Furkan Korkmaz

Central Notes: Cavaliers, Strus, Lillard, Haliburton

With an established rotation already in place, the chances of the Cavaliers adding help in the buyout market are “incredibly low,” according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com (subscription required). The recent returns from injury by Darius Garland and Evan Mobley have given the team a healthy roster, leaving no obvious role for a buyout player to fill. Sources tell Fedor that the front office is being honest with prospective additions about the shortage of available playing time.

Many of the top names on the market — such as Kyle Lowry, Spencer Dinwiddie and Delon Wright — have already committed to other teams. Fedor hears that Cleveland had interest in Danilo Gallinari, but the veteran forward chose Milwaukee, where he’ll have a better shot at regular minutes. Marcus Morris appears unlikely to land with the Cavs since he’s reportedly leaning toward the Timberwolves if the Spurs buy him out, according to former teammate Patrick Beverley (Twitter link).

Fedor says Cleveland would like to add one more shooter off its bench, which makes former Net Joe Harris and ex-Sixer Furkan Korkmaz intriguing names to watch. The Cavaliers have liked Korkmaz for a long time and made an effort to sign him in free agency in 2021, according to Fedor. He also mentions Davis Bertans and Seth Curry as options if they agree to buyouts with the Hornets and considers the PistonsEvan Fournier as a more remote possibility.

There’s more from the Central Division:

  • The Cavaliers are committed to Max Strus as a starter and are unlikely to shake up their starting five before the end of the season, Fedor adds in the same piece. The team pursued Strus last summer to provide improved shooting and floor spacing, and Fedor notes that he requires constant attention from opposing defenses, even though his shooting numbers have declined. Fedor also points out that coach J.B. Bickerstaff wants a longer look at his current starting lineup, which has been limited to 239 total minutes together because of injuries.
  • Bucks guard Damian Lillard doesn’t bring much strategy to the Three-Point Contest, which he won for the second straight year Saturday night, writes Eric Nehm of The Athletic. “I didn’t prepare at all,” Lillard said. “I think that’s the key to it. I kept telling (teammate Malik Beasley) my first two times I did it, I was practicing, I had racks, I was trying to get ready for it and I just went out there and I didn’t win. And then last year, I never practiced. I never shot off a rack. I just showed up and won.”
  • Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton plans to keep trying for a three-point title after a close call on his home court, per Dustin Dopirak of The Indianapolis Star. Haliburton was in a four-way deadlock for the best score after the first round, but he lost in a tie-breaker and failed to reach the finals. “I think I’m going to just keep coming back until they don’t allow me to, and eventually I’m going to win one,” he said.

And-Ones: MVP Race, 2024 Draft, Korkmaz, Okafor, More

With Joel Embiid no longer eligible for this season’s MVP award due to the number of games he has missed, the race appears wide open, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN, who conducted another version of his straw poll ahead of the All-Star break.

The 100 media members polled over the weekend by MacMahon selected Nuggets center Nikola Jokic as the current MVP favorite, with Thunder guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander as the runner-up. Jokic earned 69 first-place votes and was the only player selected by all 100 voters on their five-player ballots, while Gilgeous-Alexander was listed on 99 ballots and was the top choice on 24 of them.

Bucks forward Giannis Antetokounmpo, Mavericks guard Luka Doncic, and Clippers forward Kawhi Leonard rounded out the top five in Bontemps’ latest poll, with Celtics forward Jayson Tatum, Knicks guard Jalen Brunson, and Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell also appearing on double-digit ballots. Notably, while just four of 100 media members had Anthony Edwards in their top five, one made the Timberwolves guard their MVP choice.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Although Jonathan Givony and Jeremy Woo of ESPN (Insider link) still feel as if the 2024 draft class is short on high-end talent, they believe it could end up being a relatively deep draft. Givony and Woo suggest that some teams will be able to find rotation players later in the first round or in the second round, even if there are no sure-fire stars at the top of the class.
  • After being traded from Philadelphia to Indiana and then waived by the Pacers, veteran swingman Furkan Korkmaz has turned down interest from Turkish club Besiktas for now and is hoping to remain in the NBA, according to a report from Eurohoops. Korkmaz didn’t play much for the Sixers the past two seasons, but is still just 26 years old and is a 36.1% three-point shooter over the past five years.
  • Former lottery pick Jahlil Okafor is on the move again, having recently signed with Puerto Rican team Capitanes de Arecibo, as Dario Skerletic of Sportando relays. The No. 3 overall pick in the 2015 draft, Okafor played in Spain and China earlier this season. He last played in the NBA with Detroit in 2020/21.
  • Grizzlies guard Vince Williams has been chosen to replace injured Pelicans guard Dyson Daniels in this Friday’s Rising Stars game at All-Star weekend, while Indiana Mad Ants guard Kyle Mangas will replace Sixers two-way player Kenneth Lofton Jr. in the G League Next Up game, according to a pair of announcements from the NBA and NBAGL.

