Buddy Hield

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Hurley, Beal, Suns, Hield, Clippers, Warriors

Appearing on ESPN’s Get Up (YouTube link) on Friday, Brian Windhorst stressed that Dan Hurley coaching the Lakers is far from a sure thing, despite UConn’s head coach being open to L.A.’s advances.

“I know that this has momentum as (Adrian Wojnarowski) talked about, but it’s been emphasized to me that this is not a done deal,” Windhorst said (hat tip to RealGM). “That there is still relationship building and conversations that need to take place that are probably going to take place over the next couple of days.”

A source tells Jeff Goodman of Field of 68 (Twitter link) that Hurley was going into today’s meeting with the Lakers “completely open-minded” and is expected to fly back home and weigh his decision over the weekend.

Here are a few more notes from around the Pacific:

  • Suns guard Bradley Beal underwent a follow-up procedure on his nose shortly after the team was eliminated from the playoffs this spring, reports Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic. Beal, who initially had a procedure performed on his nose after breaking it in January, said in March that he still had to get his septum “realigned,” adding that it would likely happen after the season.
  • Responding to a report that claims the Suns will be among the teams to watch for Buddy Hield this offseason, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 tweets that he doesn’t expect Phoenix to have any interest in the veteran sharpshooter. Barring significant cost-cutting moves, the Suns won’t be able to offer more than the veteran’s minimum to free agents or to acquire them via sign-and-trade, so Hield is probably an unrealistic target to begin with.
  • The Clippers hosted four senior guards as part of a pre-draft workout on Thursday, according to Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN.com, who reports (via Twitter) that Xavier Johnson (Southern Illinois), Tristen Newton (UConn), Cormac Ryan (UNC), and Tyler Thomas (Hofstra) took part in the session. None of those prospects ranks higher than No. 68 (Newton) on ESPN’s big board, but they could be in the second-round mix. The Clippers’ lone 2024 draft pick is 46th overall.
  • The Warriors have officially named Jon Phelps their senior director of basketball strategy and team counsel, confirming the front office addition in a press release (Twitter link). Anthony Slater of The Athletic reported last week that Golden State would be hiring Phelps away from the Pistons following his decade-long stint in Detroit.

And-Ones: Nunn, Hield, Harris, Westbrook, Wagner, Brazil Roster

Former NBA guard Kendrick Nunn signed a two-year contract extension with Panathinaikos in Greece earlier this month, but he’s not ruling out an NBA return, he told Vangelis Papadimitriou of Eurohoops.net. The contract includes NBA out clauses, under specific conditions.

“I’ll be honored to go back. You never know,” he said.

In the meantime, he hopes to bring multiple EuroLeague titles to his current team. Nunn was named to the All-EuroLeague First Team in his first season with the club.

“To play here with one of the biggest clubs in Europe. Playing at a high level. With great guys in the locker room that I enjoy playing with and bonding. It wasn’t hard. I love Panathinaikos and Greece,” he said.

We have more from around the basketball world:

  • Which impending free agents hurt their stock during the postseason? HoopsHype’s Frank Urbina identifies four players — Buddy Hield, Tobias Harris, Russell Westbrook and Moritz Wagner — who fall in that category. Westbrook has the ability to exercise a player option for next season, while Wagner’s deal includes a team option.
  • Brazil has announced a roster of 17 players for its Olympic qualifier tournament in Riga, Latvia. The roster will eventually be pared to 12 players. Gui Santos, who played 23 games with the Warriors as a rookie this season, made the list. Raul Neto, Cristiano Felicio, Didi Louzada and Bruno Caboclo are among former NBA players who are also on the preliminary roster, Sportando relays.
  • In case you missed it, Taylor Jenkins, Willie Green and Chauncey Billups top the list of coaches on the hot seat next season.

Sixers’ Morey Vows To Shake Up Roster In “Big” Offseason

Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey confirmed during a Monday press conference that he’ll be busy reworking his roster this summer, Dan Gelston of The Associated Press reports.

