Joel Embiid

Injury Notes: Embiid, Nets, Lyles, Fultz, LeVert

Sixers center Joel Embiid will be sidelined for Wednesday’s game in Minnesota due to left hip soreness, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

While Embiid has been frequently impacted by injuries over the course of his career, there’s no indication at this point that his hip issue is a cause for any real concern. Wednesday’s contest is the second night of a back-to-back set and it will be the first game that the reigning MVP has missed this season. He played 41 minutes in Tuesday’s overtime loss to Cleveland.

Here are a few more injury-related notes from around the NBA:

  • Nets guard Ben Simmons (back nerve impingement) is making progress in his recovery and has begun “light individual court work,” but he’ll be sidelined for at least seven-to-10 more days, the team announced today in a press release. Brooklyn offered a more positive update on Cam Thomas, who has made “significant improvement” in his recovery from a left ankle sprain and has been cleared for increased on-court work. He’s expected to be integrated into team activities next week, according to the club. Guard Dennis Smith Jr., meanwhile, is day to day with a lower back sprain.
  • Kings forward Trey Lyles, who has yet to play this season due to a left calf strain, appears to be on the verge of his season debut. According to Chris Biderman of The Sacramento Bee, Lyles is expected to be active on Wednesday vs. New Orleans, while Keegan Murray (lower back soreness) will likely be ruled out. Both players were listed as questionable in the NBA’s most recent injury report.
  • Magic guard Markelle Fultz is unavailable for a seventh straight game on Wednesday vs. Denver due to left knee tendinitis, tweets Jason Beede of The Orlando Sentinel.
  • In addition to missing Donovan Mitchell for the past three games, the Cavaliers have also been without Caris LeVert, who is dealing with knee soreness, for their past two contests, tweets Chris Fedor of The Cavs haven’t missed a beat without the two guards, however, and are currently riding a four-game winning streak.

Atlantic Notes: Reed, Oubre, Mazzulla, Celtics’ Starters

The Sixers retained Paul Reed in free agency on a three-year, $23.5MM deal this summer. Coach Nick Nurse would like to get more bang for those bucks and expand the big man’s playing time, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

“I think that Paul (has) played so well that it’s hard to not let him stay out there. In fact, I’ve been trying to keep him out there a little bit longer, figure out a way to keep him out there,” the Sixers coach said of Reed, who is averaging 4.1 points and career highs of 4.4 rebounds and 1.0 assist in 13 minutes per night as Joel Embiid’s backup.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Kelly Oubre took another step in his recovery from being struck by a vehicle while walking in a hit-and-run accident. The Sixers forward returned to the practice court on Monday, Pompey writes. Oubre suffered broken ribs in the incident. He’ll be reevaluated in approximately one week. “I think getting him moving was the first step,” Nurse said. “Getting him into some contact and things is the next step. I think after [Tuesday] we’ll have a little better read on the timeline.”
  • Celtics coach Joe Mazzulla asserted himself and sent a message by pulling his stars in the third quarter against Memphis on Sunday and it worked, John Tomase of NBC Sports Boston notes. Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown and Jrue Holiday sat for a seven-plus minute stretch while reserves closed out the quarter. They returned for the fourth quarter as the team pulled out a 102-100 win. Still, Mazzulla wasn’t impressed. “I don’t think we deserved to win that game,” he said,
  • For the most part, however, the Celtics‘ starters have blended well while racing to an 11-3 record, Michael Pina of The Ringer writes. Prior to their loss to Charlotte on Monday, the starting five — that also includes Kristaps Porzingis and Derrick White — had a league-leading plus-104 overall rating while generating 124.1 points per 100 possessions on a 66.6 true shooting percentage. “[They’re] one of the best starting fives in the league, if not the best starting five in the league,” Nets head coach Jacque Vaughn said.

Sixers Notes: House, Chemistry, Embiid

Sixers reserve forward Danuel House Jr.  has stepped up in the absence of injured wings Kelly Oubre Jr. and Nicolas Batum, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. House had been behind starter Oubre and his primary backup, Batum, on the depth chart prior to their absences.

In just 18:22 of action Friday, House scored 14 points on 5-of-8 shooting from the floor against the Hawks. Philadelphia is hoping he can maintain that offensive momentum with Oubre and Batum still sidelined.