Pacers Waive Furkan Korkmaz

FEBRUARY 9: The Pacers have officially waived Korkmaz, the team confirmed today in a press release.

FEBRUARY 8: The Pacers will waive shooting guard Furkan Korkmaz after they officially acquire him from the Sixers, sources tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link).

Indiana agreed to trade Buddy Hield to Philadelphia in exchange for Marcus Morris, Korkmaz, and three second-round picks. Given that the Pacers immediately made a deal to flip Morris to San Antonio and will cut Korkmaz, it’s clear those draft picks were the assets they were after, with the two former 76ers just viewed as salary-matching pieces.

Korkmaz has been with the Sixers since 2017 and played a regular rotation role for several seasons from 2019-22. However, his minutes have significantly declined in the past two seasons. In 2023/24, he has averaged 2.5 points per game on .395/.350/.700 shooting in 35 appearances off the bench (8.6 MPG).

Korkmaz is on an expiring $5,370,370 contract, so Indiana will be on the hook for that cap hit once he clears waivers.

The 26-year-old will be eligible to sign as a free agent with any NBA team except the Sixers, though he likely wouldn’t have pursued a reunion with his former team anyway, given that he has sought a trade out of Philadelphia multiple times in recent years.

Sixers, Pacers, Spurs Complete Hield, McDermott Deals As Three-Team Trade

The Pacers, Sixers, and Spurs have folded a pair of separate trade agreements into a single transaction, announcing in a series of press releases that the deals sending Buddy Hield to Philadelphia and Doug McDermott to Indiana have been officially completed as a three-team trade.

The Pacers initially agreed to acquire Marcus Morris, Furkan Korkmaz, three second-round picks, and cash from Philadelphia in exchange for Hield, then reached a deal to flip Morris, one of those second-rounders to San Antonio, and cash for McDermott. Those three pieces will go directly to the Spurs instead.

Here are the full details:

  • Sixers acquire Hield.
  • Pacers acquire McDermott, Korkmaz, the Raptors’ 2024 second-round pick (from Sixers), the Trail Blazers’ 2029 second-round pick (from Sixers), and cash (from Sixers).
  • Spurs acquire Morris, the Clippers’ 2029 second-round pick (from Sixers), and cash (from Sixers).

The 2024 second-round pick going from Philadelphia to Indiana technically includes “most favorable” language and could come from a different team, but there’s essentially no chance it won’t be Toronto’s second-rounder, given their place in the standings.

Folding the two trades into one deal doesn’t materially change much, but it will introduce one notable new wrinkle. If Morris had been traded to Indiana, then sent to San Antonio in a separate deal, he would’ve been eligible to re-sign with the Sixers in the event the Spurs buy him out. However, due to the structure of the deal, he now won’t be permitted to sign with Philadelphia if he’s waived by San Antonio.

A player is prohibited from rejoining a team that traded him if his new team waives him, but if he’s traded twice before being cut, he’s only ineligible to join the club that traded him most recently.

Korkmaz, who is being waived by the Pacers, will also be prohibited from re-signing with the Sixers, though as we noted in a separate story, that was never a likely outcome.

For more details on the Hield and McDermott deals, check out our full stories on the trade agreements.

Pacers To Trade Buddy Hield To Sixers

The Pacers and Sixers have agreed on a trade that will send sharpshooter Buddy Hield to Philadelphia, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, who reports (via Twitter) that Indiana will receive forward Marcus Morris, guard Furkan Korkmaz, and three second-round picks.

The Sixers will also sent the Pacers $1.5MM in cash, a league source tells Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Pompey reports that the draft picks involved in the deal will be the Raptors’ 2024 second-rounder, and the Clippers’ and Trail Blazers’ 2029 second-rounders.

