Georges Niang

Heat Rumors: Vincent, Strus, Lowry, Wood, Herro

The Heat have two rotation guards facing unrestricted free agency this week, and Gabe Vincent is considered a better bet to remain in Miami than Max Strus, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

There’s mutual interest in a new deal between the Heat and Vincent, whom the team values at a figure of about $10MM per year, sources tell Yahoo Sports.

As Fischer outlines, teams like the Suns, Pistons, Sixers, and Mavericks initially appeared to be among Vincent’s potential suitors. However, the Suns were probably only in play if they’d been forced to waive-and-stretch Chris Paul, while the Pistons may no longer be in the market for a free agent guard after making a trade for Marcus Sasser on draft night. Philadelphia and Dallas, meanwhile, would have interest in a guard like Vincent if they’re unable to re-sign James Harden and Kyrie Irving, respectively, but for now those stars appear likely to stick with their current teams.

Strus should be more popular on the open market, with cap-room teams like the Pistons, Pacers, and Magic among the possible suitors cited by league personnel, Fischer writes. Some clubs with the full mid-level exception will also have interest in Strus, according to Fischer — he mentions the Cavaliers as one, though he notes that Cleveland is also eyeing free agents like Kelly Oubre and Georges Niang.

ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on his latest Lowe Post podcast that there’s a “ridiculous” amount of Strus buzz happening around the NBA right now. Lowe is confident that Strus will at least get a deal worth the full mid-level exception ($12.4MM) and says a team with cap room might top that figure, which is a point Fischer makes as well. People around the league aren’t expecting Strus to re-sign with the Heat, Fischer adds.

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • If Miami re-signs Vincent and doesn’t find a trade that requires Kyle Lowry‘s $29.7MM expiring contract, league personnel are preparing for the possibility that the Heat will waive Lowry, says Fischer. A report on Tuesday indicated that the team was considering the possibility of using the stretch provision on the veteran point guard. There’s already speculation about his possible free agent destinations, Fischer says, noting that a return to the Raptors would be a possible path for Lowry in that scenario.
  • Christian Wood has been continually identified by league personnel as a player who is on the Heat’s radar in free agency, Fischer reports. Wood isn’t expected to re-sign with Dallas.
  • If the Heat get the opportunity to make a play for Damian Lillard, there’s an expectation that Tyler Herro will be part of the package they offer the Trail Blazers. However, sources tell Chris Mannix of that Portland is “lukewarm” on Herro. It’s a moot point for now, since the Blazers remain focused on keeping Lillard. But if Dame does request a trade, it could become an important factor in trade talks.

Atlantic Notes: Brown, Mitchell, Raptors, Niang, Nurse

Having made the All-NBA Second Team this year, Celtics All-Star Jaylen Brown is eligible for a five-year, $290MM super-max contract extension. According to Steve Bulpett of, Hall of Famer Isiah Thomas, a longtime Brown advisor, has some pointed advice for the young star.

“Take the money,” Thomas said. “He’s had a great career there, and he’s become one of the best players in the league. They’ve done well, and he’s done well there. It’s been a win-win, I think, for him and for the Celtics.”

Thomas went on to suggest that the departure of 2021/22 head coach Ime Udoka and lead assistants Will Hardy and Damon Stoudamire seems to have had an adverse influence on Brown, who had an uneven performance in the 2023 playoffs.

“Hey, I don’t care how talented your team is, when half of your coaching staff walks out of the door, that’s going to affect you,” he said. “That’s just how it goes. You lose your head coach and your top two assistants, you’re going to be impacted by that.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Knicks may still pursue a trade for Cavaliers shooting guard Donovan Mitchell at some point, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post. Botte notes that New York team president Leon Rose will likely explore other options when it comes to trying to trade for a superstar this summer, but that Mitchell, a native New Yorker, could remain a target down the line. The Knicks eliminated Mitchell’s higher-seeded Cavaliers in a five-game first round playoff series.
  • Sixers forward Georges Niang offered up a rave review for Philadelphia’s new head coach Nick Nurse on ESPN’s Hoop Collective podcast (YouTube video link). “Obviously (the Sixers are) bringing in a guy that is a basketball savant,” Niang said (h/t to Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice for the transcription). “He knows how to junk up games, he knows how to draw ATOs, run offense, and then junk defenses, how to play defense, he’s done a great job. His Toronto teams were always tough to guard, and they were always tough to score against. So I was extremely pleased to see that they hired him and see they’re moving in that direction.” Niang, an unrestricted free agent this summer, clearly still seems interested in the future his current club.
  • The Raptors are currently the lone team still in the market for a new head coach. Per Marc Stein, Toronto nixed plans for a second face-to-face conversation with Virtus Bologna head coach Sergio Scariolo due to his team’s continued presence in the Lega Basket Serie A finals. Scariolo could be out of commission until June 23 if the series lasts seven games. The Raptors had hoped to have a new head coach in place in time for June 22’s NBA draft. According to Stein, there’s speculation in league circles that Scariolo could have something of an edge for the job, while others believe Warriors assistant coach Kenny Atkinson is the favorite. Grizzlies assistant Darko Rajakovic is considered the third favorite, per Stein, with all three gaining separation from Kings assistant Jordi Fernandez.

