Vincent Poirier

World Cup Notes: Team USA, Portis, K. Antetokounmpo, Poirier

Team USA enjoyed its second straight rout in exhibition play ahead of the FIBA World Cup, writes Joe Vardon of The Athletic. The Americans pulled away in the second half Saturday for a 30-point win over a Slovenian team without Luka Doncic, who sat out the game with a minor knee issue.

Combined with Monday’s victory over Puerto Rico, the U.S. has outscored its opponents by 73 points in two games. The competition will get tougher in today’s matchup with Spain, but head coach Steve Kerr is happy to see his players buy into a team concept so quickly.

“We put together the team with the idea of having a lot of good passers and play-makers,” Kerr said. “And with this team, we’ve seen through the first two exhibition games, everybody can pass. And so we really want to push the tempo and attack closeouts because once we put it on the floor, we know these guys will distribute it and move it all over again.

“And you know, I thought we almost overdid it tonight. I thought at times we had over threes and we drove and kicked it down, which as a coach, you never want to criticize your players for that because you’re always trying to get them involved.”

There’s more on the World Cup:

  • Bobby Portis is disappointed that he won’t get to match up with Bucks teammate Giannis Antetokounmpo when Team USA faces Greece in an exhibition contest next week and again in pool play, Vardon adds. Antetokounmpo announced Friday that he will miss the World Cup as he continues to recover from minor knee surgery. “Obviously I’m sad, he’s sad, that he can’t play in the World Cup, but maybe that’s good for the Bucks,” Portis said.
  • Greece will also be without Kostas Antetokounmpo, who was declared out with an injury on Sunday, according to Johnny Askounis of Eurohoops. A former NBA player with the Mavericks and Lakers, Antetokounmpo represented Greece in last year’s EuroBasket and the Olympic qualifying tournament in 2021.
  • Former Celtics and Sixers center Vincent Poirier has joined the French team because of uncertainty surrounding Knicks draft-and-stash player Mathias Lessort, who is sidelined with an ankle issue, per Eurohoops. France is also adding Isaïa Cordinier in the wake of Frank Ntilikina‘s hamstring injury.

Vincent Poirier Officially Joins Real Madrid

Free agent center Vincent Poirier has officially reached a multiyear contract agreement with Real Madrid, the Spanish club announced today in a press release. According to the team, Poirier signed a contract that runs through the 2023/24 season.

Poirier, a seven-foot French center, played in Europe up until 2019, at which point he left Baskonia to sign with the Celtics. The big man didn’t have much of a role in his first and only season in Boston though, averaging 1.9 PPG and 2.0 RPG in 22 games (5.9 MPG).

Poirier was traded to the Thunder in November, then flipped to the Sixers in December. The 27-year-old made appearances in 10 games for Philadelphia, but was moved again at the trade deadline to New York. The Knicks subsequently waived him.

Although Poirier’s NBA stint was short-lived and relatively unsuccessful, it didn’t take him long to find a new home in Europe, which is unsurprising — he played well in his initial stint in the EuroLeague, leading the league in rebounding in 2019 en route to All-EuroLeague Second Team honors.

And-Ones: Poirier, Scola, Middleton, Mobley

Former Sixers center Vincent Poirier has agreed to a multiyear contract with Real Madrid, writes Nicola Lupo of Sportando. The news was first reported by Jose Luis Sanchez (Twitter link).

Poirier, 27, played 10 games for Philadelphia after being acquired from the Thunder in a December trade. He saw just 3.9 minutes per game, averaging 0.8 points and 1.4 rebounds, before being traded to the Knicks at the deadline. New York waived him three days later.

The seven-footer was a star in Europe before signing with the Celtics in 2019. He led the EuroLeague in rebounding and was a second-team all-league selection during the 2018/19 season. Poirier won’t be able to join the EuroLeague until next season, Lupo adds, but he is eligible for Liga ACB.