Shams Charania of The Athletic first reported (via Twitter) that the two teams were nearing a deal for Hield.

Although he’s having a down year relative to his career rates, Hield remains one of the NBA’s most dangerous outside shooters. The 31-year-old is averaging 12.0 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 2.7 assists in 25.7 minutes per night (52 games) so far in 2023/24, with a 38.4% three-point rate on 6.9 attempts per contest.

Hield saw his role cut back this season on a deep Indiana roster — his 9.9 field goal attempts per game represent his lowest mark since he was a rookie in 2016/17.

However, he’s a career 40.1% three-point shooter and has knocked down at least 262 total threes in each of the past five seasons prior to this one. His now-former teammate Tyrese Haliburton raved this week about Hield’s ability to space the floor and create room for others to operate.

The Sixers had been in the market for size and shooting ahead of the trade deadline and will achieve one of those goals without compromising their projected cap room for this offseason, since Hield – like Morris and Korkmaz – is on an expiring contract. They also didn’t have to give up a first-round pick, which Indiana had been seeking for Hield as recently as Wednesday, tweets Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports.

As cap expert Yossi Gozlan notes (via Twitter), Hield’s $19.3MM cap hit for this season will be adjusted upward to $19.8MM as a result of the trade, since some of the playoff-related bonuses in his contract that were considered unlikely will now be deemed likely. Hield is extension-eligible through June 30, though he’d be limited to a two-year deal and 5% raises if he inks a new deal prior to free agency.

Philadelphia remains about $1.6MM above the luxury tax line, Gozlan adds (via Twitter), and can create a $5.4MM trade exception in the deal.

Hield had long been considered a trade candidate for the Pacers, who explored a preseason extension with the veteran shooting guard and couldn’t agree to terms. Recognizing that they likely wouldn’t keep Hield beyond this season, Indiana decided to get what it could for him now.

The Pacers won’t have to waive a player to complete the deal, since they have two open spots on their 15-man roster following the expiration of James Johnson‘s 10-day contract on Wednesday night.

It’s unclear if Indiana intends to hang onto both Morris and Korkmaz. A physical, versatile forward and a Philadelphia native, Morris averaged 6.7 PPG and 2.9 RPG on .439/.400/.861 shooting in 37 games (17.2 MPG) for the Sixers this season, while Korkmaz chipped in 2.5 PPG on .395/.350/.700 shooting in 35 contests (8.6 MPG).

Morris is making $17.1MM; Korkmaz’ cap hit is $5.4MM.

Trade Rumors: Sixers, Wizards, Wiggins, Nuggets, Suns

Within a discussion about the trade deadline in the latest Hoop Collective podcast (YouTube link), Brian Windhorst of ESPN identified the Bucks as one of the most active teams on the trade market, suggested the Nets have explored both buying and selling, and said that he expects the Sixers to make at least one trade by Thursday’s deadline. Marcus Morris, Robert Covington, Furkan Korkmaz, and Danuel House are among Philadelphia’s most likely trade candidates, per Windhorst.

During that same Hoop Collective conversation, Windhorst stated he expects the Wizards to make at least one deadline deal, though he’s skeptical it will involve Kyle Kuzma, identifying Tyus Jones as the player more likely to be on the move. Windhorst added that Washington has also had talks involving Deni Avdija, though he’d be surprised if the fourth-year wing is dealt.

Here are a few more trade rumors from across the NBA:

  • In addition to joining the list of teams with interest in Bulls center Andre Drummond, the Sixers continue to scour the trade market for outside shooting, Marc Stein reports in his latest Substack article. Buddy Hield is one potential target, as Jake Fischer reported on Tuesday, and Bojan Bogdanovic is another clear fit, Stein writes. According to Stein, however, the Pistons are seeking at least a first-round pick in exchange for Bogdanovic and have let teams know that their preference is to keep him.
  • After reporting on Tuesday that Dallas’ interest in Andrew Wiggins may be overstated, Stein says he has heard the same about the Bucks‘ reported interest in the Warriors‘ forward. Still, Golden State is expected to continue exploring trade possibilities for Wiggins up until Thursday’s deadline, Stein writes.
  • Appearing on 92.5 FM in Denver on Wednesday, Nuggets head coach Michael Malone said he doesn’t expect the team to make a move at the deadline, per Chris Dempsey of Altitude Sports (Twitter link).
  • Phoenix doesn’t intend to give up any of its few remaining trade assets for a mere insurance policy, according to John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7, who tweets that if the Suns are going to acquire a player, they would need to view that player as someone who would be part of their eight- or nine-man playoff rotation.

