Richaun Holmes

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Rotation, Holmes, Okafor

Shortly after finalizing his new five-year extension with the Sixers, Joel Embiid made his 2017 preseason debut with the team in Brooklyn on Wednesday, and the center’s performance in the game likely made 76ers fans a little more comfortable with their team’s big-money commitment. Playing just 15 minutes, Embiid poured in 22 points to go along with seven boards and three assists. He also made 14 of 18 free throws.

Of course, Embiid was one of the NBA’s best players on a per-minute basis last season as well, so his showing on Wednesday night didn’t come as a total surprise. For Embiid, the primary goal is to stay healthy enough to blow past last year’s career high of 31 games played and become a more frequent contributor to Philadelphia’s lineup.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • Although Sixers head coach Brett Brown had previously said not to read much into his preseason rotations, Wednesday provided a preview of what the team’s regular season rotation might look like, writes Sarah Todd of Philly.com. Embiid was somewhat limited and Markelle Fultz didn’t play, but otherwise it wouldn’t be a surprise to see everyone in similar roles on opening night.
  • Sixers big man Richaun Holmes confirmed to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer that his fractured left wrist won’t require surgery, and will heal on its own. The club plans to re-evaluate the injury after about three weeks.
  • Jordan Brenner of SBNation.com has a fascinating and in-depth profile on Jahlil Okafor, who has become the forgotten man in Philadelphia as fans focus on other recent top-three picks Embiid, Fultz, and Ben Simmons. While Okafor says he still respects the organization and wants to succeed with the Sixers, he admits that he’s unsure about whether there’s still a role for him with the club. “Sometimes I do think it would be great to get a fresh start, be on a new team, new surroundings, new teammates,” Okafor said. “I think about that often and I think that’s something that could benefit me.”

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Saric, Covington, Fultz

Joel Embiid‘s teammates believe the Sixers made the right move by rewarding him with a five-year extension, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Embiid is slated to receive $148MM, but the value could go as high as $178MM if he meets certain criteria. There are also several salary cap protections to guard the organization against further injury for Embiid, who has played just 31 games in three seasons. “Have you seen him play? He’s a beast,” Ben Simmons responded when asked about the extension. “I can’t name one person that can stop him. Honestly, there’s nobody that can compete with him at his position. No one.”

Embiid is still recovering from “minor” surgery in March to fix a torn meniscus in his left knee. The Sixers were hoping to have him ready for the October 18 season opener, but rehab has been going well and Pompey suggests he may play in Friday’s preseason finale. Embiid’s last game before the surgery was January 27.

There’s more this morning out of Philadelphia:

  • Embiid’s cap hit for next summer will be either $25.2MM or $30.3MM, depending on whether he meets the qualifications for the 30% max, according to Derek Bodner of The Athletic. If Embiid is only at the 25% max, Philadelphia will have about $53.34MM in committed salary heading into next year’s free agent sweepstakes. That leaves roughly $47.6MM, but that figure will be reduced by draft picks and option decisions. The Sixers may have two first-rounders if they land the Lakers’ pick, and they have to determine whether to extend rookie-scale contracts for Jahlil Okafor ($6.3MM in 2018/19), Dario Saric ($2.5MM) and Justin Anderson ($2.5MM) by the end of October. Bodner writes that the Sixers are certain to pick up Saric’s option, but Okafor and Anderson are less definite. Philadelphia also has team options on T.J. McConnell and Richaun Holmes valued at $1.6MM each, but those don’t have to be addressed until June 29.
  • The team’s most important remaining salary decision involves Robert Covington, Bodner adds in the same piece. Starting November 15, Covington will be eligible to have his contract renegotiated or extended. He will become a free agent with a $3MM cap hold next summer if nothing is done.
  • Rookie guard Markelle Fultz may still be suffering the effects of a right shoulder injury, Pompey relays in a separate story. The first overall pick had to sit out Friday’s game and is shooting just 29.2% from the floor in the preseason. “I think his shoulder is affecting him more than he lets on,” coach Brett Brown said. “You can tell with his free throw, you know, trying to get that ball up. Its follow from his body. But he’s been working on just trying to get that thing rehabilitated.”

