Robert Covington

Sixers Notes: Colangelo, Simmons, George, Covington

Bryan Colangelo has become the least trusted GM in Philadelphia, charges Marcus Hayes of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Hayes blasts Colangelo for being evasive about releasing injury details regarding Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Dario Saric and others, and more recently for refusing to say whether Ben Simmons will play in the Summer League. The writer contends that Simmons needs the work to help with his transition to point guard and criticizes Colangelo for not being more open about the team’s plans.

There’s more news out of Philadelphia:

  • A long string of injuries and the February trades of Noel and Ersan Ilyasova made Colangelo’s first full season in charge look like another Sam Hinkie season, writes Bob Ford of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Ford adds that the team wasn’t able to address several important questions for the future of the franchise, such as whether Simmons can handle the point guard role, if he and Embiid are an effective combination and if Jerryd Bayless can be counted on as a starter.
  • Pacers forward Paul George might be worth a gamble if the Sixers want to make a splash this summer, Ford writes in a separate column. George has a player option for 2018/19, which means he will be effectively entering the final year of his contract next season. With rumors that he is interested in joining his hometown Lakers, Indiana may be tempted to move him in a trade instead of losing him with nothing in return. The Sixers have young talent to offer, and may have two high picks, depending on the results of next month’s lottery. “At the three, Robert Covington kind of has that position locked up with not a lot of depth at the position currently,” Colangelo recently told reporters. “But we’ve got some interesting draft prospects in the top 10 that happen to address that situation and that need.”
  • Covington underwent minor arthroscopic surgery this week to fix a meniscus tear in his right knee, the Sixers announced on their website. Covington will rehab the knee in Philadelphia and is expected to be ready for full basketball activities this summer.

Atlantic Notes: Raps, Celtics, Rodriguez, Covington

Earlier today, we passed along Knicks president Phil Jackson‘s comments to reporters, including his assertion that Carmelo Anthony might be “better off somewhere else.” We also rounded up a few end-of-season items on the Sixers. We’ve still got a handful of Atlantic notes to relay, so let’s dive right in…

  • With the Raptors preparing to face the Bucks in the first round of the NBA playoffs, Doug Smith of The Toronto Star writes about how Toronto president Masai Ujiri “desperately” tried to trade into the 2013 NBA draft to nab Giannis Antetokounmpo. Of course, those efforts came up short, as Milwaukee selected Antetokounmpo with the No. 15 pick.
  • Appearing this week on WEEI, Celtics owner Wyc Grousbeck was asked about Al Horford‘s impact in Boston this season and said he’d make the Horford signing “in one second” if he had the chance to do it over again. John Tomase of WEEI.com has the quotes and the details.
  • Veteran point guard Sergio Rodriguez is facing free agency and may not be back with the Sixers next season, but he said on Thursday that he’d like to “try to stay in the NBA and play a few more years here,” tweets Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly.com. Rodriguez spent the previous six seasons with Real Madrid before signing with Philadelphia last summer.
  • Sixers forward Robert Covington is undergoing surgery to repair a torn meniscus in his right knee, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Covington’s recovery isn’t expected to take more than four to six weeks, so he should be good to go well before training camp.

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.

Sixers Granted Injury Exception, Sign Alex Poythress

APRIL 2, 9:23am: The signing is official, the team announced in a press release.

APRIL 1, 11:37am: The Sixers have been granted an injury hardship exception, and will use their newfound roster spot to sign Alex Poythress of the D-League, Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical reports (twitter link).

Poythress, 23, received summer league experience with the Magic, and started 45 games for the Fort Wayne Mad Ants this season. A former Kentucky Wildcat, Poythress went undrafted after his senior year.

Having recently lost Jahlil Okafor and Robert Covington for the season due to injuries, the Sixers‘ hardship exception permitted them to expand their roster size to 16. Poythress will presumably be available for Philadelphia’s match-up with Toronto on Sunday.

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.

Details On Paul George Talks Between Sixers, Pacers

In a piece for ESPN.com earlier today, Zach Lowe noted that the Pacers engaged in Paul George trade talks with the Celtics, Hawks, Nuggets, and Sixers at last month’s trade deadline. Boston’s interest in George was well documented, and we heard right after the deadline that Atlanta and Denver made substantial offers for the star forward. However, specific details regarding Philadelphia’s interest in George hadn’t surfaced until now.

Following up on Lowe’s report, Kyle Neubeck of Liberty Ballers did some digging on those pre-deadline trade talks, and learned from multiple sources that the Sixers made a “significant” offer of their own for George. According to Neubeck, the Sixers were willing to give up Robert Covington, at least two first-round picks, and the Pacers’ choice of Nerlens Noel or Jahlil Okafor. The Sixers reportedly preferred to include other teams’ picks – such as the Lakers’ and Kings’ first-rounders – rather than their own.

