Shake Milton

Sixers Pick Up Shake Milton’s Team Option

JUNE 28: The Sixers have officially exercised Milton’s team option, tweets Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com.


JUNE 15: The Sixers are expected to exercise their team option on Shake Milton for 2022/23, according to Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). If and when it’s officially picked up, the option will lock in Milton’s $1,997,718 salary for next season.

The 54th overall pick in the 2018 draft, Milton has spent his first four NBA seasons in Philadelphia and has been a regular contributor for the last three years. After averaging 13.0 PPG and 3.1 APG on .450/.350/.830 shooting in 63 games (23.2 MPG) in 2020/21, Milton took a step backward this past season, as his numbers dipped to 8.2 PPG and 2.5 APG on .429/.323/.836 shooting.

Still, based on his NBA résumé to date, Milton is a relative bargain on what is essentially a minimum-salary contract. So it came as a bit of a surprise when Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer wrote earlier today of a belief around the league that the 76ers would decline his ’22/23 option. Scotto’s report suggests that belief is misguided.

Pompey’s story was especially perplexing because declining Milton’s option would make him ineligible to be traded outside of a sign-and-trade structure, and Pompey’s sources indicated the team has been gauging the 25-year-old’s value on the trade market. Milton would be trade-eligible once his option is officially exercised.

Team option decisions for 2022/23 are due by June 29. Our tracker can be found right here.

Sixers Gauging Trade Interest In Harris, Thybulle, Others

The Sixers are exploring the trade market to gauge rival teams’ interest in forwards Tobias Harris and Matisse Thybulle, as well as guards Furkan Korkmaz and Shake Milton, multiple sources tell Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Pompey also previously confirmed that the 76ers are considering potential trade scenarios involving the No. 23 pick and Danny Green‘s expiring contract.

As Pompey writes, Philadelphia is committed to keeping Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, and there’s an expectation James Harden will be back as well. However, the front office realizes the rest of the roster isn’t championship-caliber and is weighing possible ways to upgrade it.

As we noted on Tuesday when we previewed the Sixers’ offseason, Harris’ contract – which will pay him $37.6MM in 2022/23 – would be the team’s most logical trade chip in any major deal involving multiple veteran players. However, Harris was the third or fourth option for the Sixers and his exorbitant cap hit will likely make potential trade partners view him as a negative – or, at best, neutral – asset.

Most of the other possible trade candidates mentioned by Pompey aren’t earning significantly more than the minimum, so their salary-matching value would be limited. Korkmaz will make $5MM next season, while Thybulle is on the books for $4.4MM.

The 76ers hold a $2MM team option on Milton for ’22/23, and Pompey suggests there’s a belief around the NBA that the Sixers won’t pick it up. However, it would need to be exercised in order to make Milton trade-eligible — if it’s declined, he’d become an unrestricted free agent. I’d be surprised if that option isn’t exercised, but the fact that there’s even a question about whether or not that will happen means Milton probably isn’t a very valuable trade asset.

Korkmaz, Thybulle, and Milton were all part of Philadelphia’s regular rotation this past season, but all come with some red flags. Kokmaz made a career-worst 28.9% of his three-pointers, Thybulle failed to take a step forward as an offensive player, and Milton also saw his three-point rate dip (to 32.3%).

Atlantic Notes: Embiid, Milton, Reddish, Irving

The Sixers have been hounded by trade rumors all season due to the uncertain status of Ben Simmons. They’re also reportedly interested in moving Tobias Harris‘ contract in a Simmons deal.

However, the team’s biggest star Joel Embiid doesn’t see any urgency to make a big trade, Tim Bontemps of ESPN writes. He notes that the team is doing just fine without Simmons.

“When I look at where we are when we got most of the team in the lineup, especially me in the lineup, then we are 21-9. That’s not bad,” Embiid said. “That’s up there with the best records in the NBA. So, all that tells me is that we just got to stay healthy, keep doing what we’ve been doing. I feel pretty good, and I don’t think we’ve played our best basketball yet. We still got a long way to go. We’re missing guys here and there that could really help us. There’s really no urgency to change anything. I think we got everything we need.”

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • One of the “missing” players that Embiid was referring to, guard Shake Milton, won’t be back in the near future, Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. Coach Doc Rivers said that Milton is still in pain due to a back contusion. “He’s still really struggling. I don’t foresee him back anytime soon,” Rivers said. “The fact that I probably could beat him in a race today would tell me he’s a long way away.” Milton hasn’t played since January 3.
  • Cam Reddish won’t play for the Knicks right away. The forward, who was acquired from Atlanta this week, is dealing with an ankle sprain and will be out “for a while,” New York coach Tom Thibodeau told the New York Post’s Greg Joyce (Twitter link) and other media members. Thibodeau is eager to see what Reddish can do once he’s healthy. “It gives us an opportunity to look at Cam. … Size, athleticism, wing position,” he said. “Sometimes a change of scenery is good for people. So we’ll see how it unfolds.”
  • The Nets have played much better on the road than at home and they’ll have Kyrie Irving available for most of their upcoming games, Peter Botte of the New York Post notes. Brooklyn is entering a stretch where it plays nine of its next 11 on the road and Irving is eligible to participate in those games. Brooklyn is 15-4 on the road and 11-11 at home. “I think it’s going around the league a little bit where teams — good teams, in particular — are having less impressive records at home than on the road,” coach Steve Nash said. “I don’t really know why that is.”