Here are more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • NBA veteran Luis Scola will make a decision on retirement after his season ends with Varese in Italy, relays Alessandro Maggi of Sportando. Scola, who will turn 41 at the end of April, discussed his future with La Prealpina, an Italian newspaper. “I am happy here in Varese,” he said. “I will decide my future as soon as the season is over. My decision will be quick out of respect for the team and the club.” Scola indicated in November that he was planning to retire after the Olympics.
  • Bucks guard Khris Middleton is about to become a minority owner of the Brisbane Bullets in the National Basketball League, tweets Marc Stein of The New York Times. Bulls forward Thaddeus Young is also part of the Australian team’s ownership (Twitter link), with former NBA guard Kevin Martin serving as majority owner. Several other players with NBA connections have stakes in NBL franchises, Stein adds (via Twitter). Rockets guards John Wall and Dante Exum are part owners of the South East Melbourne Phoenix, along with Zach Randolph, Al Harrington and Josh Childress. The New Zealand Breakers’ ownership is led by former Heat player Matt Walsh and includes Victor Oladipo and Shawn Marion.
  • A strong performance in the NCAA tournament moves USC big man Evan Mobley up to second in the latest mock draft by Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated. Woo suggests that Mobley’s defensive impact should make him be considered a “1B” pick to Oklahoma State guard Cade Cunningham‘s “1A.” Woo adds that some teams may prefer Gonzaga guard Jalen Suggs with the top pick, depending on need.

And-Ones: Rule Tweaks, Poirier, Buyouts, James

The NBA’s Competition Committee is mulling some possible rule modifications for the 2021/22 season, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who tweets the coach’s challenge is one rule that could be tweaked. The committee is considering giving teams an extra challenge or timeout if the first challenge is successful, Charania explains.

Sources tell Charania that the Competition Committee is also evaluating rules related to “unnatural shooting motions in connection with perimeter jump-shots and on-ball screens, and the principle of verticality.” Presumably, any changes to those rules would limit offensive players’ ability to draw fouls by jumping into defenders.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Having been traded by Philadelphia and waived by New York last month, veteran center Vincent Poirier is a free agent, and a report from Chema De Lucas (Twitter link; hat tip to Sportando) suggests Real Madrid could be the frontrunner to sign the big man for the 2021/22 season. In 32 NBA games for the Sixers and Celtics, Poirier has career averages of 1.5 points and 1.8 rebounds per contest.
  • The NBA buyout market has been a hot topic of discussion after the Nets were able to add seven-time All-Star LaMarcus Aldridge and six-time All-Star Blake Griffin for virtually nothing. NBC Sports’ Dan Feldman proposes an idea to fix the loose buyout market, suggesting a blind-bid process that also involves the player. Under Feldman’s plan, the player would go to the highest bidder, but if the player himself places the highest “bid,” he’d give up that amount of money on his buyout and become a free agent.
  • After leaving CSKA Moscow in Russia, veteran guard Mike James is returning to the U.S. in the hopes of receiving an NBA opportunity, his agency BDA Sports International confirmed (Twitter link; hat tip to Sportando). James played 36 NBA games in 2017/18, averaging 9.3 points, 2.5 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game for Phoenix and New Orleans.

Luke Adams contributed to this post.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Poirier, Rozier, Trent

Sixers center Joel Embiid feared his season was over when he injured his knee last month, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Embiid landed awkwardly after a dunk and his knee bent backward, causing a hyperextension that forced him to miss 10 games.

“When I got hurt and laying on the floor in Washington, I honestly thought I was done,” he said. “I thought my season was done. You know, the pain, you know how bad it was hurting, I just knew that it was something worse than we saw. (Afterward) I was just crying and asking myself, ‘Why me? Why does it always happen to me?’ When everything seems to be going well for my team and myself, something always has to happen.”

Embiid returned to the court Saturday night, playing 29 minutes and posting 24 points, eight rebounds and three blocks in a win over the Timberwolves. With 23 games remaining, Embiid can still be a strong MVP contender if he avoids any more injuries.

“(Friday) was really the first time I went full court since I got hurt,” he said. “So it’s going to take a while to get back to myself. But my body feels great, obviously game shape is different than how your body feels. But the main thing is my body feels great. I’ve just got to keep putting up these games and these practices and I will be back to where I was before I got hurt.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Sixers coach Doc Rivers refused to respond to comments from Vincent Poirier, who told a French newspaper that Rivers didn’t reach out to him after a trade last week, Pompey adds in a separate story. Poirier was sent to the Knicks, who waived him three days later. “I wish someone had told me, ‘We were wrong. You can’t play with us,’” Poirier said. “I like it when things are straight. The coach didn’t even send a message although I know he sent (one to) others. I’m not asking him to give me compliments, but just a message to wish me good luck.”
  • Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports questions whether the Celtics should have invested in Terry Rozier two years ago instead of signing Kemba Walker. Although Walker got off to a strong start in Boston, he has been slowed by knee issues this season and is still owed $73.6MM over the next two years. Rozier is having a career-best season with the Hornets, averaging 20.3 points per game.
  • Gary Trent Jr. looks like a perfect fit with the Raptors, writes Scott Rafferty of NBA Canada. In five games since being acquired from the Trail Blazers, Trent is scoring 16.8 PPG and shooting 43.2% from three-point range.