Neubeck adds that there wasn’t a consensus among his sources about the Noel/Okafor aspect of the 76ers’ hypothetical package. One source said that the team specifically offered Noel, while others suggested that Philadelphia would have been willing to sub in Okafor if it made a real difference to the Pacers. Ultimately, Noel was sent to the Mavericks instead, while Okafor stayed put.

According to one member of the Sixers, the team wasn’t turned off by George’s reported interest in the Lakers. Neubeck writes that the Sixers believed that if they acquired George they could convince him to stay in Philadelphia long-term, forming a tantalizing core with players like Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Dario Saric.

As Lowe wrote earlier today, the Pacers never appeared all that serious about moving George at this year’s trade deadline, but it’s possible that stance will change down the road. Even with Noel no longer in the mix, the Sixers still have plenty of assets to make another run at All-Star forward, if they so choose.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Yabusele, Triangle Offense

Confirmed out for the season earlier this month, the next step in the recovery process for Sixers rookie Joel Embiid is figuring out what approach to take with regard to his torn meniscus. Embiid and the organization took the club’s west coast road trip as a chance to discuss surgery options with Los Angeles doctors, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

We are trying to study his path and go about it meticulously,” head coach Brett Brown sqaid, adding that they’re actively trying to keep him a part of the Sixers team even though he may not be suiting up.

As Pompey writes, there are three major types of surgeries for a torn meniscus and the Sixers now face the challenge of finding an option that works best for Embiid. “He’s got an inner circle around him that’s helping guide him. We are just taking all the information in. Ultimately, he’s the one that has to feel comfortable with it,” added Brown.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

Sixers Notes: Okafor, Embiid, Ilyasova

The Sixers are stuck in an unenviable situation of having two big men thought to be future standout performers playing the same position who struggle while on the court together. Indeed, the roster problem that having centers Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor presents is nothing new for the Sixers, but it is now evident that the experiment is taking its toil on the franchise, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer writes. It is obvious that the team struggles when the two players share the court, but the Sixers have had trouble trading Okafor and Noel for what it perceives as equal value, Pompey adds. What’s more, the value of Okafor and Embiid will continue to dip if they are not on the court, thus making the situation quirkier and more problematic, Pompey notes. The Sixers are 1-5 in games they have both started and for specific reasons why the duo has not meshed, it is worth giving Pompey’s piece a read.

Here is more out of Philadelphia:

  • In a lineup that does seem to work, Embiid and power forward Ersan Ilyasova played well off of each other, Pompey writes in the same piece, and it will be interesting to see if Ilyasova’s role is increased. Ilyasova was acquired in a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder on November 1st.
  • Robert Covington has struggled with his shot this season, but erupted during the second half of Friday’s game after receiving a boost of confidence from Sixers coach Brett Brown, Brian Seltzer of NBA.com relays. Covington will make slightly over $1.0MM this season and the team holds an option worth roughly $1.1MM for the 2017/18 campaign.

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Covington, Lin, Celtics

Sixers center Joel Embiid and Grizzlies forward Chandler Parsons have bonded on social media because of their history with injuries, writes Jessica Camerato of CSNPhilly. Embiid, who is playing for the first time in three seasons and remains on a minutes limit, has commented on several of Parsons’ posts. Parsons, who spent the offseason rehabbing from microfracture surgery, can sympathize with the rookie’s plight. “Him coming off surgery and me coming off surgery, he asked me a lot of questions about the recovery,” Parsons said. “He’s an awesome listener. … A lot of guys kind of get complacent, get used to being hurt, don’t work as hard. But he takes his rehab very, very seriously and he takes care of his body. He does all the right things and you see it paying off now with the success he’s hard early this season.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Robert Covington has found ways to contribute even as he suffers through a long shooting slump, writes Robert Cooney of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Sixers fans are starting to turn against the fourth-year small forward, who is shooting just 29% from the floor and 27% from 3-point range, but coach Brett Brown recognizes his value in other areas. “Somebody had given me a stat, I believe was produced by ESPN, and they had him as the third-ranked small forward in the NBA as far as his defensive efficiency rating,” Brown said. “He really has improved his defense.” The Sixers have a $1,087,745 team option on Covington for next season.
  • The Nets have nosedived since Jeremy Lin‘s injury, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. After a 2-3 start, Brooklyn has just two victories since Lin went down with a strained hamstring in early November. The Nets’ offensive and defensive ratings are both significantly worse without Lin. “Offensively it’s just the challenges with different lineups and different stuff just getting on the same page,’’ coach Kenny Atkinson said. “But we’ve done it before with different lineups, so [we have to] focus in on our execution, making sure that we’re doing all the little things, in the right spots and making the right pass and making the right play.” There is still no timetable for Lin to return.
  • A. Sherrod Blakely of CSNNE checks in on four players whose draft rights are owned by the Celtics. Abdel Nader is with the team’s D-League affiliate in Maine, while Marcus ThorntonGuerschon Yabusele and Ante Zizic are all overseas.
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