Mohamed Bamba

Sixers Notes: Reed, Bamba, Embiid, Jones

Paul Reed is helping the Sixers battle to avoid the play-in tournament while Joel Embiid recovers from meniscus surgery, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. At 6’9″, Reed isn’t an imposing physical force like Embiid, but he has learned how to be effective against larger opponents.

“I understand what the team needs from me,” Reed said. “And I understand where my shots can come from. And what shots are cool for me to take within our offense.”

Reed is trying to shake a slump that has seen him average just 5.5 PPG over the last four games while shooting 24.8% from the field. But offense isn’t Reed’s primary contribution, and he’s managed to deliver 7.5 rebounds, 1.1 steals and 1.7 blocks per game during that time while sharing center duties with Mohamed Bamba.

Reed was inserted into the starting lineup when Embiid was injured in late January. He was eventually moved back into his traditional reserve spot, with Bamba taking over as the starter, and both players are more comfortable in their current roles.

“He plays so much bigger than his size,” Bamba said of Reed. “His ability to rebound, his ability to just kind of make plays off of broken plays. It looks pretty unique out there, at times. But when the ball goes through the net, it’s all right. The crazy part is … he works a lot on the stuff he does.”

There’s more on the Sixers:

  • Embiid has entered the “ramp up” phase of his recovery process, coach Nick Nurse said this week (Twitter video link from Duane Rankin of The Arizona Republic). He will start with 1-on-1 work, eventually move to 5-on-5, and then must be cleared for contact before attempting to play in an actual game.
  • In a mailbag column, Pompey examines when Embiid might be able to return to the lineup. He states that the ideal time would be an April 2 home game against Oklahoma City, which would provide nearly two weeks to prepare for the playoffs. Philadelphia has a three-game road trip after that with stops in Miami, Memphis and San Antonio before concluding the season at home against Detroit, Orlando and Brooklyn. The Sixers are a half-game out of the sixth spot in the East, and the number of games they get from Embiid could go a long way in determining where they finish.
  • Kai Jones suffered a hamstring injury in his second G League game after signing a 10-day contract last week, Pompey adds in the same piece. Jones’ deal will expire on Sunday, and the injury may prevent him from getting another 10-day opportunity. The team signed Jones with the intention of keeping him in the G League to monitor his game, according to Pompey.

Sixers Notes: Lowry, Embiid, Covington, Bamba, Harris

Kyle Lowry had some extra motivation on Monday night as he faced the Heat for the first time since they traded him in January, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Miami sent Lowry to Charlotte in that deal, and after a buyout, he signed with his hometown Sixers shortly before the All-Star break. Coach Nick Nurse noticed a difference in the veteran guard as he prepared for his 12th game with his new team.

“I don’t know if it’s for (the Heat) or he’s finally starting to settle in,” Nurse said. “He was being a little ornery at shootaround today, and he hasn’t been yet. So it looks like he’s getting back to more of himself there.”

Lowry played an important role in Monday’s victory, Pompey notes, burying a three-pointer with 3:09 remaining in the game to give Philadelphia a 93-87 lead, then converting a reverse layup to push the margin back to six points with 1:36 left. He scored 16 points, his high in a Sixers uniform, and said he’s feeling more comfortable after a long layoff in the middle of the season.

“Nick said it to me today, he said ‘welcome back’ a little bit before in the morning,” Lowry said. “But I think it’s just one of those things I understand what our team needs sometimes. I’m not trying to overstep boundaries. I’m trying to help my teammates. And I know one thing about coach, he’s going to always let me be me. He trusts me and I trust him.”

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • The Sixers are just 12-22 without Joel Embiid, who’s recovering from meniscus surgery, and Monday marked the third time this season they’ve won two straight games without their starting center, Pompey adds. Although the team remains optimistic that Embiid can return sometime next month, Tyrese Maxey said it’s also important to establish an identity without him. “Going into the NBA season you don’t plan to not have somebody,” Maxey said. “I mean, especially an MVP like Jo. So once you get into that situation, you have to kind of reconstruct things. Reconstruct minutes, reconstruct rotations and all of that takes time.”
  • Embiid was able to participate in practice Sunday for the first time since hurting his knee, Pompey states in a separate story. Nurse said he was limited to “non-contact stuff,” and a timeline still hasn’t been set for his return. Robert Covington, who has been sidelined since December 30 with a bone bruise in his left knee, also took part in non-contact drills.
  • With Embiid sidelined, Mohamed Bamba has started nine of the last 10 games at center, Pompey notes in another piece. Bamba said it’s easier to get into the flow of the game as a starter. “It’s all about establishing myself early on in the game, defensively,” he said. “When you’re coming off the bench, you kind of have to catch a rhythm as quick as possible. You tend to chase big plays. When you chase big plays, you chase home runs. It tends to either go really well or really bad.”
  • Tobias Harris missed his second straight game on Monday with a sprained right ankle, Pompey tweets.

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Maxey, Harris, Drummond, Deadline Approach

As Joel Embiid prepares for surgery, Sixers coach Nick Nurse said the reigning Most Valuable Player is experiencing a range of emotions, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports.

“I think he’s probably a little up and down to be honest with you,” Nurse said on Monday. “But I get some pretty positive vibes, which is why I say he’s up. Some encouraging things. And then there’s time when he’s probably about what you would be like.”

Embiid will soon undergo lateral meniscus surgery for a tear in his left knee. He’s expected to miss an extended amount of time but a firm timetable can’t be established until the surgical procedure is complete.

“There’s some tough moments to go though, thinking about what could be and what’s going to happen next, the road to recovery and all that kind of stuff,” Nurse said. “You know you got to take a positive spin on it. Anybody in life in an illness or sickness has got to say ‘I’m going to bounce back and I’m going be ready, right?’ I get some of that from him, too.”

We have more on the Sixers:

  • Embiid will miss at least a month, no matter how well the surgery goes and how limited the damage is to his knee, Shams Charania reported on the Run It Back FanDuel show (video link). “I’m told that the hope is that Embiid misses one to two months. I’m told that’s the best case, minimum scenario,” Charania said.
  • While Embiid is on the mend, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris will have to take on more responsibilities, Paul Reed and Mohamed Bamba will need to hold the fort in the middle, and wings such as Nicolas Batum will have to pitch in, Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.
  • A reunion with Andre Drummond? Pompey believes the Sixers should target the Bulls’ backup center in trade talks. Drummond backed up Embiid during the 2021/22 season.
  • Along the same theme, Pompey discusses other potential trade targets, as well as detailing the expiring contracts and draft capital Philadelphia could use to make moves before Thursday’s trade deadline.

Sixers Notes: Bamba, Maxey, Embiid, Trade Options

Tonight will mark the first trip to Orlando for Sixers center Mohamed Bamba since the Magic traded him in February, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Bamba was the sixth overall pick in the 2018 draft, but he never developed into the starting-caliber center that Orlando hoped he would be. He was shipped to the Lakers at last year’s trade deadline and signed with Philadelphia this summer, but he remains close with his former Magic teammates.

“Yeah, that’s family over there, you know, all those guys,” Bamba said after Monday’s game. “I’m probably going to stop by Jalen Suggs’ mom’s house tomorrow just to kick it. But that’s family, Cole (Anthony), Wendell (Carter Jr.), Kelle (Markelle Fultz). Those are guys that I can say I grew up with in the league.”

The Lakers hosted the Magic in March, but Bamba wasn’t able to play because of an injury. He’s expected to see plenty of minutes tonight with Joel Embiid sidelined by an ankle sprain, and he’s coming off his best game of the season with 18 points, six rebounds and two steals Monday at Miami.

“It’s just a matter of getting out there and trying not to be the game, throwing out the game,” Bamba said. “You don’t get enough minutes to be out there throwing away minutes, feeling out the game. But I got an opportunity to feel them out (during the first stretch), came back, made some changes and tried to be a little more aggressive.”

There’s more on the Sixers:

  • Philadelphia has lost all four games that Embiid has missed this season, and the other players have to figure out how to win without the reigning MVP, Pompey states in a separate story. He notes that Embiid’s absence has been particularly tough on Tyrese Maxey, who was limited to 12 points Monday and is averaging just 20.3 PPG while shooting 37.5% from the field and 17.3% from three-point range when Embiid hasn’t played.
  • Embiid has been ruled out for tonight, but his status for Friday’s game at Houston hasn’t been determined, Pompey adds. Coach Nick Nurse is optimistic that his ankle sprain won’t be a long-term issue. “We have a very deep roster of people who can play at a high level,” Kelly Oubre said. “It’s about consistency. … So tomorrow’s a new challenge for us to show we can win without Jo. And we’ll see what happens.”
  • Tim Bontemps and Bobby Marks of ESPN look at the options for president of basketball operations Daryl Morey as he tries to add another star to the Sixers’ lineup. Morey’s ability to make a deal will expand on January 1 when aggregate restrictions are lifted for Nicolas Batum, Robert Covington, Marcus Morris and KJ Martin, who were acquired from the Clippers in the James Harden trade. The ESPN authors examine the pros and cons of trying to land a big name or some smaller pieces before the trade deadline or waiting until the offseason to make significant moves.

Atlantic Notes: Finney-Smith, Claxton, Sixers’ Bench, Batum

Dorian Finney-Smith has been replaced in the Nets’ starting lineup by high-scoring Cam Thomas but the veteran forward isn’t pouting about it, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

“Oh, it wasn’t difficult at all, man. If that’s what they think is going to help us be successful, then I’m with it,” Finney-Smith said. “As long as I’m on the (floor), I can get on the court and play, and play my minutes hard. That’s all I can focus on. If (the Nets) win, everybody’s happy.”

Finney-Smith, who is signed through the 2025/26 season with a player option in the final year, is considered a trade candidate who could fetch draft capital if the Nets make him available.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • When HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto asked Nets center Nic Claxton about a Spencer Dinwiddie comment that Claxton could be worth $100MM in free agency, Claxton didn’t shy away from that notion. “I think he’s definitely telling the truth, but I can’t get caught up in all that,” said Claxton, an unrestricted free agent after the season. “I’ve got to go out and continue to do what I do. I know that financially, I’ll be taken care of at the end of the day.” Claxton added that he loves it in Brooklyn and hopes he can work out a deal with the Nets.
  • The Sixers have been involved in a number of blowouts in recent games and that’s given the end-of-the-bench players a chance to shed their warmups for extended action. They’ve been taking those minutes seriously, Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. “Obviously, the third unit doesn’t have Joel Embiid,” Mohamed Bamba said. “But we definitely still practice the same plays. We still preach the same spacing and concepts and everything. It’s a matter of — I guess, if you want to say ‘show’ anything — showing the coaches that you know the plays, you know the coverages and you’re really dialed in.”
  • Sixers forward Nicolas Batum sat out Tuesday’s practice after leaving Monday’s game against Chicago with right hamstring tightness, Mizell tweets. Coach Nick Nurse said Batum will be out for “a couple days.” Marcus Morris and Robert Covington also missed practice due to illness.

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: Beverley, Morris, Bamba, Embiid

Patrick Beverley nearly led the Sixers to an unlikely win Friday night in Boston with three starters sidelined, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Playing without Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, who both missed the game due to illness, and Nicolas Batum, who was ruled out shortly before game time with a hyperextended right index finger, Philadelphia was able to hang around and almost pull out a road victory.

“Well, I think the biggest positive is I thought we outplayed them,” coach Nick Nurse said. “I thought we outplayed them. We gave ourselves a chance to win. We didn’t get many good bounces there the last two, three minutes of the game.”

The Sixers got a much-needed lift from Beverley, the veteran guard who was signed this summer to upgrade the defense and provide fiery leadership. Beverley did a little bit of everything on Friday, sinking 10 of 15 shots and delivering season highs with 26 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. He said he doesn’t alter his approach when his high-scoring teammates aren’t available.

“I don’t think my mindset really changes,” Beverley said. “I want to go out there and try to impact the game, impact winning.”

There’s more on the Sixers:

  • Marcus Morris is one of the few players who have been on both sides of the Celtics-Sixers rivalry, Pompey notes in a separate story. Morris is still a fan favorite in Boston, but the North Philadelphia native was thrilled to return home as part of the James Harden trade last month. “Philly is my hometown,” he said. “So playing for the Sixers is everything. My time here in Boston was great. The fans here were great. I loved playing here. But if there was a side I had to choose, it would be Philly.”
  • Embiid’s absence allowed third-string center Mohamed Bamba to play nearly 20 minutes and post season highs with 11 points and six rebounds, Pompey states in another piece. Bamba told reporters he feels like he has “a raw deal” in Philadelphia after signing as a free agent this summer, but he tries to be ready when opportunities arise. “It’s not easy to do,” he said of not playing regularly. “People think you’re not playing, you should be able to come in if you’re healthy and be ready to go. But a lot of basketball is having rhythm, having that continuity with the guys you’re out there with. I think being out there is a big part of it. But these guys make it easy for me to come in.”
  • Friday marked the first time this season the Sixers were able to remain competitive without Embiid, following blowouts in the previous two games he missed, Pompey adds. “The last couple of games without Embiid, we felt like we were really soft all together,” Morris said. “We were trying to make it a point with this game with Embiid on the court or without him on the court to come out and be aggressive and play aggressive, even if we are not making shots.”

Atlantic Notes: C. Johnson, Petrusev, Bamba, Keels

Cameron Johnson‘s new four-year contract with the Nets is front-loaded, with a cap hit of approximately $25.7MM in 2023/24. His cap charges in the subsequent three seasons will all be lower than that, including a drop to $21.6MM in ’25/26.

Discussing his new deal on Tuesday, Johnson explained that he hopes the structure of the contract will help the Nets be more financially flexible in future years than they would have been if he had agreed to traditional annual raises.

“Yes, that’s a big part of it,” Johnson said, according to Brian Lewis of The New York Post. “I want to be surrounded by the best players possible. I want to be on the best team possible. So as to how the contract is weighted, it’s not like they’re taking or adding anything to it, it’s just a distribution of it. So I was trying to be as flexible as possible in allowing the best for the team situation.”

Here’s more from around the Atlantic:

  • Will draft-and-stash prospect Filip Petrusev sign his first NBA contract with the Sixers this offseason? Head coach Nick Nurse seemed to suggest as much during an appearance on Tyrese Maxey‘s Maxey on the Mic podcast, referring to the 2021 second-rounder as a player “who’s going to be on the roster this year” (hat tip to Eurohoops). With James Harden‘s trade request still unresolved and Philadelphia bringing back Paul Reed and Montrezl Harrell to go along with new addition Mohamed Bamba, it would be a little surprising if the team is fully committed to bringing Petrusev – another center – stateside for 2023/24, but it sounds like it might happen.
  • Speaking of Bamba, he spoke to reporters on Monday about his decision to sign with the Sixers and the role he expects to play with his new NBA team. As Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer details, the former lottery pick will be looking to show that he can be relied upon as a regular rotation player. “The next step for me is just consistency,” Bamba said. “Barring any injuries, just being out there and, you know, doing what I do best, protecting the rim, touching the floor and being so much more of a lob threat.”
  • Restricted free agent guard Trevor Keels is looking to show the Knicks with his Summer League play that he deserves to be part of the team’s plans going forward, writes Zach Braziller of The New York Post. He’s off to a shaky start, scoring just 10 points on 4-of-13 shooting during his first two games in Las Vegas — New York has been outscored by 52 points during his 33 minutes on the floor, per Braziller.

Sixers Sign Mohamed Bamba To One-Year Deal

JULY 9: Bamba’s deal is official, the Sixers announced on Twitter.

