Tobias Harris

Sixers Notes: Rivers, Beverley, Melton, Harris

Even though he wasn’t able to deliver the championship that Philadelphia fans want, Doc Rivers has fond memories of his time with the Sixers, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Rivers reflected on his three years with the team after his Bucks posted a convincing win in his return to the Wells Fargo Center on Sunday afternoon.

“It was awesome,” Rivers said. “I mean like, really. I had three really good years here. And I’m not talking about basketball. I’m talking about life. I enjoyed my stay here. I have made friends for life here. … The fans were good. A couple of hilarious comments. I will say that.”

Management decided a coaching change was necessary last spring after the Sixers were ousted by Boston in the second round, marking the third straight year the team lost in the conference semifinals. Rivers talked about that loss, asking reporters how many of them had picked Philadelphia to win and stating that Game 6 was the team’s best chance to close out the series. He also looked back on Joel Embiid‘s development into the league MVP and the chaos surrounding Ben Simmons and James Harden.

“So [there was] a lot of stuff going on,” Rivers said. “Some of it was out of my control. But overall, for me, if you don’t win a title, you’re never exactly happy. That’s why we all do this. … But I loved it here.”

There’s more on the Sixers:

  • Also returning was Patrick Beverley, who spent the first part of the season in Philadelphia before being shipped to Milwaukee at the deadline, Pompey states in a separate story. Beverley has taken some shots at his former team on his podcast, but he was conciliatory on Sunday, saying he was “excited” to be back and he understands the reasons for the trade. “I was probably playing some of the best basketball I’ve played in my career,” he said. “So at the end of the day, that’s a business. You get a 35-year-old on a minimum. You can get a younger guy and a second-round pick for him. You can say, that’s a hell of a deal. I understand the business part of it. But wasn’t shocked. Not in this league, definitely wasn’t shocked. I’m just happy they sent me here instead of Washington, D.C., or something.”
  • De’Anthony Melton returned from a spine issue on Friday that sidelined him for most of the past two months, notes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Combined with the recent addition of Kyle Lowry, the Sixers have plenty of options in the backcourt, and coach Nick Nurse has started experimenting with three-guard lineups.
  • The Sixers need more production from Tobias Harris for the offense to be effective, especially while Embiid is sidelined with a meniscus injury, observes Kyle Neubeck of PHLY Sports.

Fischer’s Latest: Hield, Sixers, George, Pacers, Trae, Murray, More

Buddy Hield rejected a “significant” extension offer from Indiana in the fall, and with a lucrative new deal for Pascal Siakam to account for, the Pacers’ ability to retain Hield as a free agent this offseason was in doubt, which is why they sent him to the Sixers on Thursday, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports.

Philadelphia, which doesn’t currently have any guaranteed money on its books beyond 2023/24 besides Joel Embiid‘s contract, is much better positioned to retain Hield, though the 76ers will likely consider many options with their projected cap room.

Echoing Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report (Twitter video link), Fischer says star forward Paul George figures to be a top target for the Sixers if he doesn’t sign an extension with the Clippers in the coming weeks or months. Nuggets wing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, who holds a player option for 2024/25, has also been mentioned as a possible Philadelphia target, per Fischer.

The Sixers wouldn’t be the only team in play for George if he reaches free agency, according to Fischer, who suggests there have been whispers that the veteran is intrigued by the possibility of returning to Indiana and teaming up with Tyrese Haliburton. Such a move would be tricky – but certainly not impossible – from a cap perspective.

Philadelphia’s offseason outlook will hinge in part on what the team’s plans are for Tobias Harris. According to Fischer, the Sixers weren’t willing to include him in a deadline deal that would have sent him to Detroit, with Pistons wings Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks going to Philly. The Pistons may be in the mix for Harris in free agency this summer, Fischer notes, adding that Hornets forward Miles Bridges is another player expected to be on Detroit’s radar.

Here are a few more post-deadline items of interest from Fischer:

  • Multiple front offices came away from their conversations with the Hawks believing that Atlanta could make star guard Trae Young available this summer, says Fischer. However, he cautions that could “prove to be wishful thinking,” since the information is coming from rival teams rather than from the Hawks themselves. If Young were to hit the trade market, the Lakers and Spurs are among the clubs widely viewed as potential fits, Fischer adds.
  • League personnel anticipate that the Lakers will resume conversations with the Hawks about Dejounte Murray in the offseason, according to Fischer, who notes that the Pelicans could revisit their Murray talks at that point too. Atlanta is known to value multiple players on New Orleans’ roster, league sources Fischer, though one of those players – Naji Marshall – will be an unrestricted free agent this July.
  • Although there were several teams open to the idea of acquiring D’Angelo Russell, many front offices viewed his $18.7MM player option for 2024/25 as having negative value, Fischer reports. That thinking, along with Russell’s strong recent play, factored into the Lakers‘ decision to hang onto him through the deadline.
  • In addition to the recently released players who will hit the free agent market shortly, center Bismack Biyombo, forward Rudy Gay, and swingman Danny Green are among the veterans who were waived earlier in 2023/24 and continue to seek new NBA homes, Fischer writes, singling out Biyombo as a player expected to generate interest.