Atlantic Notes: Dinwiddie, Nets, Niang, Celtics

Nets point guard Spencer Dinwiddie was a recent guest on ex-NBA star Gilbert Arenas’ podcast Gil’s Arena, and told Arenas that he was very much looking forward to his future in Brooklyn.

“I’m super excited,” Dinwiddie said (hat tip to Nets Daily for the transcript). “I’ve been with the Nets six years out of my nine, roughly. I’ve been there for many different forms of the Nets, from when we were kind of the young upstarts — [D’Angelo Russell] and stuff. Then we had the max guys — [Kevin Durant] and Kyrie [Irving]… but now kind of like a more mature, kind of a ready-to-win core that probably needs a guy but probably within that range.”

Dinwiddie is owed $18.9MM through the 2023/24 season. The vet will hit unrestricted free agency that summer if he doesn’t ink a veteran extension with Brooklyn next season.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The Nets generated an $18.1MM traded player exception from their Durant trade with the Suns. ProfessorB of Nets Daily unpacks how Brooklyn could use its TPE going forward, identifying several intriguing players whose salaries would fit into that exception.
  • Sixers forward Georges Niang wrote his final “diary entry” of the 2022/23 season, as logged by Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer, about his impending free agency and the end of Philadelphia’s playoff run. “Obviously, you want to go to a place where you’re appreciated — and I’ve always felt appreciated in Philadelphia,” Niang wrote. “Other than that, I don’t know anything else. The teams that I played on before, where I was appreciated, those teams are totally different now. I’m thankful that the place that I have most recently played appreciates me for who I am and what I stand for and what I can bring to the table. But free agency, stuff happens so quickly. Someone said it best to me: It’s almost like musical chairs. You don’t want to be the one that doesn’t have a chair to sit in.”
  • Conversations the day before the Celtics’ Game 4 win in their ongoing Eastern Conference Finals matchup against the Heat helped galvanize Boston, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “Just coming together, talking it out,” All-Star swingman Jaylen Brown in explaining the content of the team’s pregame chats. “And like a lot of times when you get to this point down 3-0, you see locker rooms and teams start to go in the other direction… We wanted to make sure that we looked each other in the eye and came out today and put our best foot forward, and I’m proud of our group for doing that because you see teams with their back against the wall and you see they just collapse.”

Sixers Notes: Coaching Search, Rivers, Niang, Offseason

During his end-of-season media session on Wednesday, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey told reporters taht it may take the team some time to pick its next head coach, according to Kyle Neubeck of

“We’re taking a careful process with the coach, we do not think it will move quickly,” Morey said. “We’re going to look at all the candidates, we’re already very encouraged by the candidates that reached out. We have an MVP player, we have a great roster that lots of players want to play with, lots of coaches want to be with.”

According to Morey, the Sixers are seeking a candidate who prioritizes accountability and who can build great relationships with star players and recruit stars (Twitter link via Gina Mizell of Philadelphia Inquirer). While the team also wants to hire a tactically sound coach, Morey suggested that won’t be his primary goal.

“I actually think people put too much importance on that, like it ends up being a much smaller part of the game than people expect,” Morey said. “Relative to you know, working with star players, recruiting star players, things like that. It is an important element, but it tends to get overvalued…it can only be one part of the puzzle.”

Interestingly, as Neubeck writes, Morey said the Sixers’ star players won’t have “direct input” on the hire. Morey also acknowledged that MVP center Joel Embiid was “shocked” by the club’s decision to move on from Doc Rivers, per David Murphy of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

“It’s my job to help convince him that the new head coach is someone he’ll have a great relationship as well,” Morey said.

