — if the season resumes, the order below would likely change.

With that in mind and with the help of our reverse standings, let’s take a closer look at where this year’s traded draft picks would land if the NBA has played its last regular season game of 2019/20.

First round:

  1. Minnesota Timberwolves (from Nets)
  2. Boston Celtics (from Grizzlies)
  3. Brooklyn Nets (from Sixers)
    • Note: Could be No. 20 depending on random tiebreaker.
  4. Milwaukee Bucks (from Pacers)
    • Note: Could be No. 19 depending on random tiebreaker.
  5. Philadelphia 76ers (from Thunder)
    • Note: Could be No. 22 depending on random tiebreaker.
  6. Denver Nuggets (from Rockets)
    • Note: Could be No. 21 depending on random tiebreaker.
  7. Oklahoma City Thunder (from Nuggets)
  8. New York Knicks (from Clippers)
  9. Boston Celtics (from Bucks)

Protected picks:

  • Golden State Warriors (to Nets; top-20 protected)
  • Cleveland Cavaliers (to Pelicans; top-20 protected)
  • Utah Jazz (to Grizzlies; top-7 and 15-30 protected)


  • The Thunder pick would be the one worth watching closest if the season does resume. It’s top-20 protected, so OKC would keep it if it were to move up a spot or two, sending the Sixers second-round picks in 2022 and 2023 instead.

Second round:

  1. Dallas Mavericks (from Warriors)
  2. Charlotte Hornets (from Cavaliers)
  3. Philadelphia 76ers (from Hawks)
  4. Sacramento Kings (from Pistons)
  5. Philadelphia 76ers (from Knicks)
  6. Washington Wizards (from Bulls)
  7. New York Knicks (from Hornets)
  8. New Orleans Pelicans (from Wizards)
  9. Memphis Grizzlies (from Suns)
  10. Boston Celtics (from Nets)
  11. Chicago Bulls (from Grizzlies)
  12. Golden State Warriors (from Mavericks)
  13. Atlanta Hawks (from Rockets)
    • Note: Could be No. 51 depending on random tiebreaker.
  14. Sacramento Kings (from Heat)
  15. Golden State Warriors (from Jazz)
  16. Brooklyn Nets (from Nuggets)
  17. Charlotte Hornets (from Celtics)
  18. Philadelphia 76ers (from Lakers)
  19. New Orleans Pelicans (from Bucks)

Protected picks:

  • Indiana Pacers (to Nets; 45-60 protected)
  • Portland Trail Blazers (to Nets; top-55 protected)


  • The Hawks will receive the more favorable of Houston’s and Miami’s second-round picks, while the Kings will receive the less favorable of those two picks. Those two picks could end up right next to one another, since the Rockets (40-24) and Heat (41-24) have nearly identical records.
  • The Celtics’ pick looks like it will be one of the rare second-rounders with heavy protection that will actually change hands. Boston would have kept it if it had fallen in the top 53.

More Teams, Players Pledge To Support Arena Workers During Hiatus

The list of teams and players who have vowed to help support arena workers who will lose wages during the NBA’s hiatus continues to grow. Here are several of the updates from the couple days:

  • The Bulls‘ ownership group, along with United Center ownership, announced that it will pay day-of-game employees through the remained of the originally scheduled season. The Nets issued a press release indicating they’ll do the same for hourly employees who worked games and events at Barclays Center. A team official said the Sixers are doing so too, tweets John Clark of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
  • The Spurs announced the formation of a fund totaling $500K+ that will be used to pay its part-time employees through the rest of the season. The Hornets also established a fund to assist the organization’s part-time employees who had been scheduled to work Hornets and Greensboro Swarm games through the end of their respective seasons.
  • The Nuggets‘ ownership group pledged to pay its part-time and hourly employees for the next 30 days, per a press release.
  • Madison Square Garden has committed to paying event-driven employees, including those who work at Knicks games, through March 22 and is working to come up with a longer-term plan, per a memo obtained by Ian Begley of The Suns, meanwhile, are paying their employees who were scheduled to work their two home games in March, noting that the staffing for their four home games in April hadn’t yet been finalized.
  • The Raptors said in a press release that they have joined forces with Toronto’s other sports franchises to create a fund for arena and stadium workers. “Being a good teammate means looking out for our neighbours, friends and the people we work with,” Raptors president Masai Ujiri said in a statement. “Through this fund, we all pledge to be good teammates to our arena, stadium and support staff. We want to be here for them, the way they are always here for us.”
  • Following the lead of stars Giannis Antetokounmpo and Khris Middleton, the rest of the Bucks‘ roster has also committed to making donations to impacted Fiserv Forum workers, per the team (Twitter link). Magic center Mohamed Bamba vowed to do the same for Amway Center employees (Twitter link).
  • Timberwolves big man Karl-Anthony Towns is making a $100K donation as well, but his money will be going to the Mayo Clinic, which is rolling out a test to detect the virus that causes COVID-19.My hope is that we can fight this virus quicker and more efficiently by increasing the testing capabilities and availability and Mayo Clinic’s overall COVID-19 response,” Towns tweeted.

Jimmy Butler Confirms Troubled Relationship With Brett Brown

Current Heat All-Star Jimmy Butler, formerly a clutch swingman on the star-studded, title-contending 2018/19 Sixers, acknowledged that his relationship with coach Brett Brown was not particularly great, as he told his former Philadelphia teammate J.J. Redick on The J.J. Redick Podcast With Tommy Alter.

Current Heat All-Star Jimmy Butler, formerly a clutch swingman on the star-studded, title-contending 2018/19 Sixers, acknowledged that his relationship with coach Brett Brown was not particularly great, as he told his former Philadelphia teammate J.J. Redick on The J.J. Redick Podcast With Tommy Alter.