Eastern Rumors: Knicks, Sixers, Bogdanovic, Burks, Celtics, Hayward, More

Both the Knicks and Sixers have had trade conversations with the Pistons about the possibility of acquiring both Bojan Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, reports Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Ian Begley of hears that Detroit sought forward Tobias Harris in those conversations about Bogdanovic, noting that Harris has been a player Philadelphia is reluctant to trade. Fischer doesn’t specifically mention Harris, but says the 76ers made “no progress” in their talks with the Pistons, whereas the Knicks are believed to still be engaged with Detroit.

This is just my speculation, but presumably the return in a trade that sends Bogdanovic and Burks to the Knicks would be built around Evan Fournier‘s expiring contract and draft compensation.

Here are a few more rumors from around the Eastern Conference:

  • Barring a late surprise, the Celtics may be done making moves on the trade market, says Fischer (Twitter link). Boston was expected to explore a move for a wing after acquiring big man Xavier Tillman on Wednesday, but Fischer’s report suggests there’s not optimism that the team will find another deal in the coming hours.
  • A source close to the situation reiterated to Marc Stein (Substack link) that Gordon Hayward won’t seek a buyout from the Hornets if he remains with the team through the deadline. According to Begley, Charlotte sought a first-round pick from at least one potential trade partner that inquired about Hayward. That’s not a realistic asking price unless perhaps the Hornets were willing to take on an unwanted multiyear contract or two.
  • Raptors point guard Dennis Schröder is among the players the Bucks have expressed interest in, league sources tell Michael Scotto of HoopsHype.

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.

Pistons Rumors: Harris, LaVine, Morris, Bogdanovic, Burks

With Zach LaVine out for the season, Sixers forward Tobias Harris may be the Pistons‘ top trade target, James L. Edwards of The Athletic writes in an overview of the team’s options ahead of Thursday’s deadline. Edwards has stated since December that the Pistons have interest in Harris, who spent time in Detroit early in his career and has connections with members of the front office and coaching staff.

Harris has been a reliable scorer throughout his career and is averaging 17.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.2 assists this season while shooting 51.2% from the field and 34.4% from three-point range. The 31-year-old can handle either forward spot and would give the Pistons a frontcourt weapon to team with Cade Cunningham and Jaden Ivey.

Edwards cautions that Detroit might not be overly aggressive in pursuing Harris this week because of his upcoming free agent status. The front office may be reluctant to part with a significant asset when it will have plenty of cap room to sign him this summer.

Edwards has more on the Pistons:

  • Detroit seems to have paused trade talks regarding LaVine, but Edwards isn’t certain that the team was ever very committed to acquiring him. While he reports there were “many discussions” between the Bulls and Pistons in recent weeks, sources in the organization tell Edwards that Detroit would have only gotten serious about such a move if Chicago was willing to attach other assets like draft compensation or another player such as Patrick Williams. Edwards also speculates that the Pistons may have been willing to take on LaVine’s contract if the Bulls would have accepted expiring deals in return, but he’s not certain of that. Chicago was asking for Bojan Bogdanovic and another young player, according to Edwards, who doesn’t believe Detroit would have ever agreed to that price.
  • League sources tell Edwards that numerous teams have inquired about Monte Morris. He cites the Timberwolves as one of the most interested parties, noting that they tried to deal for the veteran guard when he was still with Washington. Morris recently returned after being sidelined by injuries for the season’s first 43 games, and Edwards suggests that Detroit might prefer to hang onto him.
  • Edwards hears that rival teams have “strong interest” in Bogdanovic and Alec Burks, but the Pistons are leaning toward keeping both players unless the current offers improve.

Joel Embiid Held Out Of Denver Game With Knee Soreness

Today’s game between the Sixers and Nuggets doesn’t include a rematch of MVP candidates Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic. Philadelphia’s training staff decided to hold Embiid out of the contest with left knee soreness after watching him in pregame warmups, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Embiid was dealing with pain in his knee during Thursday’s loss at Indiana, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. He managed to play 31 minutes and score 31 points, but he took an awkward fall at one point and grabbed at the knee. Pompey observed that Embiid had difficulty moving on defense throughout the game, and despite his great scoring night, the team was minus-20 when he was on the court.