House is on the second season of a two-year, $8.4MM deal he signed with the Sixers in 2022. He’ll be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

There’s more out of the City of Brotherly Love:

  • With James Harden now in Los Angeles, the Sixers’ team chemistry is suddenly off the charts, writes Pompey in a separate piece. Philadelphia is 9-3 on the year, and looking to improve to 10-3 this afternoon in Brooklyn. Pompey notes that the selfishness of several prior rosters built around reigning MVP Joel Embiid seems to have dissipated with the club’s current personnel.
  • Embiid, meanwhile, looks to be making good on a preseason pledge to improve his passing this year, writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. He’s averaging a career-most 6.0 assists per game through his first 12 contests. “He’s been willing to pass, but this year, he’s really buying in,” House said. “He’s not worried about scoring 50 every night, you know what I’m saying? He wants to win.” Mizell notes that Embiid spent the Sixers’ preseason deciphering the best passing angles to use for connecting with his teammates on the court. “I never liked just being an [isolation] player,” Embiid said. “I don’t think that’s the right way to play, and I don’t feel that’s the right way to win.”
  • In case you missed it, the Sixers are said to be among the three potential trade destinations most preferred by two-time All-Star Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine.

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.

Anthony Edwards, Joel Embiid Named Players Of The Week

Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards (Western Conference) and Sixers center Joel Embiid (East) have been named the NBA’s players of the week, the league announced (via Twitter).

It’s the first player of the week award for Edwards, according to a Wolves press release. He helped lead Minnesota to a 4-0 record after averaging 31.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 2.0 steals (36.5 minutes). The Wolves are currently 7-2, a half-game out of first place in the West.

Embiid, who helped lead Philadelphia to its own undefeated week at 4-0, averaged 36.3 points, 12.5 boards, 5.0 assists and 2.0 blocks in his four appearances (34.2 minutes). The 76ers have the best record in the NBA at 8-1 and have now had the East’s player of the week twice in the season’s first 21 days — Tyrese Maxey won the award in week one.

According to the NBA (Twitter links), the other nominees in the West were Anthony Davis, Cam Reddish, Luka Doncic, Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, Jerami Grant, Nikola Jokic and Alperen Sengun, while Bam Adebayo, Giannis Antetokounmpo, Tyrese Haliburton, Myles Turner, Caris LeVert, Mark Williams, and Maxey were nominated in the East.

Sixers Notes: Depth, Newcomers, Embiid, Maxey, Harden

The Sixers look like one of the league’s deepest teams and have a “different vibe” this season under new head coach Nick Nurse, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

The other day at practice, we had three teams out, running through the plays,” Tobias Harris said. “We were on the sidelines, me, Joel [Embiid] and Tyrese [Maxey] were saying like we have 15 guys who can be in the rotation. With that means a lot of responsibility with guys just being professional and ready.”

As Pompey notes, newcomers Nicolas Batum and Robert Covington were in the rotation during Wednesday’s victory over Boston, with Batum part of the closing group.

Forward Marcus Morris, another newcomer acquired in the James Harden trade, has only played six minutes in one appearance this season. Nurse said he hopes to get a better look at the veteran forward (Twitter video link via Pompey).

I want to see him, definitely,” Nurse said. “I still think he’s got a spot in the rotation. He of all the people has played the least, so it’s just a little trickier with him. Just kind of waiting for our moment to give him a chance and see how he looks out there.”

Here are a few more notes out of Philly:

  • Gina Mizell of The Philadephia Inquirer (subscriber link) details how the four players acquired in the Harden deal — Batum, Covington, Morris and KJ Martin — have quickly acclimated to their new team. They’ve been going through film sessions, walk-throughs and scrimmages, with player development assistant Rico Hines leading the way. “It’s totally been a village in here,” Hines told Mizell, “with everybody helping [those players] get accustomed to whatever we’re trying to get accomplished. We’ve got a big picture in mind, and that’s what we’re trying to do. Just get a little better every day. Those guys see that. They feel that.”
  • After the Sixers defeated Boston on Wednesday and claimed the top spot in the East, reigning MVP Joel Embiid said the team has “a long way to go” but is “on the right path,” writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “There’s so many things that could’ve been better today,” Embiid said. “Taking care of the ball. Missed quite a few shots. Tyrese, he missed a lot of shots that he’s been making. We were not as efficient as we’ve been. But it happens. But, then again, I also like the effort and the intensity defensively, just being together, following the game plan.”
  • Maxey has repeatedly mentioned how much he appreciated James Harden as a mentor and teammate. Harden’s fondness for Maxey is quite evident as well, per Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. “He works extremely hard; good things are definitely going to come his way,” Harden said. “He listens, he puts the work in, as a young guy in this league that’s all you can ask for. As he gets more reps at that scoring, play-making role, he’ll figure things out, you know, in a good way, how different teams are gonna guard him. I’m extremely and overly proud of him; he gets an opportunity to showcase his game. … I know he’s gonna have a really good year.”