“We’re not going to have continuity,” Morey said. “We’ll have continuity with our stars and our head coach but we’re going to have a lot of changes this season.”

Morey feels the heat to build a championship roster around his two stars.

This offseason’s a big one,” Morey said. “I owe it to the fans, to ownership, to everybody, to get this team in a place where we’re competing for championships. We obviously didn’t achieve it this year.”

Joel Embiid is the only two player with a guaranteed contract beyond this season. Tyrese Maxey will be a restricted free agent and is expected to sign a maximum-salary contract.

Beyond that, everything is up for grabs. Morey could have $65MM in cap space to wheel and deal, along with signing free agents. He’s not against signing an aging star, such as Paul George, if one becomes available in the free agent market.

“You have to factor in the age,” Morey said. “We feel like we’re in the window where we have to win now. We’re mostly focused on getting the best players that fit with Joel and Tyrese.”

Morey has some regrets regarding this season, namely that he didn’t have a deep enough roster. The Sixers slid down the standings when Embiid was sidelined for two months after undergoing knee surgery. He wasn’t close to 100% in the postseason when Philadelphia lost to New York in the opening round.

“It can’t be a big focus, how we play without him. We know that team can’t win a championship,” Morey said. “It’s really, how do we manage through it better? I felt like, on me, the depth wasn’t quite there when he was out to win at the level we wanted to win at.”

Here are some other notable tidbits from Morey’s press conference:

  • His top priority is to find a wing “who can play and deliver at a high level in the playoffs,” Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic tweets.
  • Coach Nick Nurse will be retained. Reserves Paul Reed and Ricky Council IV are also expected to be back, even though their salaries are not guaranteed, Vorkunov adds.
  • Though he hasn’t ruled out re-signing Buddy Hield, who was acquired from Indiana at the trade deadline, Morey admitted that “the fit was less good than I thought,” per Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports (Twitter link). Hield played sparingly in the first round until Game 6, when he scored 20 points in 21 minutes.
  • Maxey’s performances during the regular season and playoffs proved to Morey that he can be the second-best player on a title team, Vorkunov relays in another tweet. “That belief went from high to we’re certain at this point that he can do that,” he said.

Sixers Rumors: Maxey, Reed, Offseason Targets, Harris, Hield, Oubre

While the Sixers are disappointed by how quickly their playoff run ended this spring, there are reasons for optimism going forward. For one, guard Tyrese Maxey showed this season that he’s an impact player capable of becoming a legitimate second star alongside center Joel Embiid, according to Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

“He was amazing this year,” Embiid said of his teammate, per Mizell. “One of the 10 best players in the world this year. … He’s gotten so much better. I think there’s another step he can even take.”

Maxey will be a restricted free agent this summer, but that’s just a technicality — he will count against the Sixers’ cap for just $13MM until he signs his new contract. After using up their cap room, the 76ers will be able to go over the cap to lock him up to a maximum-salary deal that projects to be worth at least $35MM in 2024/25 — or up to $42.3MM if Maxey makes an All-NBA team.

Because the Sixers didn’t win a playoff series, Paul Reed‘s $7.7MM salary for ’24/25 will remain non-guaranteed, which means the club could potentially enter free agency with only Embiid’s salary ($51.4MM) and Maxey’s $13MM cap hold counting toward team salary. According to ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link), Philadelphia could have up to $64.9MM in cap room with just those two players on the books. That number would be closer to $55MM if the 76ers retain Reed and their first-round pick.

What might the Sixers do what that cap room? Sources tell Bontemps that Jrue Holiday was a top target until he signed an extension in Boston. OG Anunoby is also on their wish list, per Bontemps, though he’s considered likely to re-sign with the Knicks. Appearing on ESPN’s Get Up (Twitter video link), Brian Windhorst identified Paul George as Philadelphia’s No. 1 priority and said he thinks the team will make George a maximum-salary offer, assuming he hasn’t re-upped with the Clippers before free agency.