  • In a separate story for, Neubeck takes a closer look at the six head coaching candidates who have been linked to the 76ers so far, breaking down the pros and cons of each one.
  • Doc Rivers posted a parting message to Sixers fans on Instagram, writing that he “really enjoyed” his time in Philadelphia and respected how “tough” and passionate the fans were. League sources tell Chris Haynes of TNT and Bleacher Report (Twitter link) that Rivers has a desire to continue coaching if the right opportunity arises.
  • Sixers forward Georges Niang, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer, admits he doesn’t know what his future holds, but he sounds like a player who would happily re-sign in Philadelphia, writes Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire. “Obviously, I love it here in Philly,” Niang said after the team’s season came to an end. “Like I said, I haven’t really wrapped my head around everything, but I really enjoyed being here and the guys, the camaraderie, the organization, it’s been amazing.”
  • Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype and Bobby Marks of (Insider link) previewed the Sixers’ offseason, observing that the team faces several big decisions beyond hiring a new coach and resolving Harden’s future. Tyrese Maxey and De’Anthony Melton are among the players eligible for contract extensions, while Philadelphia needs to find a way to improve its bench depth.

Sixers Notes: Harden, Harris, Tucker, Dedmon, Niang

To be serious title contenders, the Sixers will need the version of James Harden that they got Saturday night, writes Rich Hofmann of The Athletic. Facing one of the league’s best defenses, Harden turned in a performance reminiscent of his MVP days in Houston. He had 38 points, nine rebounds and 10 assists and led a fourth-quarter comeback as Philadelphia snapped the Bucks’ 16-game winning streak.

“That’s what I do, man,” Harden said. “I’m just very comfortable in those situations whether it’s playmaking, whether it’s scoring. I’ve been doing it for a long time.”

Harden has been in the news this week for his upcoming free agency and persistent rumors that he will strongly consider a return to the Rockets. Hofmann states that Harden has been playing at an All-Star level throughout the season and his immediate focus is helping Philadelphia get by the other top teams in the East.

There’s more on the Sixers:

  • The team has two injury concerns coming out of Saturday’s game, Hofmann adds. Tobias Harris didn’t finish the game because of tightness in his left calf, while P.J. Tucker suffered back spasms and was moving gingerly in the locker room, according to Hofmann.
  • Even though he didn’t play, Dewayne Dedmon was in uniform on Saturday night, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The veteran center signed with the Sixers on February 14 after agreeing to a buyout with the Spurs following a trade from the Heat. Dedmon is ready for a fresh start after the way his time in Miami ended, but hip soreness has delayed his debut with the Sixers. “At the end of the day, it’s not about motivation,” Dedmon said. “I got mental clarity. For myself, that’s the biggest thing that I need moving forward in my life and my career. I need mental clarity and stability. For me to get traded from there was my mental clarity and my stability.”
  • Georges Niang has seen his playing time reduced recently because of a shooting slump, but he drained 5-of-6 shots from beyond the arc Saturday. Before the game, he told Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer that the best cure for a slump is to keep shooting. “I just got to get out there and let it fly,” Niang said. “I don’t know how many games it is now, but I’ve had the feeling of getting out there and being like, ‘Oh, I want to get my elbow tucked. I want to do this.’ But I’ve been shooting my whole life. I’ve just got to go out there and let it rip.”

Sixers Notes: Niang, Simmons, Embiid, Harden, Dedmon

Sixers players have been careful in their comments about how Ben Simmons‘ holdout affected the team, but Georges Niang addressed the issue Friday in a radio appearance, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. As a guest on The John Kincaid Show, Niang said the atmosphere has been much better this year without the distractions that Simmons caused.

“When you … are building rosters. I’m talking from a general manager standpoint, I don’t know how much he makes but it’s a max contract, so you immediately take that off the books (when Simmons says), ‘I’m not playing,’” Niang said. “Now, you have to figure out where other role players have to set up and replace passing, dribbling, rebounding, defense.”

Simmons’ dispute with Sixers management began during the 2021 offseason and lasted until he was shipped to the Nets at last year’s trade deadline. In addition to not having one of their supposed team leaders on the court, Niang said players were concerned about who else might be included in a potential Simmons deal.

“Then the trade deadline is coming up, and everybody is walking in like, ‘Who’s being attached to him that’s going (into a trade)?’ So you had that uneasy feeling,” Niang said. “So now (this season) it’s like we did trade Matisse (Thybulle in a four-team deal). We got Jalen (McDaniels). But you know who you’re going to war with every single night.”