Knicks Notes: Embiid, Barrett, Robinson, Storylines

With all of their own first-round picks and swaps, plus some additional draft capital, the Knicks have been linked to multiple stars over the past year-plus, including Joel Embiid. The reigning MVP’s former Sixers teammate, P.J. Tucker, says Embiid is well aware of the rumors, according to Stefan Bondy of The New York Post.

Of course, he hears it,” Tucker said Monday. “But you never know with these situations and how it’s going to play out, what guys are thinking, what’s happening behind closed doors. You never know.”

As Bondy notes, Embiid would have to request a trade for there to even be a remote chance of him landing in New York, and with the 76ers off to a 6-1 start, there’s certainly no indication that’s in the cards anytime soon. Tucker says any outside perception of dysfunction in Philadelphia is misguided.

It wasn’t like that all,” he said. “The media is going to spin it how you want. But Philly has got a good team. We had a good team. … I think all the noise was just that: just noise.”

Here’s more on the Knicks:

  • RJ Barrett has played well in each of the past two games since returning from a left knee injury, which the team has called patellar tendinopathy. As Ian Begley of writes, Barrett says he’s going to have to play through some soreness “for a little bit,” with the injury a result of wear and tear rather than a specific incident. “I’m going to have to live with the pain,” Barrett said. “Got to be mentally tough, fight through it.”
  • Center Mitchell Robinson is averaging a career-best 12.4 rebounds through eight games, drawing praise from head coach Tom Thibodeau in the process. “I think the big thing is it’s not just the offense. He’s added the defensive rebounding, he’s been a monster on the boards,” Thibodeau said, per Peter Botte of The New York Post. “I think he’s the best offensive rebounder, we already established that. And then now he’s fourth in the league in rebounding. Every night he’s got bodies on him and he’s done a great job for us.”
  • Robinson’s incredible offensive rebounding prowess and improved “discipline and physicality” on defense are among the early-season storylines explored by Fred Katz of The Athletic, with Barrett also earning a spot due to his evolution as a decision-maker. Robinson’s defensive effort on Victor Wembanyama during Wednesday’s dismantling of the Spurs was particularly noteworthy, writes Steve Popper of Newsday (subscriber link).

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Harden, Morris, Covington, Green, Harris

Responding to James Harden‘s claim that the Sixers had him “on a leash” last season, Joel Embiid said on Thursday that he didn’t get the sense his former teammate was unhappy with his role, according to Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic and Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Embiid also questioned the idea that the 76ers’ game plan held Harden back in any way.

“In my opinion, we gave him the ball every single possession, because he’s really good. He’s an amazing player,” Embiid said. “Obviously being that great of a passer, we gave him the ball. If you watch the game we gave him the ball every single possession to go out there and do his thing. From there he had to make decisions as far as getting guys open or looking out for himself.

“I thought he did a pretty good job of just getting us into the offense and just passing the ball, getting guys open. That’s the reason why he won the assists title last year. I think maybe that might have been a discussion between coaches and him, but from our point of view I think we allowed him to have the ball every single possession.”

Speaking to reporters after the Sixers’ win over Toronto, Embiid added that he was happy the situation got resolved and that Harden got what he wanted, joking that he hopes the Sixers get to beat the Clippers in the NBA Finals next spring.

Asked about what move the 76ers might make next to strengthen their roster and make them a legitimate title contender, Embiid deferred to the front office, stressing that he has no complaints about the current roster.

“That’s not my job,” Embiid said, per Bontemps. “My only job is to try to win. I just want to make that clear. I just want to be in the best position to win. I’m always going to believe in myself anyways. It doesn’t matter who I play with. I love the guys that we have. We’re going to go and fight every single night like we’ve been doing, and we’re always going have a chance to win.”