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Hornacek, Holmes, Morris

The Sixers could still have $40MM in cap space next season despite agreeing to a five-year, $148MM extension with center Joel Embiid, ESPN’s Bobby Marks points out. Embiid’s starting salary of $25.3MM is $7MM more than his $18.3MM cap hold for the 2018/19 season, Marks continues. Philadelphia still has just $57MM in guaranteed contract commitments for next season, Marks adds.

In other developments around the Atlantic Division:

  • The current Knicks roster puts head coach Jeff Hornacek in a no-win situation, Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News argues. The front office has stressed improvement in effort and stops but recent acquisitions Tim Hardaway Jr., Michael Beasley, Enes Kanter and Doug McDermott won’t improve the defense, Bondy continues. Hornacek will have the unenviable task of trying to develop a system to mask those defensive shortcomings, Bondy adds.
  • Injured Sixers power forward Richaun Holmes doesn’t believe he’ll require surgery on his injured wrist, Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia tweets. Holmes suffered a non-displaced fracture in his left wrist during a preseason game on Friday.
  • Celtics forward Marcus Morris needs to drops about seven pounds and work on his conditioning but he plans to play the regular-season opener, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston reports. Morris missed a portion of training camp while on trial in Phoenix for an assault charge. He was acquitted.
  • Forward K.J. McDaniels and Alfonzo McKinnie are likely fighting for the final spot on the Raptors’ opening-day roster, according to Doug Smith of the Toronto Star. There’s room for both but GM Bobby Webster has expressed a desire to leave a spot open, Smith continues. Raptors coach Dwane Casey told Smith and other media members that the competition between the two is close. “There’s right now no clear-cut favorite going into this week,” he said.

Sixers’ Richaun Holmes Fractures Bone In Wrist

Sixers center/power forward Richaun Holmes will miss the start of the regular season with a non-displaced fracture in the radial bone of his left wrist, tweets Derek Bodner of The Athletic. Team doctors will re-evaluate Holmes’ condition in about three weeks.

A second-round pick in 2015, Holmes emerged as a productive player last season, mostly in a reserve role. He appeared in 57 games, starting 17, and averaged 9.8 points and 5.5 rebounds in about 21 minutes per night.

The injury is a blow to Philadelphia’s frontcourt depth and may quell any thoughts the team has about trading Jahlil Okafor, at least in the short term. Holmes will make more than $1.47MM this season and the team has a $1.6MM option for 2018/19.

Atlantic Notes: Holmes, Simmons, Fultz

He may not be touted as one of their future franchise cornerstones but Richaun Holmes played a significant role in the Sixers‘ improvement in 2016/17. Holmes, a backup power forward-turned-starting center after injuries hit, spoke with Alex Kennedy of HoopsHype about his future with the organization.

I can be so much better. So much better,” the 23-year-old Sixers big said. “I think I’m just scratching the surface of my potential. With the things I’m working on now, the way I’m feeling now and where my head is at now, I’m definitely maturing as a player and as a man.”

The soon-to-be third-year Sixers center is working on improving his pick-and-roll defense and jump shot this summer.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • In the aforementioned Alex Kennedy interview, Richaun Holmes had this to say about Sixers 2016 draft pick Ben Simmons: “Man, I’ve never seen anything like it, to be honest. To be 7-feet tall and be able to move the way he does and have that skill set, I’ve never seen anyone like him. And I think the thing that stands out most to me is just how hard he plays.
  • Any Nets fans in the mood for an excruciating hike up memory gorge will be pleased to see that Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News reviewed, in detail, the infamous trade that sent four first-round draft picks from the Brooklyn to the Celtics.
  • A Nets Daily tweet reminds followers that the Nets will likely get the Pacers‘ 2019 second-round pick, something that ought to gain value if Paul George is half-way out the door in Indiana.
  • There are plenty of reasons for the Sixers to be excited about Markelle Fultz but one of the biggest is the sheer number of needs he will be able to meet in Philadelphia. Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes about head coach Brett Brown and the boxes Fultz will tick for the franchise.

Sixers Notes: Okafor, Brown, Colangelo, Embiid

Center Jahlil Okafor wasn’t among the players identified as “keepers” for next season by Sixers coach Brett Brown in a news conference today. Brown listed Ben Simmons, Joel EmbiidTimothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Richaun Holmes, Robert CovingtonDario Saric, Nik Stauskas and T.J. McConnell, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Okafor was the subject of numerous trade rumors prior to February’s deadline. and his future with the organization remains uncertain. Brown said Okafor understands this is an important offseason for him (Twitter link), adding, “Our mission this summer is to get his body right.” (Twitter link). GM Bryan Colangelo, who also spoke to reporters today, didn’t say that trading Okafor will be a priority, but he noted, “If a deal comes along that makes sense for both, we’ll listen.” (Twitter link).

There’s more today out of Philadelphia:

  • Brown and Colangelo both identified shooting as the Sixers’ most pressing offseason need. Brown said the team also needs to find a backup power forward, sign some veterans, assess Simmons’ abilities as a point guard and find the right shooting guard to play alongside him, tweets Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.
  • Brown added that early-season injuries to Simmons and Jerryd Bayless were the biggest obstacles the Sixers faced in their 28-54 season (Twitter link). Simmons fractured a bone in his right foot during training camp and missed the entire year. Bayless, who signed a three-year, $27MM deal last offseason, tore a ligament in his left wrist during camp and was limited to three games. “You felt like you just blew out your backcourt in about a week,” Brown said.
  • The Sixers are expecting a much healthier version of Embiid next season, Pompey tweets. After missing his first two NBA seasons, Embiid was limited to 31 games in his rookie year. Although he played spectacularly, averaging 20.2 points, 7.8 rebounds and 2.5 blocks per game, Embiid was on a minutes restriction and Philadelphia’s medical staff was very cautious about his availability. “I don’t think back-to-backs will be an issue” for Embiid next season, Colangelo said.
  • Colangelo promises an aggressive approach in free agency, saying, “If there is the right free agent to spend money on, we will.” (Twitter link). The Sixers will enter the July bidding with more than $50MM available under the salary cap. Colangelo also vowed to be “prudent and wise” with any signings (Twitter link).

Atlantic Notes: Holmes, Anderson, Rose

The Sixers may have found a long-term backup to injured big man Joel Embiid in 2015 second-round pick Richaun Holmes. Holmes, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes, has thrived given the chance to fill in and step into a larger role.

Holmes has averaged 13.8 points and 6.6 rebounds in just 25.9 minutes per game since the All-Star break, about twice what he contributed for the Sixers prior to it.

Sixers head coach Brett Brown acknowledges the improvement and thinks that Holmes’ success could be here to stay. “I think a lot of the good teams have those lightning-in-the-bottle players that can just change a game,” Brown said. “You know, initially, you are wondering can he be one of those. Is he a duration player? I think since he’s come into the starting five, you are recognizing that there’s more durability.”

  • If the Knicks decide to release Derrick Rose, it will free up $18MM in cap room for them to find a point guard or draft one this offseason. As Bobby Marks of the Vertical explains on Twitter, the pending free agent otherwise has a $30MM cap hold set for this summer. Earlier today we wrote about Rose missing the remainder of the season with a torn meniscus.
  • Though the refs assigned Kyrie Irving a flagrant foul for his shove on Sixers forward Justin Anderson Friday night, the victim doesn’t take it personally. “He was just protecting his teammate, I think he saw LeBron James went down [on the previous play],” Anderson told Joe Noga of Cleveland.com.
  • Second-year forward Justin Anderson is getting his best opportunity to show the Sixers what he’s capable. Anderson has seen his role increase now that Robert Covington has been ruled out for the remainder of the season, writes Brian Seltzer of the Sixers’ official website. “My job is to go out there and make the most of it,” said Anderson. “It’s not to try and become All-Star in this little bit of time. My job is to show that, no matter what, this team can rely on me, I can be consistent, and bring the energy playing defense, rebounding the basketball, and then contributing on offensive end in many different ways.
  • The Celtics have been a model team for rebuilding clubs looking to turn their fates around, Taylor C. Snow of the Celtics’ official site writes. Rival Knicks coach Jeff Hornacek cites the roster full of hard-nosed guys as one of the major reasons behind their success.