Embiid and Jokic, who have combined to win the last three MVP awards, had their only meeting of the season on January 16 in Philadelphia. Embiid posted 41 points, seven rebounds and 10 assists in the Sixers’ five-point victory, while Jokic countered with 25 points, 19 rebounds and three assists.

Every game that Embiid misses is significant, given that he needs to play in 65 to qualify for MVP honors under the NBA’s new guidelines. Today marks his 11th missed game of the season, and it appears the knee could be a lingering issue. Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris are also sitting out the game with injuries. Embiid hasn’t played in Denver since 2019, Pompey tweets.

Today’s game is featured on ABC as part of the NBA’s “Rivals Week” promotion, but it loses a lot of its appeal without the matchup between the league’s two best centers.

Atlantic Notes: Quickley, Raptors, Harris, Thibodeau

New Raptors starting point guard Immanuel Quickley is looking to an All-NBA superstar as a point of reference for his expanded role on Toronto, per Michael Grange of Quickley has been watching game tape on Warriors point guard Stephen Curry.

“To see someone 6-foot-3, 190 pounds winning an MVP, it makes you ask yourself: ‘Why can’t I be great? If you have the work ethic, why can’t you go out and accomplish great things?’” Quickley said. “It’s always great to see great players do well, especially players who have the same kind of body type as you, it’s just cool to see that.”

Curry, meanwhile, had high praise for Quickley.

“He’s got so much potential in this league and the change of the scenery will be fresh for him,” Curry said. “He’s got a nice responsibility as a starting point guard now.”

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • These revamped Raptors are struggling on defense without OG Anunoby or Precious Achiuwa, writes Eric Koreen of The Athletic. In Koreen’s view, one part of the problem is the team’s decision to frequently play Quickley alongside reserve point guard Dennis Schröder, in undersized backcourt lineups.
  • Against the Kings on Friday, Sixers power forward Tobias Harris reminded Philadelphia fans why the team to sign him to a five-year, $180MM contract in 2019, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. His 37-point night vs. Sacramento came on the heels of a 32-point performance on Wednesday against the Hawks, marking the first time in his NBA career he has scored 30+ points in two straight games. With Embiid ailing from a sore left knee, Harris has taken on a bigger role in his team’s scoring attack.
  • After claiming his 500th career victory as a head coach, Knicks coach Tom Thibodeau reflected on the retirement of 24-year Patriots head coach Bill Belichick, per Stefan Bondy of The New York Post. “Growing up in New England, I appreciate what he brought, and what he did there was just incredible,” Connecticut native Thibodeau said. “That’s the mark of greatness to do it the way he did it for as long as he did. I grew up thinking the Patriots never win and then my nephews grew up thinking the Patriots win every year. So it’s completely different perspective. But I think a lot of coaches learn from him — coaching is leadership. He’s incredible. He’s at the top of my list.”

Injury Notes: Sharpe, M. Williams, Embiid, Sixers, Lowry

After leaving Sunday’s game vs. Portland due to a knee injury, Nets center Day’Ron Sharpe has been diagnosed with a hyperextended left knee, tweets Brian Lewis of The New York Post. As Lewis relays, Sharpe is expected to be reevaluated by the club in about two weeks.

It’s an unfortunate setback for a player whose role has increased in his third season in Brooklyn. After averaging a modest 11.8 minutes per game in 80 appearances across his two NBA seasons, Sharpe has logged 16.0 MPG in 37 contests so far this season, posting career-best marks in points (7.5), rebounds (7.0), and assists (1.4), among other categories.

In Sharpe’s 592 minutes of action this season, the Nets have a net rating of +7.7. In Brooklyn’s 1,194 minutes without him on the court, that number plummets to -5.8. That’s easily the biggest on/off disparity among Nets rotation players so far in 2023/24.

