T.J. McConnell

Sixers Sign Demetrius Jackson To Two-Way Deal

4:58pm: The signing is official, per team release.

4:42pm: The Sixers will sign guard Demetrius Jackson to a two-way contract and release forward James Michael McAdoo, Shams Charania of The Vertical tweets.

Jackson signed a two-way deal with the Rockets during the offseason after the Celtics waived him. Houston terminated Jackson’s contract and then signed him to a 10-day deal earlier this month. However, he did not figure in the Rockets’ plans and the 10-day deal bought him and his representatives time to find a better situation.

The 6’1” point guard made 12 cameo appearances with the Rockets, playing an average of 5.3 MPG. The Notre Dame product played five games for Boston last season after being selected in the second round as the No. 45 overall pick in 2016.

He’ll provide depth behind T.J. McConnell, Jerryd Bayless and top pick Markelle Fultz, who has been plagued by shoulder woes in his rookie campaign.

McAdoo signed a two-way contract with Philadelphia in late August but appeared in just three games.

Atlantic Notes: Morris, Celtics, Crabbe, McConnell

Celtics forward Marcus Morris will be back in action today after missing eight games with a left knee injury, tweets Jeff Goodman of ESPN. The knee has been an issue all season, as soreness caused him to miss the first eight games of the season. Morris is excited about the holiday matchup against the Wizards and his twin brother Markieff. “This has to be history,” Marcus Morris said. “First twins to play on Christmas against each other.”

There’s more news from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Celtics‘ heated rivalry with Washington may not be the same after Boston’s offseason roster shakeup, writes Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald. The teams staged a contentious seven-game semifinal series in last year’s playoffs that seemed to cement a long-standing bitterness. But many of those Celtics are gone, Bulpett notes, and today’s game features not only a reunion of the Morris twins but a meeting of Jayson Tatum and Bradley Beal, two St. Louis natives who frequently encourage each other on social media. “We never hated anybody,” said Marcus Smart, one of the Celtics’ holdovers from last season. “I don’t think nobody really hates anybody. As a competitor, you just want to go out there and do everything you can to win. This game is 80 percent mental, and if you can get under your opponent’s skin early, you did half the battle.”
  • Allen Crabbe hasn’t provided the 3-point shooting the Nets expected when they traded for him, notes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn acquired Crabbe from Portland this summer, finally securing a player the organization signed to a four-year, $83MM offer sheet in 2016. A career 42% shooter from long distance, Crabbe has dipped to 36% since joining the Nets. “It happens. For me the biggest focus is stop settling so much,” Crabbe said. “I know I said the ‘shooters shoot’ quote, and we do. But me trying to find easier ones as well would help the confidence.”
  • Sixers coach Brett Brown was thrilled by T.J. McConnell‘s 15-point performance in today’s win over the Knicks, tweets Jessica Camerato of NBC Sports Philadelphia. The backup point guard, who has a $1.6MM team option for next season, has become a personal project for his coach. “He wears his heart on his sleeve,” Brown said. “I have a very antagonistic relationship with him. I coach him harder than I coach anybody. I’m so proud of him coming out of left field, being in the NBA, staying in the NBA and now playing in the NBA.”

Atlantic Notes: Kanter, McConnell, Russell

Despite having missed the last two games with back spasms, Enes Kanter remains committed to trying to play Monday night, Al Iannazzone of Newsday writes. The 25-year-old wants to get back out on the court for the Knicks even if he’s not quite 100% ready.

I might not be a hundred percent, but I think I’m going to try and play,” the Knicks’ center said. “I play with pain probably 95 percent of the season every season. If they think it’s not going to affect me in the long run, I’ll play. It doesn’t matter.

Of course the Knicks won’t make any irresponsible decisions with their prized new big man. Kanter is averaging 13.6 points and 10.2 rebounds per game so far this season.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • For the third straight year, Sixers guard T.J. McConnell is proving that he’s an overlooked – and underpaid – asset. Keith Pompey of The Inquirer writes that the 25-year-old guard proved himself all over again as a substitute starter for the injured Ben Simmons this weekend. McConnell makes just $1.4MM this season.
  • Although he remains inactive without a timetable, injured guard D’Angelo Russell will join the Nets on their upcoming road trip, Anthony Puccio of Nets Daily writes. The offseason addition will be called upon to help lead from the sidelines and stay engaged with the group.
  • With some of the best length in the NBA, Kristaps Porzingis could be a nightmare for opposing teams in the paint. Per Marc Berman of the New York Post, legendary big man Hakeem Olajuwon would like to mentor the 7’3″ Knicks forward whose current Dream Shake leaves much to be desired.

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.”

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.”

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).

Sixers Notes: Simmons, Saric, McConnell

The Sixers lost to the Celtics in Game 7 of the 2012 Eastern Conference semifinals and Lavoy Allen believes that if Philadelphia had prevailed in that contest, the franchise would be in a much different position, as Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer relays.

“We would have had a couple of more years with [Nikola Vucevic], Andre Iguodala, and a few of the guys,” said Allen. “We would have had some more good years if we would have kept that team together.”

Instead, the team pivoted, making a trade for Andrew Bynum. The big man wasn’t able to stay on the court and a year later, The Process was born.

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Coach Brett Brown would like to see Ben Simmons participate in summer league, but it’s unclear if the 2016 No.1 overall pick will be healthy enough to play, Pompey passes along in the same piece. “His health and the judgment of his health rules the day. I don’t know what that looks like when we are talking about the summer league,” Brown said.
  • Brown would like to see the Sixers add shooters this offseason, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Daily News relays. “We need shooters,” Brown said. “That’s kind of the bottom line. We need to get Ben Simmons the ball, we need to have Joel be Joel, and get a bunch of shooters around them.”
  • Bob Cooney of the Philadelphia Inquirer believes Dario Saric is best suited for a role off the bench next season. The scribe believes Joel Embiid needs someone who can shoot from behind the arc next to him in the frontcourt and Saric only made 31.1% of his 3-point attempts this season.
  • If the Sixers want to win next season, T.J. McConnell may give them the best chance to do so, Marcus Hayes of the Philadelphia Daily News opines. Hayes is a fan of the point guard’s defense and he believes McConnell will return better immediate value at the position than Simmons or a first-round draft pick would.

Atlantic Notes: Rodriguez, Lowry, McConnell

Sergio Rodriguez, who has been a rotation mainstay in his first NBA season since 2009/10, stated his desire to remain with the Sixers beyond this season.

“It’s going to be a special thing in the coming years in Philadelphia,” Rodriguez told Keith Pompey of Philly.com. “You always want to be a part of that. It’s been a good season for me, a great season for the team.”

With only three games remaining this season, