Paul Reed

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Reed, Celtics, Tillman, M. Williams

Joel Embiid isn’t eligible to win a second straight Most Valuable Player award, but that doesn’t bother him at all, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Sixers center will fall far short of the 65-game minimum to be considered for postseason honors after sitting out two months following meniscus surgery. Embiid returned this week and he’s enjoying being able to play without having to worry about the MVP race.

“I’m happy I’m not even in the conversation,” he said. “That conversation has been toxic for a very long time. I’ll be honest, this year is kind of boring. This year, there’s not enough toxicity going around. So it’s pretty fun, but at some point, it’s pretty bad, too. I’m glad I’m not nowhere near that. I’m just focused on getting back healthy. Obviously, all great candidates and they all deserve to win, which is unfortunate that only one person has [a chance] to win.”

Embiid admitted that he battled depression after tearing the meniscus in his left knee in late January, Pompey adds. Embiid is still dealing with those issues, but he said returning to the game and being with his teammates has helped improve his mental state.

“For me personally, I didn’t have to come back, but I want to play,” Embiid said. “I love playing basketball, and I want to be on the floor.”

Embiid will miss tonight’s game at San Antonio for injury recovery purposes, Pompey tweets.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Coach Nick Nurse experimented with a Twin Towers approach in Saturday’s win at Memphis, Pompey adds in a separate story. Embiid and Paul Reed played together for part of the second quarter, allowing the Sixers‘ perimeter players to be more aggressive with two shot blockers protecting the rim. “That’s something that I hope that we can go back to at some point,” Reed said. “I always look forward to playing with him at the same time. And I’m just glad I was able to play with him tonight, get the opportunity.”
  • The “stay ready crew” that comes off the Celtics‘ bench is significantly better than the reserves Joe Mazzulla had to work with last season, according to Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. Mazzulla rested his starters for the final six minutes of Friday’s win over Sacramento, giving the reserves some experience with a game on the line. “I feel like he’s doing a great job of keeping everybody involved,” Svi Mykhailiuk said. “That makes everybody stay ready because you might get that call at any time. You’ve got to be prepared, make sure you do your work, and buy into whatever we’re doing. You’ve got to understand we’ve got one of the best teams in the league — five, six All-Stars on the team — and just seeing the big picture. I think tonight showed that we’re a really deep team and coach really believes in us.”
  • Xavier Tillman, whom the Celtics acquired at midseason to provide frontcourt depth, was thrilled to hit his first NBA game-winner Friday night, per Souichi Terada of MassLive. Tillman sank a floater with 7.4 seconds remaining, and Boston held on for a one-point victory. “It was great getting the opportunity to do that,” Tillman said. “I feel like because it was crunch time, I was really locked in. Obviously the crowd was loud, but I was really zoned in, so it didn’t faze me as much. But it was great practice as far as what we’re going to go through as far as having that mental fortitude.”
  • Blake Murphy of examines the unlikely journey of Malik Williams, who signed a 10-day contract with the Raptors this week and wound up starting in his NBA debut. Toronto has used 30 players — one short of the record set this season by Memphis — which is why there was an opportunity for Williams, who was cut by the G League team in Sioux Falls earlier this season.

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.

Atlantic Notes: Brown, Raptors, Reed, Nurse, Maxey, Celtics

After missing four games with knee inflammation, Bruce Brown hopes to be able to play against his former team when the Raptors visit Denver tonight, writes Michael Grange of Brown, who played an important role in the Nuggets’ title run last season, has been increasing his workload recently and hopes he’ll receive medical clearance to take the court.

This will be Brown’s second visit to Denver, which is rare for a player in the opposite conference. He picked up his championship ring on January 14 when he was still with the Pacers, three days before being shipped to Toronto in the Pascal Siakam trade.

I always looking forward to coming back here,” Brown said. “Great fans, great fan base, excited to see my previous teammates. It will be great to see everyone.”

Brown is officially questionable for Monday’s contest, while Immanuel Quickley (left hip flexor strain), Chris Boucher (right knee contusion) and Gary Trent Jr. (groin strain) are all out, according to Grange (Twitter links). RJ Barrett, who missed Saturday’s loss to Portland with an illness, is probable.

Here’s more from the Atlantic:

  • Sixers big man Paul Reed criticized the officiating following Friday’s loss to New Orleans, per Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports (Twitter video link). “Just knowing that the referees are going to be the referees, and we’re going to have to beat them too. So we got to already be expecting that,” Reed said. Philadelphia was victorious on Sunday vs. New York, with Reed recording 13 points, seven rebounds and four blocks. The team was plus-13 in his 28 minutes in the ugly 79-73 win.
  • While Reed lamented the officiating, head coach Nick Nurse was more unhappy with the Sixers‘ effort in the first half of Friday’s game, calling their offensive approach “soft,” writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (subscription required). “We tried to jump-shoot our way to a lead early, and you can’t count on that,” Nurse said. “ … That’s not good enough. You’ve got to play tougher than that. You’ve got to put your nose in there and drive it in the paint and try to get to the foul line and draw some defense and kick it out to somebody who’s open.” Nurse also said he’s still evaluating the make-shift rotation following a number of injuries, most notably to reigning MVP Joel Embiid.
  • Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey has missed the past four games while in the NBA’s concussion protocol, but he has been cleared to return on Tuesday against the Knicks, sources tell ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The first-time All-Star is set to hit restricted free agency this summer and will likely command a massive payday.
  • The Celtics‘ entire starting lineup is on the injury report for tonight’s game in Portland, tweets Keith Smith of Spotrac. Jaylen Brown (sacroiliac strain), Jrue Holiday (left knee tendinopathy), Jayson Tatum (right ankle impingement) and Derrick White (left hand sprain) are questionable, while Kristaps Porzingis will miss his second straight game with right hamstring tightness.
    [Update: Brown, Tatum and White are active, but Holiday will be out, Smith tweets.]
  • Heading into Saturday’s contest vs. Phoenix, the Celtics had dropped two straight games for only the second time during the 2023/24 season. They responded with a victory they badly wanted, as Jay King of The Athletic writes. “Just not letting it snowball effect, right,” said Tatum, who specifically asked to play the entire second half. “We’re not perfect. We try to be. We really do try. But we make mistakes and things like that. This is a tough league. The other teams are really good, got great players. So it’s all about how you respond. If you want to be a special team, you have to do a really good job of responding. Especially winning on the road is tough, being away from home for 10, 12 days or whatever. So this is a great way to come out here and get a win against a team that’s been playing well lately.”

Arthur Hill contributed to this post.

Atlantic Notes: Maxey, Sixers, Simmons, Barnes, Agbaji

Tyrese Maxey capped a rare weekend at home by leading the Sixers to a win at Dallas on Sunday afternoon, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The Garland, Texas, native had a large contingent of family members in the crowd to watch his 24-point performance in a much-needed road victory. He had an injury scare when he was struck in the back of the head late in the third quarter, but he said the presence of his family inspired him to keep playing.

“I will say this, when I did hit my head, I saw my twin nieces,” Maxey said. “They were up, like, ‘Boy, you better get up and you better be OK, or we’re coming down there.’”

Pompey notes that Maxey has been forced to become Philadelphia’s primary scorer in the wake of Joel Embiid‘s meniscus injury. At the beginning of the season, coach Nick Nurse wanted Maxey to focus on running the offense and improving his defense. But the loss of Embiid created a need for Maxey to carry more of the offensive load, and the recent addition of Kyle Lowry has taken away some of his play-making duties.

“He’s clearly our best offensive player, like, clearly, and we need him to shoot a lot,” Nurse said. “And he’s still not quite thinking, ‘I’m coming down, I’m going to shoot it like five times in a row if I make one.’ I’m still pushing the aggressive part of it first and foremost, because it’s really not his total nature yet.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Sixers have won back-to-back games since Nurse inserted Lowry and Mohamed Bamba into the starting lineup, Pompey notes in a separate story. Backup big man Paul Reed is coming off the bench again like he was when Embiid was healthy. “I think he’s comfortable in that role,” Maxey said. “That’s the role he plays when the big fella is here. So I think it just got him going. He was out there playing with a lot more energy. I think he likes the new role.”
  • Ben Simmons remains on the Nets‘ injury report, although the reason has changed, per Jared Schwartz of The New York Post. Simmons missed the last two games with left leg soreness and sat out the game before that due to rest and maintenance because he hasn’t received medical clearance to play in back-to-backs. He has been ruled out for tonight with a left lower back nerve impingement, a condition that caused him to miss a significant chunk of time earlier this season, tweets Ian Begley of SNY.
  • Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic said “nothing is off the table” in terms of treatment for Scottie Barnes, who fractured a bone in his left hand last week, according to Michael Grange of Barnes’ absence has already created an opportunity for Ochai Agbaji, acquired from Utah at the trade deadline, who made his first start with Toronto Sunday night.

Atlantic Notes: Rivers, Simmons, C. Johnson, Dick

Sixers players are eager to welcome back Doc Rivers, who will return to Philadelphia this afternoon for the first time since being fired as the team’s head coach last spring, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Rivers was out of coaching for just a few months, leaving an analyst job with ESPN to take over the Bucks in January. Most of the Sixers’ roster played under Rivers, including Tyrese Maxey, who developed into an All-Star with help from his former coach.

“I appreciate Doc, you know? I really do,” Maxey said. “I think one thing that I do appreciate him for is early in my career, like my rookie year, he made me earn my spot, and that’s gonna go a long way for me. I felt like I was good enough to play, but he was able to humble me and make me earn my spot.”

Rivers still had two seasons remaining on his contract when the Sixers decided to dismiss him following a Game 7 loss to Boston in the Eastern Conference semifinals. It marked the third straight year the team had been ousted in the second round, and management believed a change was necessary to make a longer playoff run.

Paul Reed, who has become Philadelphia’s starting center while Joel Embiid is injured, tells a similar story to Maxey’s, saying Rivers guided him to become a better player.

“I had to earn minutes with Doc,” Reed said. “He wouldn’t give young guys minutes. I just learned how to play the game the right way. It ain’t all about scoring.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets guard Ben Simmons was forced out of Saturday night’s game after hurting his left leg in the third quarter, per Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Interim coach Kevin Ollie originally told reporters that Simmons injured his knee and would have imaging done, but a team spokesman later clarified that the injury is elsewhere on the leg and that no tests are planned. Injuries have limited Simmons to 14 games this season and 56 total since Brooklyn acquired him in 2022.
  • Cameron Johnson came off the bench for the second straight game since Ollie took over as the Nets‘ interim coach, Lewis adds. Ollie indicated that Johnson, who signed a four-year, $95MM extension last summer, will be given a chance to win his starting job back. “Roles are going to change; nothing is permanent,” Ollie said. “But I want him to embrace this team role that he has and come out there and play his best minutes. And I think we’re going to see that from CJ and understanding that we have to do things as a team and focus on that.”
  • Raptors coach Darko Rajakovic believes Gradey Dick is “getting more comfortable playing NBA minutes” (YouTube video link). The rookie shooting guard has settled into a regular bench role and scored 18 points Friday in Atlanta.

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: Embiid, PPP, Reed, Maxey

Nuggets coach Michael Malone expects the NBA to investigate the Sixers after Joel Embiid was a late scratch for Saturday’s game at Denver, writes Bennett Durando of The Denver Post. Embiid wasn’t listed on Philadelphia’s injury report, but the team’s medical staff decided to hold him out due to knee soreness after watching him in pregame warmups.

Malone suggests the decision might violate the league’s new Player Participation Policy, which discourages teams from resting star players who aren’t seriously injured. The guidelines specifically mention nationally televised games, which Saturday’s contest was as an expected meeting between Embiid and Nikola Jokic. The PPP also encourages single-game absences for stars to happen at home rather than on the road.

“I don’t know how you go from being active, available, to out. And I’m sure the league will do their due diligence, because that’s frowned upon,” Malone said. “And we’ve had situations this year where we talked to the league, and they told us if a player goes from being active to out, there’s going to be an investigation. So I’m sure that’ll happen. And I’m sure that Joel, he hurt his knee in the Indiana game. Like, that’s real. … I’m sure he is hurt.”

There’s more on the Sixers:

  • Embiid took a lot of heat for missing the game, including a derisive chant of “Where’s Embiid at?” from Nuggets fans, notes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Coach Nick Nurse defended his star center, saying Embiid has been experiencing knee pain for some time and will be reevaluated today. “I don’t think that it’s anything that’s super major,” Nurse said. “But it’s always kind of monitoring any of the swelling or whatever’s going on. Try to get it under control and get him ready as soon as we can.”
  • With Embiid unavailable, backup center Paul Reed delivered one of the best games of his career, Pompey adds. Reed posted Embiid-style numbers with 30 points, 13 rebounds and two steals and even impressed Jokic with his performance. “We don’t need to talk about Joel Embiid, not just because he didn’t play, but because I think Paul Reed played really good for them,” Jokic said. “And we need to give him credit. He was fighting, he attacked the glass, he shot the ball really well. I think he deserves, in this moment, more time than Joel.”
  • In an interview with Kelly Iko of The Athletic, Tyrese Maxey talks about being given the freedom to run the Sixers’ offense in his fourth NBA season. “It’s been great,” Maxey said. “These guys have the ultimate confidence in me, all the way from the organization down to the players, the front office. So I can just go out there and be successful every single night. Be aggressive, play my game — even through mistakes, too.”

Seventeen More Players Become Trade-Eligible

Today is Monday, January 15, which means that a total of 17 players who signed free agent contracts meeting specific criteria this past offseason are now eligible to be traded.

Most offseason signees became trade-eligible on December 15, but players who met the following criteria were ineligible to be moved for an extra month:

  1. The player re-signed with his previous team.
  2. He got a raise of at least 20%.
  3. His salary is worth more than the minimum.
  4. His team was over the cap and used Bird or Early Bird rights to sign him.

The following players met that criteria and are eligible to be traded as of Monday:

(* Players marked with an asterisk have the ability to veto trades.)

Most of the players on NBA rosters are now eligible to be moved, though a small handful still can’t be dealt. That group includes Heat guard Dru Smith, who becomes trade-eligible on Monday, Hornets guard Ish Smith (trade-eligible on January 24), Lakers star Anthony Davis (trade-eligible on February 6), and Pistons forward Kevin Knox (trade-eligible on Feb. 8).

There are also several players who won’t become trade-eligible prior to this season’s February 8 deadline, including stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo, Kawhi Leonard, and Jaylen Brown. Players on 10-day contracts are also ineligible to be dealt.

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Road Trip, Trade Talk, Melton

Reigning Most Valuable Player Joel Embiid will be back in action on Tuesday.

Embiid is ready to go after sitting out the last four games due to a sprained right ankle, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Philadelphia faces the Bulls, who defeated the Sixers in Chicago 105-92 on Saturday. The 76ers play six of their next seven games at home.

Embiid is averaging a league-high 35.0 points to go along with 11.7 rebounds and 6.0 assists per game this season.

We have more on the Sixers:

  • They went 2-2 on their road trip without Embiid. Nicolas Batum returned Saturday after missing five games with a strained right hamstring. The absences of those two players led to extended minutes for Paul Reed, Marcus Morris and Danuel House Jr. “This was a good road trip for us,” Tobias Harris told Pompey. “Two-and-two, to finish out with kind of a mini-identity to this group without playing with the big fella. … We continue to get guys back in the rotation as well, so different variables. But at the end of the day, overall on the road trip, I thought we made a lot of progress. We grew and developed as a team through those games.”
  • In the aftermath of the Knicks acquiring OG Anunoby, coach Nick Nurse was asked if the Sixers needed to make a move before the trade deadline. Philadelphia already made a major trade by shipping James Harden to Los Angeles but Nurse isn’t averse to another alteration to the roster, according to Pompey. “I think you always have to be in the mindset to upgrade at all times,” Nurse said. “Whether I was coaching the Iowa Energy, or coaching the Sixers, there’s always places. Can you improve 10 through 12? Can you improve eight through 10? Can you improve three through five? You are always trying to do that or you are getting assets so you can do something else.”
  • De’Anthony Melton won’t play on Tuesday due to lumbar spine soreness, Pompey tweets.
  • In case you missed it, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski recently reported the Sixers are unlikely to make another major move this season. The Sixers could have more cap space than any other team in 2024 if they don’t add long-term salary this season.

Atlantic Notes: Raptors, Melton, Reed

If the Raptors want to remain competitive, they need to play Scottie Barnes, Pascal Siakam and OG Anunoby more minutes, argues Michael Grange of

Grange points out that Barnes’ year-over-year minutes are virtually unchanged despite the noticeable improvements he’s made in his third season, while Siakam — who led the league in minutes per game each of the past two seasons — and Anunoby are both playing fewer minutes in 2023/24. That three-man group has a plus-1.3 net rating, compared to the team’s overall minus-1.5 mark.

New head coach Darko Rajakovic has been reluctant to extend his top players beyond the 38-minute mark, however.

One thing that we cannot overlook is… we have (had) a pretty healthy roster this season,” said Rajakovic. “That’s a testament to our medical staff but also us working together to try to manage those minutes. I always look at the long-term benefits for the player, for the team, for the organization and for everybody. I think that every single night running guys to 38, 40 minutes, it’s really, really hard. But on certain nights if that happens, it happens.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic:

  • Blake Murphy of considers potential trade targets for the Raptors, focusing on solid young player who have a chance to become stars. Pelicans wing Trey Murphy, Knicks guard Immanuel Quickley and Hawks forward Jalen Johnson are three of the five players Murphy mentions.
  • Sixers guard De’Anthony Melton sustained a left thigh contusion in the first half of Wednesday’s contest against Minnesota and was ruled out for the remainder of the game, the team announced (Twitter link via Derek Bodner of PHLY Sports). Melton, who has started every game for the 76ers while averaging 11.9 points, 4.0 rebounds, 3.5 assists and 1.6 steals, will be a free agent in 2024.
  • With Nicolas Batum (hamstring) and Robert Covington (illness) both out for Wednesday’s game, Sixers backup center Paul Reed said he was ready to play in the frontcourt alongside Joel Embiid if necessary, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The two big men shared the together for 62 seconds in Monday’s loss to Chicago, Pompey notes. “I’ve got to make sure I’m ready to be out there again with [Embiid], if need be,” Reed said. “… I wish we were able to spend more time out there [Monday], so we can have a better rhythm.”