Sixers Issue Injury Updates On Melton, Covington

The Sixers will be without a pair of rotation players for the foreseeable future, according to the team, which issued injury updates today on guard De’Anthony Melton and wing Robert Covington, as Derek Bodner of PHLY Sports relays (Twitter links).

Melton (lumbar spine stress response) – who has missed Philadelphia’s past five games, and eight of the past 10 – has completed an “offloading” period and will begin ramping up to return. Although Melton will accompany the team on the five-game road trip that begins on Thursday in Indiana, he remains sidelined for the time being and will be reevaluated in approximately one week.

That recovery timeline suggests Melton will miss at least four more games, since the 76ers are also in action on Saturday, Monday, and Tuesday before concluding their trip in Utah next Thursday.

Covington hasn’t played at all this month due to left knee inflammation and a bone bruise in that knee, having sat out Philadelphia’s past 10 games. He has continued to receive treatment and will remain on the shelf for a while. According to the club, he’ll be reevaluated in three or four weeks.

Melton has started all 33 games he has appeared in this season, while Covington was averaging 16.1 minutes per night in his first 26 games back with the 76ers.

Nicolas Batum, Danuel House, and Patrick Beverley are among the players whose minutes have increased with Melton and Covington unavailable as of late. Beverley has missed the past two games with an illness, resulting in rotation minutes for Furkan Korkmaz.

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Rotation, Record, Arena, Bazley

Joel Embiid twisted his knee on Friday when the Sixers defeated Atlanta, but it’s considered a minor issue. The reigning Most Valuable Player was essentially a full participant in Sunday’s practice, other than some early weight room work while the rest of the team was on the floor, Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Embiid is questionable to play against Washington on Monday.

We have more on the Sixers:

  • With the team relatively healthy, coach Nick Nurse has decisions to make regarding the rotation, Mizell writes. Nurse essentially went with an eight-man rotation in the win over the Hawks. Paul Reed and Mohamed Bamba combined for just 11 minutes, while Robert Covington, Danuel House and Furkan Korkmaz didn’t play. “It’s a good thing to have a different variety of players and guys that bring different things,” Marcus Morris said. “But at the same time, for players, it can get frustrating. Because everybody wants to play and everybody works hard. It will definitely be interesting.”
  • The Sixers have a 14-7 record and play some of the league’s weakest teams this week, including a pair of games against the downtrodden Pistons. Nurse believes the team is generally playing well and he expects the defense to improve during the second quarter of the season, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We are doing a lot of things well. … We’re just not finishing off possessions,” Nurse said. “Things like that would be at the top of my list.”
  • The Sixers want to model their new arena after Boston’s TD Garden, but would that work in Philadelphia? Inga Saffron of the Inquirer takes a closer look.
  • The 76ers’ NBA G League affiliate in Delaware has acquired the rights to Darius Bazley from the Wisconsin Herd in exchange for a 2024 G League first round pick, the Blue Coats tweet. Bazley was waived by the Nets during training camp after signing with Brooklyn during the offseason on a non-guaranteed contract. A 6’8″ forward/center, Bazley holds career averages of 9.1 PPG and 5.3 RPG on .411/.310/.673 shooting in 228 regular season games (118 starts, 23.6 MPG) with the Thunder and Suns.

Sixers Notes: Wings, Oubre, Embiid, Maxey

For as good as the Sixers have been so far this season, the wing rotation remains a puzzle to figure out for the 8-2 squad, according to Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. As Mizell details, between the roster changes that occurred in the James Harden trade and players being in and out of the lineup for personal reasons or due to injuries, head coach Nick Nurse has had to continue experimenting with different combinations in those positions.

Danuel House had been out of the rotation for much of the season but logged 34 total minutes over the team’s past two games. He’s one player who has been affected by what Mizell refers to as the team’s “ever-changing wing hierarchy” but he says he’s not bothered by his inconsistent role.

“I’ve never been a player to go up in the coach’s office and be like, ‘Hey, Coach, what’s going on?'” House said on Tuesday. “I trust his process. He’s the coach. The organization hired him to make sure they would take care of them and us, to make sure that he’d get us where we need to be.”