If no top-tier free agents are available, Daryl Morey and the Sixers figure to turn to their trade market, since they’ll have several first-round picks available to move and won’t have to send out matching salary. Windhorst mentions Heat swingman Jimmy Butler and Pelicans forward Brandon Ingram as a pair of possible trade targets for the Sixers.

On the other hand, it’s not necessarily a star-or-bust summer for Philadelphia, according to Bontemps, who says one other potential path for the club would be to pursue a series of role players who complement Embiid and Maxey, like the Nuggets have done around Nikola Jokic and Jamal Murray. In that scenario, the Sixers could explore re-signing a few of their own free agents, such as Kelly Oubre, De’Anthony Melton, Nicolas Batum, and/or Kyle Lowry. League sources expect Tobias Harris to be playing elsewhere next season though, per Bontemps.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • A reunion with Butler feels like a long shot, but David Aldridge of The Athletic argues that the former Sixer is exactly the kind of “alpha” the team needs to complement Embiid and Maxey. Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald (Twitter link) suggests that he can’t imagine the Heat accepting a trade package heavy on draft assets for Butler unless they planned to flip those assets for another star.
  • Bobby Marks of ESPN (Insider link) and Mark Deeks of HoopsHype shared their Sixers offseason previews, taking a closer look at the decisions facing the franchise.
  • Veteran sharpshooter Buddy Hield, who will be an unrestricted free agent, said that he would like to return to Philadelphia, tweets Mizell. Hield scored 20 points in 21 minutes in Game 6 on Thursday but had only scored two points and had a pair of DNP-CDs in the five playoff games before that.
  • Oubre also expressed interest in re-signing with the Sixers, suggesting that he feels like he has “unfinished business” after the first-round loss. “I just wanna be loved,” Oubre said of his priorities in free agency, according to Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire. “I don’t know about the business side of it. I mean, I do, but I can’t tell you what I know because I represent myself right now. At the end of the day, I wanna go somewhere where they respect and they love me. It’s been nothing but love here, of course.”
  • Taking a bigger-picture view, Danny Chau of The Ringer considers what another early playoff exit means for Embiid and his legacy.

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Oubre, Hield, Payne

The toughness that Joel Embiid displayed in Game 3 will have to continue for the Sixers to have any chance to win their series with New York, writes Marcus Hayes of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Despite dealing with the pain of a surgically repaired left knee and the difficulties brought on by a mild case of Bell’s palsy, Embiid set a career playoff high with 50 points in Thursday’s crucial victory.

With two days to rest before the series resumes Sunday, Embiid is embracing the challenges of playoff basketball, no matter what physical ailments he has to overcome.

“I want to play as much as possible. I only have about, maybe, eight years left. So I have to enjoy this as much as possible and I want to win,” he said. “I’m just trying to keep pushing. I’m not going to quit. If it’s on one leg, I’m still going to go out there and try, but that’s not an excuse. Got to keep playing better, and better, and better.”

After Game 3, Embiid called the Bell’s palsy “an unfortunate situation” and told reporters, including Tim Bontemps of ESPN, that it started with migraine headaches shortly before Philadelphia’s play-in game last week. He explained that the condition sometimes causes blurred vision, and he frequently has to put drops in left eye to keep it from drying out.

“It’s pretty annoying, you know, with the left side of my face, my mouth and my eye. So yeah, it’s been tough,” Embiid said. “But I’m not a quitter, so gotta keep fighting. But yeah, it’s unfortunate. That’s the way I look at it. But it’s not an excuse. Gotta keep pushing.”