On the podcast, Butler described an uncomfortably tense and silent film-watching session with Redick, Butler, and Sixers All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. “And I told you this as we walked out, ‘J.J., why would we ever go in there again?,'” Butler said on the podcast. “‘Nothing’s getting accomplished. Nobody’s saying nothing to anybody.'”

Butler also discussed having spoken up about the offense in a subsequent film-watching session in Portland that became a hot topic in the national media. Butler suggested the conversation was blown out of proportion by outside observers, a point his former Sixers teammate agreed with. “I don’t know why it got reported the way it did,” Redick said.

  • Daniel Theis, the Celtics‘ starting center replacement for the departed Al Horford, was having a comparable season to his predecessor before play was suspended due to the coronavirus outbreak, according to The Stats Corner of NBC Sports Boston. Theis’ production per 36 minutes has actually been better than Horford’s during 2018/19. Their scoring numbers are similar, while Theis is pulling down more rebounds and blocks and shooting at a higher field goal percentage. The 27-year-old German signed a two-year, $10MM contract with Boston during the summer of 2019. The 33-year-old Horford, meanwhile, inked a four-year, $97MM contract ($109MM if he hits all incentives) with the Sixers this summer.

Christian Wood Tests Positive For Coronavirus

Pistons center Christian Wood has received a positive test for COVID-19, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic. Sources tell Charania that Wood has shown no symptoms of the virus and is doing well physically.

Wood is the third NBA player to test positive for coronavirus, joining Jazz teammates Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell. Wood was matched up with Gobert last Saturday when the teams met in Detroit.

The Pistons released a statement in response to the positive test without identifying Wood, relays Eric Woodyard of ESPN (Twitter link).

“A player on the Detroit Pistons, who is under the care of the team medical staff and in self-isolation since Wednesday night, was tested positive for COVID-19,” it reads. “A preliminary positive result came back on March 14. The health and safety of our players, our organization, those throughout our league, and all those potentially impacted by this situation is paramount. We are working closely with team medical staff, state and local government and public health officials and the NBA on reporting. The individual will remain in isolation and under the care of team medical staff.”

Wood may be headed for a huge raise in free agency this summer after putting up huge numbers since Andre Drummond was traded in early February. He posted 30 points and 11 rebounds against Gobert, then topped that with a career-high 32-point performance Wednesday in Philadelphia.

Sixers players were in self-quarantine as of Thursday and were hoping to get tests for players and staff members, according to Derek Bodner of The Athletic (Twitter link). There’s no word on the status of any of Wood’s Pistons teammates.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

NBA Prepares For Layoff Of At Least 30 Days

7:32pm: Silver confirmed that the duration of the league’s postponement “will be most likely at least 30 days,” according to an interview during Inside The NBA on TNT. When asked if it was possible that the NBA regular season would not resume at all, Silver noted, “Of course it’s possible. I just don’t know more at this point.”

4:00pm: Although the NBA has yet make a formal announcement on an initial timetable for its hiatus, team owners are encouraging commissioner Adam Silver to re-evaluate the situation after 30 days, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link), who says the league is expected to provide an official update soon.

Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link) also hears that the NBA will shut down for 30 days before the suspension is re-assessed. Bruce Arthur of The Toronto Star (Twitter links) was the first to report that preliminary 30-day timeline, stressing that it’s a “minimum” and that the timetable may end up being largely out of the NBA’s control.

A layoff of at least 30 days doesn’t come as a surprise. Mavericks owner Mark Cuban speculated earlier today that it may take at least 60 days for the virus to run its course and for the NBA to consider resuming the 2019/20 season. The Chinese Basketball Association, which suspended its season in late January, is aiming for an early-April return, which would mean a hiatus of over two months.

In the short term, a handful of NBA teams – particularly those who have been in recent contact with affected Jazz players Rudy Gobert and Donovan Mitchell – are self-isolating in order to minimize risk.

In addition to the teams we discussed in that earlier story, the Nuggets and Sixers are among the clubs whose players are being advised to temporarily self-quarantine, per Mike Singer of The Denver Post and Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link), respectively. The 76ers are organizing testing for players and some staffers, while the Nuggets have tests available if needed, according to those reports.

Goodwill reports (via Twitter) that some team owners on today’s conference call suggested that every NBA player should be tested for COVID-19 during the suspension. Given how challenging it has been for the average American with symptoms to get tested for the virus, it’s unclear how realistic it is to expect tests right now for hundreds of NBA players without symptoms.

Latest On The NBA’s Coronavirus Precautions

The NBA’s Board of Governors had a call with the league office earlier today and discussed plans going forward with regard to taking precautions amid the coronavirus outbreak. Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe of report (Twitter links) that the stakeholders have narrowed it down to two main options: play without fans in the arena or have the league take a hiatus for a period of time.

The greater consensus is to have the games go on without fans, Woj notes. The decision is expected to come as soon as Thursday on what the next steps will be.

The Warriors will play without fans in the arena on Thursday. It was reported that playing behind closed doors is expected to result in a “multi-million dollar loss”

The Sixers are among the teams that will continue to host fans, including tonight’s content against the Pistons. However, Philadelphia and other clubs have sent out memos with preventive and restrictive measures fans can and should take.

The Wizards have opted to remain open for business, for now, despite the D.C. Department of Health advising against holding non-essential gatherings of over 1,000 people. However, Washington doesn’t have a home game again until Sunday, so the decision to play without fans isn’t as urgent for the district as it is for other teams.

The NCAA announced that fans will not be allowed to attend games for the men’s and women’s tournaments this year.