COVID-19 Updates: Wizards, Trail Blazers, Heat, Rockets, Sixers, I. Thomas, More

The league continues to be battered by players entering and exiting the health and safety protocols. If any of the players entering the protocols registered a confirmed positive COVID-19 test, they’ll remain sidelined for at least six days or until they can return two consecutive negative tests at least 24 hours apart.

Here are the latest updates from around the NBA:

Sixers’ Drummond, Clippers’ Jackson, Others Exit Protocols

Sixers center Andre Drummond has exited the NBA’s health and safety protocols and was in attendance at the team’s practice on Wednesday, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link).

Drummond had been one of three Sixers players in the protocols, along with Shake Milton and Danny Green. While Green is still listed as out for Thursday’s game in Brooklyn, the team is hopeful that Milton will be able to clear the protocols and play in that game, tweets Pompey. Milton is currently considered questionable.

Here are a few more COVID-related updates:

  • Clippers guard Reggie Jackson has exited the COVID-19 protocols and rejoined the team, but won’t play on Wednesday in Boston, sources tell Andrew Greif of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link). Jackson will need a little reconditioning work before being activated.
  • Kings rookie Davion Mitchell has cleared the health and safety protocols, tweets Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Another rookie, center Neemias Queta, is currently the only Sacramento player in the protocols.
  • Thunder center Derrick Favors is no longer listed on the team’s injury report, which is a sign that he has cleared the protocols, notes Joe Mussatto of The Oklahoman (Twitter link). Favors was just placed in the protocols on Tuesday, so he may have registered a false positive.

Drummond, Milton In Protocols; Sixers-Pelicans Game Postponed

12:09 PM: The game between the Sixers and Pelicans Sunday night has been postponed, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski tweets. In a follow-up tweet, Wojnarowski says Philadelphia may be able to resume playing Monday against Boston.


11:01 PM: The Sixers may not have eight available players for tonight’s game against the Pelicans, which could cause it to be postponed, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Andre Drummond and Shake Milton have both entered the league’s health and safety protocols, joining teammate Georges Niang, Charania adds. In addition, Furkan Korkmaz has a non-COVID illness, three other players are hurt and Danny Green and Tyrese Maxey are listed as questionable.

The Sixers are scheduled to play tomorrow night in Boston, where the Celtics also have COVID-19 issues, so that game may be in jeopardy as well. Then they’re off until Thursday against the Hawks, who saw All-Star guard Trae Young enter the protocols earlier today.

If they tested positive, Drummond and Milton will both remain in protocols for 10 days unless they can submit two consecutive negative tests for the virus at least 24 hours apart. Counting tonight’s game, Philadelphia is scheduled to play five times in the next 10 days.

Atlantic Notes: Durant, Brown, Bembry, Drummond, Milton

Nets head coach Steve Nash knows he needs to be careful not to overburden star Kevin Durant, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post.

Durant, who leads the NBA in scoring with 29.5 points per game, is shooting a career-high 58.5% from the field. Nash says the team is intent on finding Durant more shots within the flow of the offense, instead of relying on him to bail them out with his great one-on-one play.

That’s the luxury of All-Star players, that they can do that. Kevin’s obviously elite at scoring and isolating, and there are times when we lean on him. But it’s important for our team that we don’t overburden (him),” said Nash.

You want to give him as many great opportunities to score out of the flow and out of teamwork, rather than have to face a loaded defense all night. So while that is a luxury — that he can make plays against anyone — we definitely don’t want to rely on that. That’s the antithesis to our vision. But that is a luxury, when he can just rise up and score over people.”

The Nets have just seven players back from last season, and Nash says all the new faces are still trying to figure out how to play together.

It’s a new group, and we’re asking them to play a lot of basketball where they’re reading situations, playing early, and with a randomness, but with principles,” Nash said. “That takes time to develop that feel for one another. But I think that’s where our group needs to go. … It still takes time and there are only stretches of the game where we execute that vision.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Matthew Brooks of NetsDaily.com provides a video breakdown of how the NetsBruce Brown and DeAndre’ Bembry have played key roles in shaping the team’s newfound defensive identity. Brown re-signed with Brooklyn in the offseason, while Bembry was added in free agency.
  • With Sixers star Joel Embiid sidelined with COVID-19, it’s Andre Drummond‘s time to shine, opines Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Pompey believes that Drummond, a free agent signing on a one-year, minimum-salary contract, has already proven to be a clear upgrade over Dwight Howard, Embiid’s replacement last season. Drummond is averaging 15 points, 20 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.0 steals per game in three starts this season.
  • Sixers guard Shake Milton has given the team a boost since returning from a sprained ankle, according to Gina Mizell of the Inquirer. Milton has shown a willingness to play multiple roles and is competing harder on defense. “However it comes, I think I’m going to be prepared,” Milton said. “My mentality every game is to come in and bring the team energy, pick up full court, play-make on offense, guard my guy on defense and do whatever I can to help the team win.”

