Richaun Holmes

Sixers Trade Richaun Holmes To Suns

7:09pm: It’s official, according to a Sixers press release.

11:29am: The Suns are sending $1MM to Philadelphia in the trade, tweets Scott Bordow of The Arizona Republic.

10:55am: The Sixers have agreed to a trade with the Suns that will send Richaun Holmes to Phoenix, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Philadelphia will receive cash considerations in return for Holmes, Charania adds (via Twitter).

Holmes, a second-round pick in the 2015 draft, has been a rotation player for the Sixers for the last three seasons. However, after averaging 20.9 minutes per contest and starting 17 games in 2016/17, the 24-year-old had his role cut back last season, as he played 15.5 MPG and started just two of his 48 games.

With Joel Embiid, Amir Johnson, and Mike Muscala in the mix at center for the Sixers in 2018/19, Holmes was unlikely to play a major role for the team. Instead, he’ll join a prospect-heavy Suns frontcourt that features Deandre Ayton, Marquese Chriss, Dragan Bender, and veteran Tyson Chandler.

While the Suns’ acquisition of Holmes isn’t exactly a blockbuster, it has some interesting – albeit minor – cap ramifications. Phoenix wouldn’t have had the cap room to acquire Holmes without sending out any salary if not for the Jared Dudley/Darrell Arthur swap the club agreed to earlier today. Now, Holmes can slot into the team’s remaining cap space and its 15th roster spot.

As for the 76ers, there were reports in the wake of their three-team trade agreement on Thursday that the deal wouldn’t be completed right away because Philadelphia was working on another move. A Kyle Korver/Jerryd Bayless trade rumor hinted that the Sixers were looking to open up a little extra cap room themselves — they’ll do just that by moving Holmes’ $1.6MM salary, and now have the space to sign draft-and-stash prospect Jonah Bolden to a four-year contract using cap room.

Without cap space, the Sixers wouldn’t have been able to offer Bolden – who will replace Holmes in the frontcourt – more than two years.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sixers Notes: Colangelo, Workouts, McConnell, Holmes

The Sixers insist the loss of Bryan Colangelo hasn’t affected their draft preparations, relays Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Colangelo resigned last week as president of basketball operations after a Twitter-related scandal involving sensitive information released through burner accounts.

The front office has tried to stick to business as usual in his absence, conducting pre-draft workouts over the past three days. Coach Brett Brown has taken over Colangelo’s responsibilities on an interim basis, and draft decisions will be made as a group effort.

“I don’t think it’s going to change much, to be honest with you,” said VP of player personnel Marc Eversley. “All of our scouts have been on staff here for the past two years. I’ve been here for the last two years. You know, we’re in a position where we feel we are going to be able … to select somebody who’s going to be able to come in and help us contribute.”

There’s more tonight from Philadelphia:

  • After two days of bringing in high-profile prospects, today’s workout focused on potential second-round picks, summer leaguers and G League acquisitions, Pompey writes in a separate story. West Virginia’s Jevon Carter and Miami’s Bruce Brown highlighted the session, with Brown saying he is motivated by a stress fracture in his left foot that required surgery in February and limited his effectiveness at the combine. “I just have a chip on my shoulder that I know I can get back to where I was,” said Brown, who was viewed as a possible lottery pick before the season began. “I know teams are going to believe in me, and believe that I can do that. So it just adds a chip on the shoulder, and I’m ready to go after guys that go before me.”
  • Today’s move to exercise team options on Richaun Holmes and T.J. McConnell could lead to free agency decisions next summer, Pompey notes in another piece. Both will have non-guaranteed $1.6MM salaries next season then will become unrestricted free agents if they aren’t signed to extensions. “Like I said, I want to be here,” McConnell said. “So I’m excited they picked it up. But that’s not going to change how I approach every day.”
  • The Sixers are in contention for the top players on the free agent market, but Brown promises they won’t spend recklessly if they don’t get their main targets, tweets Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Sixers Exercise Team Option On Richaun Holmes

The Sixers have picked up their 2018/19 team option on big man Richaun Holmes, reports Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link). The option will pay Holmes a salary of $1,600,520 next season.