Knicks Waive Terrance Ferguson, Vincent Poirier

The Knicks have waived Terrance Ferguson and Vincent Poirier after acquiring both players on trade deadline day, according to Marc Stein of the New York Times (Twitter link). ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported (via Twitter) that Poirier would be waived.

New York brought in the duo in a three-team trade last week, also acquiring the Sixers’ 2021 second-round pick, the Heat’s 2024 second-round pick (top-55 protected), and the draft rights to Emir Preldzic.

Poirier, 27, played 10 games with the Sixers this season before being moved. He spent the previous season with the Celtics and played 130 minutes in 22 games.

Ferguson, the No. 21 pick in 2017, spent the first three seasons of his career with the Thunder. Oklahoma City then traded him to Philadelphia in December of 2020. The 22-year-old swingman appeared in just 13 games for the Sixers this year.

Both players will clear waivers on Tuesday, assuming they go unclaimed.

Sixers Acquire George Hill In Three-Team Trade

7:15pm: The trade is now official, according to press releases from the Sixers and Knicks. The deal breaks down as follows:

  • Sixers acquire Hill and Brazdeikis.
  • Thunder acquire Bradley, Rivers, the Sixers’ 2025 second-round pick, and the Sixers’ 2026 second-round pick.
  • Knicks acquire Ferguson, Poirier, the Sixers’ 2021 second-round pick, the Heat’s 2024 second-round pick (top-55 protected; from Sixers), and the draft rights to Emir Preldzic (from Sixers).

The Knicks’ acquisitions of the Heat’s protected 2024 second-rounder and Preldzic’s rights weren’t reported earlier, but neither is a difference-making asset, as the pick will only be conveyed if it falls between 56-60 and Preldzic is unlikely to ever play in the NBA.

New York will waive Poirier now that the deal is official, as we relayed earlier.

11:52am: The Sixers, Thunder, and Knicks are finalizing a trade that will see George Hill land in Philadelphia, according to reports from Shams Charania of The Athletic and Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (all Twitter links).

The Thunder are receiving Tony Bradley and Austin Rivers, according to Wojnarowski, who says Philadelphia will send Terrance Ferguson to New York and will acquire Ignas Brazdeikis from the Knicks (Twitter link). Vincent Poirier will join Ferguson in heading from Philadelphia to New York, tweets Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.

The Sixers are also sending a pair of second-round picks to Oklahoma City, per Wojnarowski, who tweets that those second-rounders will be Philadelphia’s own in 2025 and 2026. Meanwhile, Steve Popper of Newsday reports (via Twitter) that the Knicks are acquiring Philadelphia’s own 2021 second-rounder.

While the 76ers were viewed as one of the top suitors for Kyle Lowry, it appears they’ve opted to go in a different – and less costly – direction, addressing the point guard position by acquiring Hill, a steady veteran who has a ton of postseason experience.

The 34-year-old Hill averaged 11.8 PPG and 3.1 APG with a .508/.386/.840 shooting line in 14 games (26.4 MPG) for the Thunder before he was sidelined by a thumb injury. It’s not clear how much more time he’ll miss, but a report this week indicated he’s out of his cast and is working toward a return. Presumably, Philadelphia is confident about his ability to contribute down the stretch.

Hill’s $10MM salary for the 2021/22 season only has a small ($1.28MM) partial guarantee, so the Sixers will have some flexibility during the offseason as they consider whether or not to hang onto him.

As for the Thunder and Knicks, the two rebuilding clubs will add to their ever-growing collections of draft picks in this deal. Ferguson and Poirier probably aren’t in New York’s plans, but the two players headed to Oklahoma City are a little more intriguing.

Bradley, who is eligible for restricted free agency, had 18 points and 11 rebounds in his final game as a Sixer on Tuesday, while Rivers has been a rotation player for playoff clubs in the past and is on a team-friendly contract, with non-guaranteed cap hits of $3.33MM in 2021/22 and $3.15MM in ’22/23.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Knicks Will Waive Vincent Poirier

After acquiring him in a larger three-team deal, the Knicks will be waiving former Sixers center Vincent Poirier, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets.

New York also will have gained a 2021 second-round pick and former Thunder swingman Terrance Ferguson from Philadelphia in the trade.

During his second NBA season, Poirier failed to crack Philadelphia’s big man rotation. This year, the 27-year-old seven-footer is averaging just 3.9 MPG across a scant 10 games, even with All-Star center Joel Embiid absent recently due to a bone bruise in his left knee.