JULY 5: Mohamed Bamba is signing a one-year deal with the Sixers, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). It will be for the veteran’s minimum, according to Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice (Twitter link).

The 76ers still plan on keeping restricted free agent Paul Reed, according to Wojnarowski, who notes that Bamba will be an insurance policy at backup center if Reed were to depart.

The sixth overall pick of the 2018 draft, Bamba spent his first four-plus seasons with the Magic, who sent him to the Lakers ahead of the trade deadline. He sprained his ankle shortly after being moved to L.A. and rarely played for the Lakers off the bench even before the injury. They wound up waiving his $10.3MM contract for 2023/24 before it became guaranteed.

In total, Bamba appeared in 49 games in 2022/23, averaging 6.6 points and 4.6 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per contest. He posted a shooting line of .485/.387/.661.

Although he has flashed the ability to stretch the floor and protect the rim, he hasn’t done either very consistently. Despite being 7’0″ with an enormous 7’10” wingspan, Bamba is very much a jump shooter offensively, rarely finishing in the paint or getting to the free throw line. He also makes a lot of mistakes in attempting to block shots he shouldn’t defensively, leaving the weak side open behind him.

Bamba saw his role with the Magic decline last season after the team added Wendell Carter and Paolo Banchero. He was outplayed by Moritz Wagner for the backup center job (Wagner re-signed with the Magic on a two-year, $16MM deal), and that’s partly why they moved Bamba.

Still just 25, Bamba could have some untapped upside. He’s blessed with enviable physical tools and he’s a low-risk signing at the league minimum.

Even if Reed does return, it’s possible Bamba could outplay him and become the team’s backup center behind Joel Embiid, though based on playing style, I would favor Reed’s aggression for the job, especially with Nick Nurse as head coach.

Pacific Notes: Goodwin, Reaves, D-Lo, Vincent, Lakers, K. Martin

Two new but established Suns leaders, star guard Bradley Beal and head coach Frank Vogel, are looking forward to seeing the impact that another former Wizard, Jordan Goodwin, will have on the team, writes Dana Scott of The Arizona Republic.

The 6’3″ combo guard was part of the package Phoenix acquired in its blockbuster trade for Beal. Goodwin, still just 24, carved out a significant role off the bench in Washington in 2022/23. In 62 contests last season, he averaged 6.6 PPG, 3.3 RPG, 2.7 APG and 0.9 SPG.

“I think Jordan is going to surprise a lot of people,” Beal said. “A lot may not know who he is, but he is nasty tenacious defender who loves the game, who will compete at both ends of the floor.”

“He’s a very compelling talent,” Vogel said. “As we fill out the rest of our roster, we want to make sure we’re one of the most physical, toughest teams in the NBA. And Jordan at the guard position represents that, so I’m excited to watch him work.”

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • The Lakers are looking to maximize the skill set of returning guard Austin Reaves, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, who hears that the team will explore the 6’5″ swingman’s play-making abilities by running the offense through him more often next season. After being moved into a full-time starting role for the Lakers during the season, the 25-year-old averaged 18.3 PPG on .571/.486/.898 shooting splits, 6.1 APG, and 3.3 RPG.
  • Although D’Angelo Russell is the early favorite to be the Lakers‘ starting point guard next season, Buha hears from sources that new addition Gabe Vincent could win the role if he outperforms Russell during L.A.’s training camp.
  • The Lakers are looking to add a center to fill its 14th roster spot, Buha adds. Sources tell Buha that Mohamed Bamba and Tristan Thompson are both candidates for the gig, but that the club could also wait out the market and see if more intriguing possibilities emerge.
  • Newly acquired Clippers small forward Kenyon Martin Jr. could help infuse an older L.A. roster with a healthy dose of athleticism, Law Murray of The Athletic writes. Martin, a Southern California native, brings an explosive vertical burst to the table, though he won’t score much outside of the post. His main contributions will be in and around that terrain on offense, while defensively he has some tools but still needs to develop.