The move comes as no surprise for a couple reasons. For one, Holmes’ play has certainly justified a minimum-salary investment. In a part-time role in Philadelphia’s frontcourt, Holmes averaged 6.5 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 1.3 APG in 48 games (15.5 MPG) last season, and he was even more productive the year before, with 9.8 PPG and 5.5 RPG in 57 contests (20.9 MPG).

Additionally, exercising Holmes’ option for next season reportedly won’t actually lock in his $1.6MM salary. According to contract information from Basketball Insiders, Holmes’ salary remains non-guaranteed until January 10, even with his option picked up. T.J. McConnell‘s team option is said to have the same structure.

While exercising Holmes’ option may not provide any guarantees for the coming season, I’d be very surprised if he’s cut before his January guarantee date. Assuming he plays out the full 2018/19 season on his current deal, the 24-year-old will be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Free Agent Stock Watch 2018: Philadelphia 76ers

The Sixers have made it quite clear that they’re ready and willing to accelerate their timeline and make a serious bid for an elite free agent. That’s ambitious and admirable, but to assume that a player like LeBron James is around the corner is like buying lottery tickets to fund your retirement.

It’s commendable that the Sixers have their sights set on big fish, but let’s assume that the King decides to re-up in Cleveland and Philly is forced to see their original process through to the end. Sure, Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid weren’t enough to win the East in their first ever playoff appearances, that doesn’t mean the organization is in any less of an enviable place than they were a month ago.

In the event that Philly strikes out in their pursuit of James, they’d be wise to continue what they set out to do in 2017/18, surround their obnoxiously promising young core with solid veterans capable of helping them flourish into superstars.

J.J. Redick, SG, 34 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $23MM deal in 2017
The idea to overpay Redick for a one-year contract last summer was brilliant. The team was able to complement its young core with a capable veteran scorer while getting a feel for what the next phase of the process was. It turns out the next phase involves winning, though, which involves paying to keep the club’s young core in tact. Since July, when Redick signed his monster contract, the Sixers have extended both Embiid and Robert Covington, eating up $35MM in salary that they didn’t need to worry about this time last. While the club still has piles of cap room for 2018/19, Philadelphia may look to lock Redick down at a discounted rate now that the roster is looking less and less like a science fair project and more like a contender.

Marco Belinelli, SG, 32 (Up) – Signed to a one-year deal in 2018
Belinelli landed with the Hawks last offseason, a hired gun on a short-term deal, and eventually became one of the buyout market’s most desirable pieces. The Sixers prudently added the shooting guard in February and gave him a months-long opportunity to show what he’s capable of contributing to a contender. Belinelli is still young enough to command a contract in the $8MM-$10MM range and may be able to parlay his success in Philly into a longer-term contract. That could very well put him right back in a Sixers uniform.

Ersan Ilyasova, PF, 31 (Down) – Signed to a one-year deal in 2018
There are few players who fill an unheralded role more brilliantly than Ilyasova but that hasn’t helped him find any stability since getting traded away from Milwaukee in 2015. In the three years since, the veteran has plied his scrappy trade for five franchises, proving at every step along the way that he’s a solid rotation piece. Unfortunately for Ilyasova, the contenders that he could benefit most tend to be the ones with the least amount of cap space, so he may need to take a discount if he wants to win.

Amir Johnson, C, 31 (Down) – Signed to a one-year, $11MM deal in 2017
The Sixers are in a drastically different place than they were when they inked Johnson, a reliable if unexciting veteran, to an eight-digit contract. For one, the win-now Eastern Conference contender need not get creative just to meet the league’s salary floor and they also don’t need to be quite as cautious when it comes to Embiid insurance. If Johnson wants to remain in Philadelphia – or on any serious playoff team – he may need to take a significant pay cut.