Sixers Notes: Milton, Offseason, Contention, Simmons

Sixers reserve guard Shake Milton continues to struggle with a sprained ankle. Head coach Doc Rivers said today that Milton was “nowhere near” being ready to rejoin his teammates in Philadelphia’s season-opening contest on Wednesday against the Pelicans, tweets Tom Moore of the Bucks County Courier Times. Rivers added that he expects Milton to be unavailable “for a while.”

The 6’5″ Milton, selected with the No. 54 pick in the 2018 draft, enjoyed a breakout year with the Sixers during the 2020/21 season, averaging career highs of 13.0 PPG, 3.1 APG and 2.3 in 63 games.

There’s more out of the City of Brotherly Love:

  • After a tumultuous offseason that saw an extended holdout from All-Star Ben Simmons, the Sixers have their work cut out for them to remain a contender in the East. John Hollinger of The Athletic supplies a fresh recap for Philadelphia’s offseason moves and examines the club’s cap situation in a new season preview. Hollinger offers high marks for the club’s value free agency signings, especially applauding the addition of reserve power forward Georges Niang and the re-signings of wings Danny Green and Furkan Korkmaz to team-friendly deals.
  • The Sixers are optimistic they can compete for a title, even with the situation surrounding disgruntled star Ben Simmons still unsettled, per Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer“If you don’t have great expectations, you are not going to have great success,” head coach Doc Rivers observed. “We have to be able to handle the expectations that we create.”
  • After successfully clearing team health and safety protocols, embattled Sixers All-Star Ben Simmons has resumed practicing with Philadelphia as a full participant, writes Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Head coach Doc Rivers said he intends to treat Simmons as if he will playing with the club going forward. “Well we have to,” Rivers said. “As a coach, I’m literally in a tough spot, right? But we literally have to.” According to an ESPN report, it remains uncertain when Simmons will play actual games for the Sixers. “When he’s ready, he’ll play,” Rivers said.

Eastern Notes: Rose, Martin Twins, Ball, Milton

Knicks guard Derrick Rose downplayed the ankle injury he suffered during the team’s preseason win over Washington on Saturday, as relayed by Marc Berman of the New York Post. Rose was dealing with the injury throughout the fourth quarter and left for the locker room with one minute remaining.

“It’s nothing serious at all, but if I kept playing I probably would’ve made it worse,’’ Rose said. “I think I probably did it myself. It’s the second game — all this is new, moving around, Thibs training camps are different. I just have to take my time. I’m getting older. I tweaked it but didn’t twist it all the way. Thibs understood [when I took myself out].’’

Rose is expected to serve as the team’s backup point guard behind Kemba Walker this season. He played a key role in the team’s success last season, averaging 14.9 points, 4.2 assists and 26.8 minutes per game in 35 contests.

There’s more from the Eastern Conference tonight:

Atlantic Notes: Nash, Irving, Sixers, Raptors

Kyrie Irving is back with the Nets, but he won’t be traveling with the team for tomorrow’s preseason game at Philadelphia, and coach Steve Nash seems resigned to the fact that Irving is going to start missing home games unless he gets vaccinated, according to Brian Lewis of the New York Post.

I think we recognize he’s not playing home games,” said Nash. “We’re going to have to for sure play without him this year; so it just depends on when, where and how much.”

However, Nash also noted that things can change quickly in this unprecedented situation, per Lewis.

Right now we assume he’s not going to be available for home games,” Nash said. “Anything can change. Who’s to say, the city’s ordinance could change? Anything could change.”

Right now we’re just trying to remain flexible, open-minded and figure it out as we go, because information is coming in by the half-day here, whether it’s Paul [Millsap’s health and safety protocol] situation, Kyrie’s situation or the laws. We found out Friday he could come in the building, so things are shifting. No one’s been through this before, and we’re just trying to figure it out as we go.”

Here’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Tyrese Maxey and Shake Milton of the Sixers appear locked in a battle over the starting point guard spot with Ben Simmons still away from the team, writes Derek Bodner of The Athletic. The players have taken turns starting the team’s first two preseason games, with mixed results for both. However, Bodner thinks Maxey has much higher upside and should be given the opportunity to start, given Milton’s physical limitations.
  • In the same article, Bodner notes that second-year guard Isaiah Joe has been outstanding thus far in the preseason and is making a strong case for a spot in the Sixers‘ rotation. Joe is averaging 16.5 PPG while shooting 7-12 (58.3%) from three, and he’s also shown growth as a shot-creator and defender. Coach Doc Rivers has taken notice, per Bodner. “He’s starting to put the ball on the floor. That’s something he couldn’t do (last year),” Rivers said. “He made plays tonight getting into the paint there’s no way he could have done that last year. Good for him because he’s putting all the work in.”
  • The Raptors have been impressed with free agent acquisition Sviatoslav Mykhailiuk thus far, writes Doug Smith of the Toronto Star.
  • Khem Birch is out of health and safety protocols and could be available for the Raptors tomorrow against Houston, tweets Josh Lewenberg of TSN Sports.