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Kelly Oubre responded to the Knickscomplaints about officiating after Game 3, per Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire. In addition to a free throw disparity, New York players were upset about a Flagrant 1 foul that Embiid committed when he grabbed Mitchell Robinson‘s leg, with Donte DiVincenzo calling it a “dirty play.” Oubre said he has been on the receiving end of that type of contact and doesn’t consider it dirty. He also called for a focus on basketball instead of threats of retaliation. “It’s like, let’s just hoop,” Oubre said at today’s practice. “Let’s go out there and play hard and nobody’s gonna fight. This ain’t WWE. So at the end of the day, stand on the stuff that’ll say so we’ll see tomorrow how they react.”
  • Philadelphia police are conducting an internal investigation into whether Oubre received preferential treatment following his auto accident early Tuesday morning, tweets Michael J. Babcock of TMZ Sports. Oubre, who is accused of running a red light and hitting another car, wasn’t cited or given a sobriety test or breathalyzer.
  • Buddy Hield played just four minutes in Game 3 and appears to have been replaced in the rotation by Cameron Payne, notes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Hield didn’t get off the bench after the first quarter, while Payne contributed 11 points and three assists in nearly 16 minutes. Hield has been a disappointment since being acquired from Indiana at the deadline, and Pompey suggests the Sixers would probably rather have Marcus Morris, who was shipped to San Antonio in the three-team trade.

Sixers Notes: Harris, Melton, Batum, Hield

The Sixers and veteran forward Tobias Harris are expected to part ways once the 2023/24 season concludes, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Harris, who averaged 17.2 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3.1 APG and 1.0 SPG on .487/.353/.878 shooting in 70 regular season games, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

“Several” league executives believe the Pistons could pursue Harris, who had a previous stint with Detroit, but the 31-year-old is expected to draw interest from a variety of suitors, Pompey reports.

As Pompey writes, Harris wasn’t at his best in Philadelphia’s play-in victory over Miami on Wednesday, recording just nine points (on 40% shooting), though he did grab 10 rebounds and dish out four assists in nearly 32 minutes. Many of his teammates struggled on offense as well, Pompey notes.

Harris was benched for the final four-plus minutes of the fourth quarter, which head coach Nick Nurse primarily chalked up to exhaustion (Twitter video link PHLY Sixers). Nurse said the 76ers will likely choose between “six or seven guys” — including Harris — for closing lineups in their first-round series vs. New York.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • De’Anthony Melton did not practice on Friday and will not play in Saturday’s Game 1, but Nurse said the 25-year-old has not been ruled out for the entire series, per Derek Bodner of PHLY Sports (Twitter link). Melton, who is another of Philadelphia’s many impending free agents, has been limited to just five games since January 12 due to a lumbar spine injury.
  • As Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic details, Philadelphia pushed for Nicolas Batum to be included in the James Harden trade with the Clippers back in November, and the veteran swingman showed how valuable he can be on both ends of the court in Wednesday’s victory. The 35-year-old scored 20 points, including 17 in the second half, and had a key block on Tyler Herro‘s three-point attempt with 26 seconds remaining. Batum is playing on an expiring $11.7MM contract and is set to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason.
  • He is only credited for 84, since the NBA doesn’t officially include the in-season tournament final or play-in games, but sharpshooter Buddy Hield holds the unusual distinction of playing 86 games this season before making the playoffs for the first time in his career, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Hield, who was acquired from Indiana at the trade deadline, has been the league’s most durable player during his eight NBA seasons, Bontemps notes. The Bahamian guard will be an unrestricted free agent in 2024.

Atlantic Notes: Thomas, Hield, Holiday, Quickley

Third-year Nets shooting guard Cam Thomas is hoping to show the league at large that he is capable of being a two-way force in the NBA, reports C.J. Holmes of The New York Daily News.

“My numbers are up there with some of the best of them, honestly,” Thomas told Holmes. “Mine are just overlooked because not that many people know me, I’m not the most vocal, talking and all that stuff. But if you just look at my numbers, my numbers are up there with some of the best of them… I think I just go under the radar a little bit because I’m not really on social media as much.”

Across 66 bouts this season (51 starts), the 6’4″ wing out of LSU posted a career-high 22.5 points per game on .442/.364/.856 shooting, along with 3.2 RPG, 2.9 APG and 0.7 SPG.