Richaun Holmes, C, 24 (Up) – Signed to a four-year, $5MM deal in 2015
Thanks to Embiid’s reasonably healthy season, the Sixers didn’t utilize Holmes as much as they did the year prior but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t still high on the athletic big man’s long-term role with the franchise. Picking up his $1.6MM team option is a no-brainer.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Sixers Notes: Fultz, Brown, Holmes, Ilyasova

It’s time for rookie guard Markelle Fultz to break his public silence and address the issues that have limited him to just four games this season, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The things Fultz needs to explain, according to Pompey, are whether a scapular muscle imbalance forced him to change his shot or whether it was done on the advice of his trainer, Keith Williams, and what teammate Joel Embiid meant when he said of Fultz, “I don’t feel like a lot of people … have had his back.”

Williams has denied making changes to Fultz’s shot and some people in the organization don’t believe it happened, but Fultz could easily clear up the situation if the team made him available to the media. However, he hasn’t granted any interviews apart from a brief one on TNT. A grievance was filed through the Pro Basketball Writers Association, but the NBA sided with the Sixers. The team may be trying to protect Fultz, Pompey adds, but the silence is just leading to more speculation.

There’s more today out of Philadelphia:

  • This is the first time since coach Brett Brown took over five years ago that the Sixers haven’t dealt away or waived someone at the trade deadline, Pompey notes in a separate story. Not only did they keep their core intact, they added a shooter by picking up Marco Belinelli from the buyout market. “It’s something that from the city’s perspective, from the fans’ perspective and from the these guys’ perspective to take continuity and move it forward instead of hack away at it and chop it down,” Brown said. “We respect it. We appreciate it.”
  • Richaun Holmes made a rare appearance Saturday, relays Sarah Todd of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The back-up center had sat out seven of the past nine games, but was scheduled for some minutes as Brown tries to prepare his whole roster for the postseason. Holmes responded with impressive defense in a win over the Magic. “Right now my motivation is I know that Richaun has value, I know that he has things that he can bring to the table and I respect how he’s handled himself when he wasn’t playing that much,” Brown said. “I know it’s my job to keep him alive and tonight was an example of that and I thought he did very very well.”
  • The Sixers could be an option for Ersan Ilyasova once he completes a rumored buyout with the Hawks, according to Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports. Ilyasova spent 53 games in Philadelphia last season before being traded to Atlanta.

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Hardaway, Theis, Holmes, Booker

After both Frank Ntilikina and Jarrett Jack were upstaged by T.J. McConnell in the Knicks‘ Christmas loss to the Sixers, head coach Jeff Hornacek wants both players to be more aggressive, Zach Braziller of the New York Post writes.

“We always tell our point guards, if someone is pressuring you, just drive right around them. Don’t wait for them to get into your body and try to make a move,” Hornacek said. “You see when he comes up to get you. That’s that change of pace, that change of speeds, when you go one way then slow down, then speed up. And that’s something that Frank will learn.”

Ntilikina and Jack combined to shoot just 2-for-13 from the field in the loss. Also, the 20-year-old Ntilikina had a rare off night on defense, a part of the young Frenchman’s game that has been lauded thus far. With Jack the incumbent starter, the Knicks do not have much depth at the position, meaning the Knicks will need consistency from both players as the team battles for playoff contention.

Check out other Atlantic Division stories below:

  • Tim Hardaway Jr.‘s timetable to return from a stress injury to his left shin remains a mystery, ESPN’s Ian Begley writes. The Knicks announced on Wednesday that Hardaway has made progress — which includes on-court activities such as jumping — and that he will be evaluated weekly. The exact severity of Hardaway’s injury remains unclear but the team hopes to have their prized offseason signee back at some point in January.
  • Celtics big man Daniel Theis does not like playing with a protective mask on his face but his recent performance was not impacted by the facial inconvenience, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston writes. Theis grabbed 15 rebounds in the Celtics’ win over the Bulls last Saturday. While he maintains that the mask is bothersome, he said the current one he uses has improved his vision on the court. Theis hopes to play without the mask in three weeks.
  • Derek Bodner of The Athletic (subscription required and recommended) examined the Sixers’ recent loss to the Raptors. Bodner also highlights the disappearance of Trevor Booker and Richaun Holmes in Philadelphia’s recent skid.