Here’s more out of Philadelphia:

  • Veteran forward Marcus Morris, who had fallen out of the rotation in Los Angeles, is thrilled to be joining his hometown team in Philadelphia and said he didn’t feel like himself on the West Coast, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “Me coming here is like everything for me,” Morris said.
  • A Sixer from 2014-18 during the “Process” years, Robert Covington expressed excitement about returning to Philadelphia and beginning a second stint with the club, according to Pompey. “This is where I put my name on the map,” Covington said. “It feels great to be back. I’ve been in this building (the Sixers’ practice facility) when it first opened. Seeing the amount of hours spent into the development here, it’s just amazing to be back.”
  • Danny Green was “disappointed by how the final days of his tenure” with the Sixers played out, according to Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report and TNT (Twitter link). However, Haynes says the two sides still have an affinity for one another and haven’t ruled out the possibility of the veteran swingman returning to the team. Green’s contract originally called for him to receive a $500K partial guarantee if he made the opening night roster, but he agreed to reduce that figure to $200K and then was waived before November 10, when his guarantee would have increased to $500K.
  • As good as Tyrese Maxey has been in the early going this season, Pompey believes forward Tobias Harris has actually been the biggest beneficiary of Harden’s absence so far. Through four games, Harris is shooting 63.8% from the floor and is averaging 20.5 points per game, which would be a career high.

Sixers Notes: Trade Targets, Harden, Maxey, Embiid, Harris, Martin

Raptors forward OG Anunoby is a player to watch as the Sixers try to remake their roster following the James Harden trade, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype says in a conversation with Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Scotto states that Nick Nurse is a huge fan of Anunoby after coaching him in Toronto, and he would be a good fit with the current roster on both offense and defense. Scotto also points out that the Sixers would have plenty of cap room to re-sign Anunoby when he becomes a free agent next summer.

Sources tell Scotto that Philadelphia may eye a few other trade targets such as Bulls guard Zach LaVine, Cavaliers guard Donovan Mitchell and Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic. He hears the Sixers aren’t interested in pursuing Karl-Anthony Towns to play alongside Joel Embiid because he hasn’t meshed well with Rudy Gobert on the Timberwolves. Bulls swingman DeMar DeRozan would provide scoring punch, but he also brings spacing issues to the offense. Scotto doesn’t believe Philadelphia currently has interest in either Raptors forward Pascal Siakam or Trail Blazers forward Jerami Grant.

Pompey doesn’t see another ball-dominant scorer as an ideal fit because of Tyrese Maxey‘s strong play to open the season. Anunoby’s defense and Bogdanovic’s outside shooting would be more valuable, according to Pompey, and they’re likely to cost less than some of the other hypothetical targets.

Scotto and Pompey offer more on the Sixers:

  • The Clippers‘ offer that president of basketball operations Daryl Morey accepted for James Harden was the only legitimate one he received, according to Pompey. He speculates that the organization wanted to unload Harden before he was reintroduced to the team and possibly caused a distraction, and there was concern that L.A.’s interest in Harden might lessen if the team got off to a strong start. Scotto hears that the Knicks called about Harden but never made a serious offer, while the Heat weren’t involved at all.
  • The Sixers believe it will take a max contract to keep Maxey in free agency next summer, Scotto hears. The fourth-year guard has excelled as the leader of the offense with Harden sidelined, but Scotto believes the organization has to determine whether he’s best suited as a point guard or shooting guard.
  • Embiid is “monitoring the situation” to see if Morey can build a legitimate contender before making any decisions about his future, Pompey states. The Sixers are currently optimistic about keeping him happy, but Pompey warns that another early playoff exit could prompt him to ask for a trade during the offseason.
  • The Sixers will be interested in re-signing Tobias Harris, but they can’t give him close to a max contract because of how much they’ll have to pay Maxey and possibly others, Pompey adds. He points out that Philadelphia has Harris’ Bird rights, which will help with his next contract but would eat into the club’s cap room.
  • Sources tell Scotto that the Sixers are “intrigued” with Kenyon Martin Jr., who was part of the return from the Clippers in the Harden deal, and may consider re-signing him next summer if he plays well.

NBA Fines Joel Embiid $35K

The NBA has fined Sixers center Joel Embiid $35K for “repeatedly making an obscene gesture on the playing court,” the league announced on Tuesday (Twitter link).

The incident occurred late in the third quarter of Philadelphia’s home-opening win on Tuesday against Portland, with the reigning MVP making four consecutive crotch chops after making a basket while being fouled (Twitter video link via Rob Perez).

The reigning MVP is making $47.6MM this season, so the fine won’t impact him much financially. He’s under contract through 2027, though the final season is a player option.

Embiid is off to another strong start in 2023/24, averaging 31.0 PPG, 10.3 RPG, 7.0 APG, 1.0 SPG and 3.0 BPG on .547/.429/.654 shooting through three games. The 76ers are 2-1 and their next game is on Thursday vs. Toronto.

Of course, the biggest Sixers news on Tuesday came overnight, as James Harden got his wish and is being traded to the Clippers. You can find the details right here.