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • The Sixers carry a five-game winning streak into Saturday’s game with the Celtics, but Joel Embiid says they shouldn’t be focused on trying to prove anything to the team with the NBA’s best record, Pompey writes in another Inquirer story. “We’re not worried about Boston or Milwaukee,” Embiid said. “We are worried about ourselves. We can get better every single night.”
  • President of basketball operations Daryl Morey didn’t provide a direct answer when he was asked about James Harden‘s future during an appearance on ESPN’s SportsCenter (video link). Harden is expected to turn down his player option this summer, and there have been rumors that he is considering a return to the Rockets. “I know he’s just focused on this season and not the offseason, but I know that he’s focused on winning the championship,” Morey said. “He’s going to be wherever he feels like he has the best chance. Obviously his pairing with Embiid is very, very good and we feel like it’s the best pairing for the long term.”
  • Backup center Dewayne Dedmon has been ruled out for Saturday’s game with soreness in his left hip, tweets Sixers reporter Derek Bodner. Dedmon hasn’t played since signing with Philadelphia 11 days ago.

Sixers Notes: Trade Deadline, Fultz, Niang, Milton

The Sixers are hoping to land a reliable backup center before next week’s trade deadline, sources tell Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice. Montrezl Harrell and Paul Reed have been filling that role, but Harrell hasn’t been strong defensively and the coaching staff doesn’t fully trust Reed, according to Neubeck.

Neubeck states that the front office is willing to add another big man even if it can’t get rid of Harrell or Reed in the same deal. He mentions former Sixer Andre Drummond, whom the Bulls are reportedly open to trading, as an example of the type of traditional center the team wants to acquire.

Several teams have contacted the Timberwolves about Naz Reid, but Neubeck doesn’t expect him to be an option for Philadelphia. He also says the decision could wait for the buyout market, although it could be tough to find a long-term solution who’s content to be a backup for Embiid.

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Furkan Korkmaz, Danuel House and Jaden Springer are the best candidates to be moved in the type of deals the Sixers are considering, Neubeck adds. He hears from sources that Matisse Thybulle would likely be included in a “higher-end” trade, with the Kings among several teams that have shown interest in the fourth-year guard. Shake Milton, who’s headed for free agency after the season, could be useful as a trade sweetener, according to Neubeck.
  • Magic guard Markelle Fultz had 12 points and 10 assists Monday night while playing his first game in Philadelphia since being traded to Orlando in 2019, notes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers had hoped Fultz would be part of their foundation after drafting him first overall in 2017, but a combination of injuries and shooting difficulties led to him playing just 33 combined games in his two seasons with the team. “I’ve always been a big fan,” Embiid said of his former teammate. “When we traded him, I was disappointed because I felt like we were giving up on him too early.”
  • Georges Niang and Milton believe too much was made about an on-court argument they had during Saturday’s nationally televised game, per Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Niang was upset about not getting a pass from Milton on a two-on-one break, but they both joked about the incident afterward. “I just told both of them to let it go, that we had a [expletive] game to win,” Embiid said. “I think it’s also good for the team, not a bad thing. Guys get into each other, that makes us better. … After the game, we’re all laughing.”

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Niang, Maxey, Luxury Tax

Joel Embiid turned in an MVP performance Saturday afternoon while matched up with Nuggets center Nikola Jokic, who has beaten him out for the award the past two seasons, writes Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice. Embiid posted 47 points, 18 rebounds and five assists and made several big plays late in the game to help the Sixers win the battle between two of the NBA’s best teams.

Embiid was a bit too focused on his individual matchup with Jokic early on, Neubeck observes, but he began to take over the game in the second quarter, showing off his full offensive arsenal. Many of Embiid’s points came via a two-man weave with James Harden that resulted in prime scoring opportunities.

Afterward, Embiid said he doesn’t have a personal rivalry with Jokic, but he felt it was “a little disrespectful” that he wasn’t named a starter when the results of this year’s All-Star voting were announced Thursday, relays Tim Bontemps of ESPN.

“I’m used to it,” Embiid said of the snub. “It’s not the first time. I think it’s more of a motivation to go out and win the whole thing. That’s the only way I’m probably going to get that respect.”