“I feel like I have so much more room to grow,” Thomas said. “I just want people to see that I have the potential to do that instead of just trying to keep me low.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers shooting guard Buddy Hield is nearing his first-ever playoffs, writes Keith Smith of Spotrac (Twitter link). Philadelphia still needs to advance beyond the play-in tournament to officially make the playoffs, however. As Smith notes, Hield is currently the active player with the most games played who has yet to appear in the playoffs. His 631 regular season contests represent the fourth-most ever for a player without a single playoff appearance.
  • Further details have emerged regarding Celtics combo guard Jrue Holiday‘s lucrative new contract extension, Smith tweets. It’s a fully-guaranteed, four-year, $134.4MM deal, which will not include any bonuses or incentives. The two-time All-Star will earn $30MM in his first season under this new contract (2024/25), and $37.2MM in his last (2027/28).
  • Newly-acquired Raptors guard Immanuel Quickley will be a restricted free agent this summer and is comfortable with the idea of sticking with his new team going forward. “Obviously the team and my agent have to handle everything but I love being here in Toronto,” Quickley said, per Josh Lewenberg of TSN.ca (Twitter link). “Since the day I got here they’ve done nothing but show me love.”

Sixers Notes: Oubre, Embiid, Hield, Harris, Melton, Covington

Sixers small forward Kelly Oubre Jr. is reveling in Philadelphia’s new outlook on playoff life with the return of superstar center Joel Embiid, per Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

“It’s like the first day of school again,” Oubre said after the team beat the Thunder 109-105 Tuesday, in part thanks to Embiid’s 24-point, seven-assist, six-rebound night. “You’re kind of coming back from spring break or winter break, and you know you’ve got your friend back. He’s the cool guy in class that we’ve definitely been missing… But that’s our team. We built this team around him, and we have to continue to just polish the pieces around it so we can be a well-oiled machine.”

The Sixers followed up Tuesday’s victory with a big win over Miami on Thursday, pulling within a half-game of the Heat for the No. 7 spot in the East and one game of Indiana for No. 6.

In his two games back, Embiid is averaging 26.5 points, 5.5 assists and five rebounds. Embiid had been away from the club for eight weeks following a meniscus injury, and in that time the Sixers have fallen from the top of the Eastern Conference into the play-in tournament bracket.

There’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • Sixers swingman Buddy Hield, who joined the team at February’s trade deadline, is looking forward to developing his chemistry with Embiid, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “I just think he does provide open looks,” Hield said. “He’s just so good in the short roll, and his big body, and he’s always [being double-teamed, so] teams overlook guys and you just have to be ready for the catch-and-shoot.”
  • Sixers forward Tobias Harris, who hurt his left knee late in the win over the Thunder, missed the team’s matchup against the Heat tonight due to that knee injury, per Pompey (Twitter link). Pompey tweets that imaging indicated Harris incurred a bone bruise, but he may only be sidelined for a game or two, a source tells The Philadelphia Inquirer.
  • The Sixers are still hoping that two key role players will, like Embiid before them, return to the hardwood before the end of the season, writes Pompey in another piece. Starting shooting guard De’Anthony Melton has been on the shelf for the club since February 27 with lumbar spine bone stress. Combo forward Robert Covington hasn’t played since December 30 due to a left knee bone bruise. “I think we’re still trying,” head coach Nick Nurse said. “I think they’re getting on the court. That’s always a good sign so I think they’re still a little ways away… I don’t think we’ll rule them out unless we absolutely have to for good, but we’ll see.”

Atlantic Notes: Hield, Randle, Robinson, Anunoby, Schröder

After starting his first 13 games with the Sixers, Buddy Hield has come off the bench in back-to-back contests in New York on Sunday and Tuesday. As Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer (subscription required) writes, Hield told reporters after Sunday’s game that he has no complaints about the adjustment to his role.

“I don’t know if it’s going to be permanent or not, but sometimes change is good,” Hield said. “… All these guys have started or come off the bench, so it’s not like a big problem. … We’re NBA players, and we figure out how to adjust.”