Jahlil Okafor, Robert Covington Done For The Season

The Sixers announced they have shut down Jahlil Okafor and Robert Covington for the season’s remaining seven games (Twitter links). Okafor had been sidelined with right knee soreness, an ailment “exacerbated by impact in game at OKC.” Meanwhile, Covington suffered a slight tear of his lateral meniscus.

With the Sixers out of the playoff picture, there was little reason to ask Okafor and Covington to play through injuries. Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Nik Stauskas can expect to see a bump in minutes while Covington recuperates, and Shawn Long will receive time at center alongside Richaun Holmes.

The short-handed Sixers will face Cleveland at 7:30pm EDT.

Sixers Notes: Saric, Holmes, Okafor

Consider Dario Saric and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot a testament to the benefit of players developing in Europe. Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Inquirer recently published a column about how the Sixers’ pair gained more from their experiences abroad than they would have in a single year with an NCAA program.

Their background in European system and style, et cetera, completely helps them be expedited when they enter an NBA court,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown told him, “unlike a one-and-done guy from Kentucky or Duke.”

Past and present big men Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor, of course, are one-and-done guys from Kentucky and Duke.

Hayes argues that Saric and Luwawu-Cabarrot have a maturity and toughness that has allowed them to excel this season. The former has put up 19.9 points and 8.4 rebounds per game since Feb. 9 while the latter has added 7.6 points per despite only getting promoted to the starting lineup on March 11.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • The solid play of Richaun Holmes has validated the Sixers’ decision to ship Noel off to Dallas, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Noel posted 24 points and 9 rebounds twice in his 171 game stay with Philadelphia, Holmes has done it twice in the past ten days.
  • Though he’s missed action with a sore knee, the Sixers have no plans to shut down Okafor for the remainder of the season. Head coach Brett Brown suggested to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer that doing so would over-dramatize the injury.
  • Don’t get it twisted — while the current executive staff is getting a lot of credit for the upstart Sixers, the Iceberg Theory of Success is applicable. Josh Wilson of Fansided’s The Sixers Sense explains.

Atlantic Notes: Holmes, Embiid, Crowder

Add one more intriguing young big man to Philadelphia’s seemingly endless frontcourt log jam. Which is a good thing, we suppose.  The improved play of 2015 second-round pick Richaun Holmes of late has ignited conversation that not only could the Sixers have their backup center of the future, but – per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer – a possible starter.

In the Sixers’ last five games, Holmes has averaged 14.6 points, 7.0 rebounds, 1.8 blocks and 1.8 steals per game – or roughly 22.1 points and 10.6 rebounds per 36 minutes. What’s more, the Sixers have won three out of those five to boot.

You can count on him,” Sixers head coach Brett Brown said of the 23-year-old. “Those effort, energy sort of type things are the reliable part of his game. The other things [three-point shooting, making open 18-footers] at times are outliers and really tip him over the top when he starts doing those other things.

Pompey isn’t the only local reporter to praise the upstart second-year big man. Jessica Camerato of CSN Philadelphia spoke with teammate Justin Anderson about Holmes recent play for the Sixers.

He’s a beast,” Anderson said. “I’ve [seen] that for a while. I remember watching him in summer league. He plays extremely hard, and then now he’s shooting the three, his ability to just dunk on people. He’s really good. He’s a really good player. I’m happy for him. When he gets going like that, we’re a tough team.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Injured Sixers rookie Joel Embiid is back in Philadelphia while the information from his time rehabilitating his knee in California is reviewed. Jessica Camerato of CSN Philadelphia tweets that there has been no timetable for the next steps.
  • That rebounder the Celtics were said to desperately need could very well be right under their nose. A. Sherrod Blakely of CSN New England suggests that forward Jae Crowder could be just that. Blakely writes that Crowder has averaged 7.7 rebounds per game since the All-Star Break.
  • Both Brett Brown and Brad Stevens were hired as head coaches four years ago but the rebuilding processes that the Sixers and Celtics have taken ever since differ, Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. Cooney suggests that the C’s have had the leg up all along because they started with a better base.

 

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