Releasing Poirier will give New York an open roster spot, as Ian Begley of SNY observes (via Twitter). That roster spot may not stay open for long, however.

The Knicks may still be very much in the hunt for a new center on the buyout market, as Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reports that New York’s relatively quiet maneuvering at the deadline gives them plenty of available capital. As we relayed earlier today, the team could be looking to add Cavaliers center Andre Drummond, who is reportedly working towards a buyout with Cleveland.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Community Shootaround: Should The NBA Go Back To A “Bubble”?

The NBA’s closed-campus experiment at Disney World was hailed as a huge success that enabled to league to complete its 2019/20 season and crown a champion without any interruptions from COVID-19. However, there was no desire to repeat the experience for an entire season as teams preferred to play in their home arenas, even if no fans were allowed.

But that decision carried risks, which are already beginning to overwhelm the new season. Only one game has been canceled so far — a season-opener between the Rockets and Thunder because Houston didn’t have enough eligible players — but several teams are operating with depleted rosters due to positive coronavirus tests and contact tracing mandated by the league’s health and safety protocols.

The Sixers had just eight eligible players this afternoon as they lost at home to Denver. Danny Green was the only Philadelphia starter to suit up for the game, while Dwight Howard and Tyrese Maxey were the only other members of the rotation who played.

The team’s predicament began Thursday when Seth Curry learned that he had tested positive for the virus. Tobias Harris, Shake MiltonMatisse Thybulle and Vincent Poirier shared a table with Curry at a team meeting that day, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, so they are required to quarantine for contact tracing. They will likely be unavailable for an entire week, which means three more missed games.

“We don’t know,” said coach Doc Rivers, whose season may be derailed after a 7-2 start. “We don’t know anything. We have to make that assumption, I guess. I mean, they were at a table. So it wasn’t like close contact. So maybe that will shorten their days. I don’t know that. But I guess even that’s too close. I mean, I don’t know. I don’t get that whole (thing).”

The 7-3 Celtics may be headed for the same situation. Star forward Jayson Tatum has reportedly tested positive for COVID-19, joining Robert Williams, Grant Williams and Tristan Thompson in quarantine. Boston’s injury report for tomorrow’s game mentions all but eight players, which is the minimum needed for the game to be played.

Tatum’s test has also affected the Wizards because he talked after the game to Bradley Beal, who is now subject to health and safety protocols for contact tracing. The Nets, Nuggets, Spurs, Grizzlies and Mavericks are also short on players because of quarantine issues.

Kendra Andrews of The Athletic believes the NBA is making a mistake by forcing games like the one today in Philadelphia to be played. She notes that virus rates are higher now in many places than they were when the league suspended play in March, and basketball is an easy way for germs to spread because of close contact and shared equipment.

The league isn’t at a crisis situation yet, but it’s headed in that direction. Without the controlled environment that was in place at Disney World, the athletes face a lot more potential exposure to COVID-19, and just one case can change the course of a season.

We want to get your opinion. Do you believe the NBA can play an entire season under the current conditions or will it need to revert to a “bubble” alternative at some point? Please leave your responses in the comments section.

Sixers Waive Lamine Diane, Justin Robinson

The Sixers have waived Lamine Diane and Justin Robinson, the team’s PR department tweets.

The moves are being made in order to complete the Al Horford trade with the Thunder, which can become official on Tuesday.

Diane and Robinson were signed to Exhibit 10 contracts, meaning they’ll likely land with the team’s G League affiliate – the Delaware Blue Coats. They could receive bonuses worth up to $50K if they spend at least 60 days with the Blue Coats.

Philadelphia had the maximum 20 players in camp before waiving Diane and Robinson and needed to open a couple more roster spots to finalize the Horford deal.

The Sixers are receiving guard Danny Green and wing Terrance Ferguson in the deal. Big man Vincent Poirier, who was recently traded by the Celtics to Oklahoma City, is also coming to Philadelphia, Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets. That confirms a report from France’s L’Equipe that Poirier is heading to the Sixers.

A 6’7″ undrafted rookie forward, Diane put up big stats for Cal State Northridge in his two college seasons, averaging 25.1 PPG, 10.8 RPG, and 2.1 BPG in a total of 52 games (35.5 MPG). He won the Big West Player of the Year award in consecutive years before declaring for the draft this spring.

Robinson appeared in 33 G League games with Delaware and Capital City last season, averaging 14.2 points, 6.2 assists and 31.2 minutes per game. The 23-year-old guard also played nine brief games with the Wizards, scoring a total of 13 points in 49 minutes.