As Hield alluded to, 76ers head coach Nick Nurse has been experimenting with different starting lineups for much of the season. Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey, and Tobias Harris are the only three players on the roster who have started every game they’ve appeared in this season, and Embiid is currently on the shelf with a knee injury. In total, 18 different Philadelphia players – including 13 who are currently on the roster – have started at least one game in 2023/24.

Hield has averaged over 25 minutes per contest in his first two games off the bench, playing well in a 16-point outing on Sunday and struggling a little with his shot in a 4-of-11 performance on Tuesday. He expressed confidence on Sunday that he’ll continue to be productive even if he’s part of the second unit.

“It’s not about starting all the time,” Hield said. “As long as I go out there and get quality minutes to help this team win, that’s all that matters. I’m going to play my role.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau provided minor injury updates on Julius Randle (shoulder) and Mitchell Robinson (ankle) on Tuesday, telling reporters – including Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter links) – that Randle is working in “controlled” contact situations, while Robinson is running, jumping, and making “really good, steady progress.” Thibodeau didn’t offer a timeline for Randle to move on to 5-on-5 work.
  • While the Knicks continue to wait on Randle and Robinson, forward OG Anunoby (elbow) played on Tuesday for the first time since January 27 and provided a reminder of his importance to the team, says Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. The Knicks outscored Philadelphia by 28 points in Anunoby’s 29 minutes and his teammates benefited on both ends of the court from his presence on the floor, Bondy notes.
  • Since joining the Nets at last month’s trade deadline, Dennis Schröder has averaged 14.6 points and 5.9 assists in 14 games and has improved the club’s ball movement, per Jared Schwartz of The New York Post. Count center Nic Claxton among those who have been impressed by Schröder’s impact. “He really just, he treats the game right,” Claxton said on Tuesday. “He’s a true competitor, and he holds everybody accountable. He’s a winner. He has really good work habits, he works on his body a lot. … It’s tough being thrown in at the middle of the season, but it’s all starting to come together.”

Pacers Notes: Mathurin, McDermott, Hield, Smith

Pacers second-year guard Bennedict Mathurin is set to miss at least the next three games, and probably a fourth, as he deals with a sprained right shoulder, according to IndyStar’s Dustin Dopirak.

Pacers coach Rick Carlisle said Mathurin will be reevaluated after Indiana’s upcoming two-game road trip that concludes March 12 in Oklahoma City. That reevaluation will come before the Pacers play the second half of a back-to-back against the Bulls on March 13, so it’s unlikely he plays in that game, according to Dopirak.

We hope it’s not serious,” Carlisle said. “He’s a guy who bounces back very quickly and hates missing game. We hope that it’s relatively short term, but he will miss a week at least.

Mathurin is averaging 14.5 points per game in his second year in the league.

We have more notes on the Pacers:

  • There’s still no return timetable for Doug McDermott, who is dealing with a right calf strain. According to Dopirak, as of Saturday, McDermott hadn’t engaged in any on-floor work since suffering his injury on Feb. 26. He’s averaging 5.7 points and shooting 41.5% from three this season.
  • Buddy Hield recently opened up about his trade from the Pacers, explaining how he didn’t see a future with the organization. “I love Buddy. I wish we could have kept him. The whole organization wishes they could have kept him,” Carlisle said in response to Hield’s comments (Twitter links via Dopirak). “And we could have, but it would have been self-serving for the organization. … He’s one of a kind. I loved him. I loved working with him for two years. He was a total pro with everything with he did.”
  • Jalen Smith is knocking down a career-high 61.2% of his field goals and 44.3% of his three-point attempts. According to Smith, the key to his better shooting is to stop thinking about knocking them down, Dopirak writes in another story. “I guess it’s just an ‘F-it’ mentality,” Smith said. “I’m pretty much saying if it goes in, it goes in. If it doesn’t, it doesn’t.” Smith is playing just 17.7 minutes per night in a crowded frontcourt, but has been highly efficient in his limited time and is averaging 20.9 points and 11.3 rebounds per 36 minutes.