Currently, the team is without Kelly Oubre (fractured rib) and Nicolas Batum (personal), which has resulted in minutes bumps for House and Marcus Morris. Furkan Korkmaz, who has requested to be traded out of Philadelphia in the past, is another player whose minutes have fluctuated.

“The difference this year is Nick is trying to get everybody in,” Korkmaz told Mizell. “It’s not like he chooses three guys and then lets those guys play 15 or 20 minutes. If it’s three minutes, five minutes, 10 minutes, whatever the minutes, he just puts people out there. It’s still early [in the] season. He’s just trying to find a way for the real rotation. … There [are] opportunities for everybody.”

Here’s more on the 76ers:

  • Surveillance footage that has been reviewed so far by the Philadelphia Police Department shows no evidence that a collision took place at the Center City intersection where Oubre reported being hit by a vehicle, a police spokesperson said on Wednesday, per Max Marin, Ximena Conde, and Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. A source who spoke to The Inquirer stressed that Oubre is new to the area and was shaken up after being struck by the vehicle, so he may not have provided an accurate account in his initial statement to police of when and where the alleged hit-and-run took place. The investigation into the incident is ongoing.
  • Oubre’s injury absence may not be as lengthy as initially anticipated, Appearing on NBA Countdown on Wednesday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter video link) said there’s a “realistic expectation” that Oubre could return to action in about “two-plus weeks” — either around the end of November or start of December.
  • Star center Joel Embiid had been considered a game-time decision for Wednesday’s tilt vs. Boston after being listed as questionable due to left hip soreness, but he’s playing, as Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports tweets. Embiid, who has never appeared in more than 68 games in a season, has yet to miss a game in 2023/24.
  • Former Sixers guards Ben Simmons, Markelle Fultz, and Harden never turned into the sort of long-term partner for Embiid that the franchise envisioned, but there’s reason to believe Tyrese Maxey can be that player, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Through 10 games, Maxey has averaged 28.4 points, 7.0 assists, and 5.3 rebounds per night with a .493/.429/940 shooting line. “He’s running a pretty good floor game right now,” Nurse said last week. “He’s going to what’s open. And I think that was everybody’s question: Can he create for somebody else?” With Maxey showing his bona fides as both a scorer and a play-maker, the Sixers should be able to approach this season’s trade deadline confident they have two stars to build around, not just one, says Bontemps.

Sixers Notes: Maxey, Oubre, Batum, Harden Trade

During the best game of his career, Tyrese Maxey was thinking about his injured teammate, according to an ESPN report. The Sixers guard posted his first-ever 50-point performance in Sunday’s win over Indiana, then dedicated the outing to Kelly Oubre, who is recovering after being struck by a car Saturday night.

“This had nothing to do with me,” Maxey said. “This is all Kelly Oubre. We’re praying for him. Love my dawg. I just met him, but I love him. I hope he gets well soon.”

Oubre was on the mind of all the Sixers players in their first game since the accident, which left Oubre with a broken rib, along with bruises and cuts. They couldn’t reach him on FaceTime Sunday night, so they sent him a video of their locker room celebration.

“The game today, I’m sure Tyrese was thinking about it and we were all thinking about it,” Joel Embiid said. “We just want (Oubre) to take his time, recover and know that we have his back. He’s needed because he’s a big part of us. We missed him tonight, but he should take his time.”

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Nicolas Batum replaced Oubre in the starting lineup, but the Sixers have plenty of options considering their roster depth following the James Harden trade, observes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Robert Covington and Marcus Morris, who were also acquired in that deal, should see expanded roles, and coach Nick Nurse has other experienced players he can turn to. “I would imagine, we’ve been using Covington, but (he) will probably take some of those minutes,” Nurse said. “There’s still (Furkan Korkmaz) and (Danuel House) there as well, kind of at that wing position that we can possibly see.”
  • The police report on Oubre states that he was hit in the upper chest by the mirror of a speeding silver vehicle and the driver left the scene, Pompey tweets. Oubre is reported to have injuries to his hip and right leg in addition to the broken rib. Nurse talked to Oubre and said he has an ‘”I’ll be back before you know it’ type of attitude.”
  • The Sixers are clearly a better team since resolving the Harden standoff, Pompey adds in a separate story. Batum and Covington have upgraded the defense, there’s more quickness all around and Maxey and Tobias Harris are thriving in expanded offensive roles.