Atlantic Notes: LeVert, Holmes, Hayward

The Nets have been pleased with the progress they’ve seen out of 23-year-old sophomore Caris LeVert. As Alex Squadron of the New York Post writes, the second-year swingman has begun to show what he’s capable of as a playmaker.

He’s come a long way,” Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson said. “I think we had high expectations for him. We kind of knew right off the bat he was going to be pretty good. I’m glad that the high expectations we had — it’s starting to show. It’s starting to come to light that he’s a pretty good player.

The Nets have relied on LeVert to handle some playmaking duties, something he did during his time in college. Over the course of the past four games, LeVert has averaged 16.5 points and 7.3 assists per game.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Third-year Sixers big man Richaun Holmes has made the most of an increase in playing time of late. The reserve can shift between the four and the five and provide offense off the bench. “It’s just a matter of the playing time, the opportunity,” Holmes told Keith Pompey of The Inquirer. “I know what I can do on the court.
  • Despite the fact that he hasn’t even turned 20 years old, Frank Ntilikina is beginning to show that he could lead an NBA offense, perhaps sooner than later. As Fred Kerber of the New York Post writes, the Knicks rookie continues to develop in a variety of ways as the season progresses.
  • Although there remains no timetable for his return, Celtics forward Gordon Hayward has been given the green light to remove his walking boot. “I feel alright I guess, as well as I could,” Hayward told the media, including A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston. “I’m out of the boot right now so that’s good, slowly getting better.

Atlantic Rumors: Johnson, LeBron, Stauskas, Raptors

Sixers veteran big man Amir Johnson isn’t pouting about sitting out the team’s loss to the Warriors on Saturday, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Johnson, who signed a one-year, $11MM contract in the offseason, was actually appreciative that coach Brett Brown forewarned him that he would not play for the first time this season.  “I can’t do anything but respect having a coach come up to you and letting you know when you are going to get ready,” Johnson told Pompey. “With me being a vet, I always stay ready.” Johnson and Richaun Holmes are sharing time as center Joel Embiid‘s backups. Johnson isn’t concerned how his lack of playing time could impact him in the free agent market next summer, Pompey adds.

In other news around the Atlantic Division:

  • Cavaliers forward LeBron James wasn’t criticizing rookie guard Frank Ntilikina but rather taking a potshot at former Knicks president Phil Jackson with his comments regarding Mavs rookie guard Dennis Smith Jr., according to ESPN.com’s Dave McMenamin. James said over the weekend that Smith “should be a Knick,” referring to Smith going one pick after the Knicks selected Ntilikina. James clarified his remarks on Monday, emphasizing he didn’t mean to disparage Ntilikina’s ability. Ntilikina still apparently took offense to James’ comments, giving the perennial All-Star a shove during their teams’ game on Monday night, the Associated Press’ Brian Mahoney tweets.
  • The Sixers will be without backup guard Nik Stauskas for at least a week. He’s out with a sprained right ankle, Pompey tweets, and will be reevaluated in 7-10 days. That leave the Sixers a little thin in the backcourt. Jerryd Bayless is out indefinitely with a wrist injury.
  • The Raptors’ offensive issues have led to poor transition defense, as Doug Smith of the Toronto Star notes. The Raptors have made just 33.5% of their 3-point attempts while hoisting up an average of 31.1 per game. That leads to long rebounds and poor floor balance, a major reason why the Raptors rank 27th by allowing an average of 13.4 fast-break points per game, Smith adds.