Here are a few more injury updates from around the NBA:

  • Hornets center Mark Williams, who has been sidelined by a low back ailment since December 8, will be out for at least one more week as he continues to rehab the injury, the team announced on Monday (via Twitter). Charlotte has a 1-14 record in games without Williams so far this season.
  • Sixers center Joel Embiid (left knee swelling) didn’t practice with the team on Monday or Tuesday and appears likely to miss a second consecutive game on Wednesday in Atlanta, per Derek Bodner of PHLY Sports (Twitter links). However, Tobias Harris (left ankle soreness) and De’Anthony Melton (back soreness) each practiced both days and head coach Nick Nurse is confident they’ll be available vs. the Hawks, Bodner adds. Harris sat out on Saturday, while Melton has missed Philadelphia’s past three games.
  • Heat point guard Kyle Lowry exited Monday’s game in the third quarter due to a sprained left hand, but the initial scan on Lowry’s hand came back clean, so he’s considered day-to-day for now, as Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes. Miami has taken a committee approach to the point guard responsibilities this season, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel, so if Lowry – who is also battling an illness – does have to miss time, the ball-handling duties will be shared by Tyler Herro, Josh Richardson, and others.
  • In other Heat injury news, Jimmy Butler (toe) has been ruled out for Wednesday’s game vs. Oklahoma City, tweets Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. It’ll be the ninth game in the last 10 that Butler has missed.

Pistons Notes: Cunningham, FA Targets, Losing Streak, Fixes

Clearly, not many things have been going well for the Pistons, who just broke the single-season NBA record on Tuesday with their 27th consecutive loss. If they lose again on Thursday in Boston, they’ll tie the all-time losing streak across multiple seasons, set by the Sixers in 2014/15 and ’15/16.

Despite their struggles, former No. 1 overall pick Cade Cunningham has been a bright spot for the Pistons of late, per Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. After an up-and-down first 19 games, Cunningham is averaging 24.3 points, 4.9 rebounds, 7.0 assists, 1.3 steals on .500/.309/.847 shooting in 11 games this month, including two 40-point outbursts over his past four contests. He has also significantly cut down on his turnovers, going from a league-high 4.9 per game over his first 19 games to 2.9 per night this month.

As Sankofa writes, Cunningham did everything in his power to keep Detroit in the game on Tuesday, shooting 13-of-16 from the field (81.3%) and scoring 37 points in the second half, including the team’s final 12. The rest of the Pistons were a combined 7-of-26 (26.9%) in the second half, Sankofa notes.

Everyday, I try to lead the squad,” Cunningham said. “I haven’t been successful with that. Two-and-28. I just felt like it’s only right that I come up and can speak for it, be the face for it. That locker room and everybody in there cares a lot. Everybody’s trying to do everything they can to win games and be successful. I put a lot of that weight on myself, for sure.”

Here’s more from Detroit:

  • On FanDuel TV’s Run It Back show (Twitter video link), Shams Charania of The Athletic said the Pistons are likely to target a power forward in free agency in 2024, with Pascal Siakam, OG Anunoby, Tobias Harris and Miles Bridges among the names worth monitoring.
  • The Pistons have won three championships and have made the NBA Finals five times. But over the past 15 years, they’ve been “meh-to-bad,” with the current group on pace to be the worst team ever, according to James L. Edwards III of The Athletic, who takes an in-depth look at the sequence of events that has led Detroit to its historic ineptitude.
  • While there are no “quick fixes” for a team that’s 2-28, Keith Smith of Spotrac describes how he would go about changing the direction of the franchise, including trading away veterans for draft assets.

Trade Notes: Sixers, LaVine, Anunoby, Harris, Mitchell, OKC, Heat

Bulls guard Zach LaVine and Raptors forward OG Anunoby continue to be two names to watch as possible trade targets for the Sixers, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who said during an appearance on FanDuel’s Run it Back (Twitter video link) that Philadelphia has monitored both players and has “a level of interest” in them.

The Sixers have several expiring contracts that could be used as salary-matching pieces in a deadline trade. The biggest of those expiring deals belongs to Tobias Harris, who is earning $39.27MM this season before reaching unrestricted free agency in 2024.

According to Charania, while the 76ers value Harris and want to keep him around, there are “a lot of teams” keeping an eye on the veteran forward, whose scoring output has slowed down recently (11.3 PPG in his past 11 games) following a hot start (19.3 PPG in his first 16 games).

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

  • Zach Lowe of ESPN (Insider link) is the latest reporter to confirm that the Cavaliers have shown no inclination to make Donovan Mitchell available via trade. That stance may not change unless Mitchell expresses unhappiness in Cleveland, Lowe adds.
  • Within the same ESPN story, Lowe makes a case that the Thunder should be active on the trade market this season, pointing out that there’s plenty of middle ground available between standing pat and trying to land a superstar. Oklahoma City is good enough that even overpaying for one starter-caliber player could make the team a legitimate title contender, Lowe argues.
  • In the third article in a series examining the Heat‘s trade options, Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald takes a closer look at 10 Eastern Conference rivals, exploring which of them might make the most sense as trade partners for Miami.