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Georges Niang is headed for a sizable payday in free agency this summer, Neubeck adds. Niang contributed 14 points in about 18 minutes off the bench today, shooting 4-of-7 from three-point range. Neubeck calls Niang one of the NBA’s best bench shooters and expects a lot of teams to be interested when he hits the open market.
  • Tyrese Maxey has adapted well to a reserve role since the Sixers changed their starting lineup earlier this month, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer states in a mailbag column. Coming into today, Maxey was averaging 22.4 points and shooting 41.9% on three-pointers in his first five games off the bench. However, Pompey views Maxey as a long-term starter and says he needs to improve his defense this summer so he’ll be a better fit alongside Harden.
  • Luxury tax concerns will affect the Sixers’ strategy heading into the trade deadline, Pompey adds. Philadelphia is currently about $1.1MM over the threshold of $150.3MM, so Furkan Korkmaz or Jaden Springer could be unloaded to avoid the tax.

Atlantic Notes: Sims, Hartenstein, Nets, Raptors, Niang

Knicks reserve big men Jericho Sims and Isaiah Hartenstein have seen their roles expand following starting center Mitchell Robinson‘s recent thumb surgery, writes Peter Botte of The New York Post.

Sims had been out of the Knicks’ rotation in the five games leading up to Robinson’s thumb injury last week, while Hartenstein was playing backup center minutes. After Robinson went down, Sims was elevated to starter, while Thibodeau kept Hartenstein in his reserve role.

“I feel good about both guys,” New York head coach Tom Thibodeau said. “What gives us the best chance to win? It may change based on matchups… Jericho and Isaiah have been in the rotation, and that was one of the things that stood out when we were acquiring those guys was the rim protection. We felt both were capable.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Though the Kevin Durant drama may have been taking the lion’s share of headlines as far as the Nets were concerned this summer, the team made some excellent under-the-radar roster moves that are now paying off in a big way, per James Herbert of CBS Sports. Herbert singles out Brooklyn’s re-signing of Nic Claxton, its free agent additions of Yuta Watanabe and T.J. Warren, and its trade for Royce O’Neale.
  • As the Raptors continue to slide in the Eastern Conference standings, team president Masai Ujiri should look to move on from some of its best assets and begin a full-on rebuild around second-year forward Scottie Barnes, opines Bruce Arthur of The Toronto Star. Arthur believes that Toronto players OG Anunoby and Pascal Siakam could each net at least three first-round draft picks in trades, writing that at least one team previously offered three first-rounders for Anunoby.
  • Sixers reserve power forward Georges Niang is striving to play better defensively, and seems to have truly improved on that end this season, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “People try to knock me, and not give me credit because I don’t look like someone that can defend,” Niang said. “I believe if I’m out there on the court, I’m going to make it tough on anybody that I have to guard.. That’s kind of the narrative that I’m trying to spin the other way.”

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Niang, Trent Jr., Barnes, Young

Sixers star center Joel Embiid is listed as questionable for Tuesday night’s home game against the Pistons, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Embiid has missed the past three games with a sore left foot, including Philadelphia’s road win over Detroit on Sunday. P.J. Tucker is probable with a sinus infection after missing Sunday’s game.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers forward Georges Niang hopes he’ll get an invitation to participate in the 3-point contest on All-Star weekend, according to Pompey. “The three-point contest, obviously, if you’re an NBA fan, you’ve paid attention to it and watched it,” Niang said. “If you ever get a chance to be a part of that, it would be an honor.” Niang is a career 40.7% 3-point shooter and has made 42% of his attempts this season.
  • It’s no lock that the Raptors will deal Gary Trent Jr. before the trade deadline, Sportsnet’s Michael Grange said on “The Raptors Show.” (video link). After a rough patch, Trent has averaged 25 points per game in his last seven contests. Trent came off the bench for a stretch during a shooting slump. “He’s earned a lot of respect for how he’s handled himself as a pro and you look at his profile, his age, those guys are hard to find,” Grange said. However, Toronto will explore all options. “I don’t think it’s a certainty they’ll trade him. but I think it’s a certainty they’ll listen,” Grange added. Trent has an $18.56MM player option for next season.
  • Scottie Barnes and Thaddeus Young exchanged words during halftime of the Raptors’ game against Portland. They downplayed the incident, Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports tweets. “It was just a little disagreement. It was nothing serious,” Barnes said. “You have some disagreements but it was nothing serious.” Young said, “We just had a disagreement. No different than brothers going back and forth, especially when we’re both passionate about the game.” (Twitter link).