Sixers Notes: Okafor, Holmes, McConnell, Fultz

The Sixers refuse to negotiate a buyout with Jahlil Okafor in part because they don’t want the Celtics to get him for free, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Philadelphia has held trade talks with Boston about the third-year center, dating back to last season. The Celtics were recently awarded an $8.4MM disabled player exception and would probably pounce on Okafor if he hits the open market.

In addition, Pompey notes, the Sixers have a history of trying to get something in exchange for their players, even when their future clearly is no longer in Philadelphia. As an example, he cites Evan Turner, who was in the same situation as Okafor four years ago. The Sixers decided in October not to pick up Turner’s option, but he remained on the roster until the February deadline, when he was dealt to Indiana. Pompey suggests that if Philly can’t find an acceptable deal for Okafor, he could face a long wait until he plays again.

There’s more news out of Philadelphia:

  • Richaun Holmes, who made his season debut Friday night, gives the Sixers a needed boost to their interior defense, Pompey adds in a separate story. Now recovered from a fractured bone in his left wrist, Holmes limited the Pacers to six points in the paint while he was in the game. Coach Brett Brown says Amir Johnson remains the primary backup to Joel Embiid, but Pompey believes Holmes will challenge for playing time. “Richaun gave us a lot of energy and I’m glad to have him back,” Embiid said.
  • T.J. McConnell has managed to contribute this season, even though Ben Simmons has been given control of the offense, according to David Murphy of The Philadelphia Inquirer. McConnell, who started 51 games at point guard last season, has been moved to a reserve role and has been effective when paired with Simmons in the backcourt.
  • The oddest story surrounding the Sixers this year has involved first-round pick Markelle Fultz, writes Ken Berger of Bleacher Report. After playing well during summer league, Fultz reported to training camp in September with a changed shooting motion and was recently diagnosed with scapular muscle imbalance in his right shoulder. Former Lakers strength and conditioning coach Tim DiFrancesco said scapular imbalance isn’t painful and is a common condition in the NBA. “It certainly can lead to some structural pathology and pain issues,” DiFrancesco said. “But that in itself is not going to immediately, directly, equal pain.”

Atlantic Notes: Morris, Porzingis, Holmes

The Celtics will get Marcus Morris back tonight, A. Sherrod Blakely of NBC Sports Boston tweets. The 28-year-old forward will make his debut with the franchise after coming over from the Pistons in a trade last summer.

Expect Morris to come off the bench in his Celtics debut with a minute restriction of around 20, Blakely adds in a second tweet.

Last season Morris averaged 14.0 points in 32.5 minutes per game for the Pistons. This year he’ll look to provide toughness and veteran leadership to a Celtics team eager to prove that they’re deep enough across the board to win the Eastern Conference.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Leave it to former Knicks coach Mike D’Antoni to understand what current coach Jeff Hornacek is going through as the man on the sidelines under the New York media spotlight. “He’s been around the game forever,” D’Antoni told Al Iannazzone of Newsday. “But you do have to get through the noise. Whether you listen to it or not, I don’t know. Hopefully he doesn’t. The way the team is playing right now, it looks good . . . Just don’t respond and don’t listen to it and if you don’t, you can live a very happy life.
  • The Sixers have plenty of big men but that doesn’t mean head coach Brett Brown isn’t still excited about the return of Richaun Holmes, who has missed the first two weeks of the season with a wrist injury. The center will return to action tonight, Keith Pompey of The Inquirer writes. “His breakaway-like rim-to-rim speed in early offense is A-plus,” Brown said. “There is sort of tenacity and toughness. He wears his heart on his sleeve that I think adds to what we are trying to do anyways. But there’s just a bounce to Richaun Holmes that makes him different.
  • The emergence of Kristaps Porzingis has brought a familiar but rare buzz back to Madison Square Garden. Barbara Barker of Newsday wrote about the excitement that surrounds the Knicks now, for the first time since Linsanity in 2012.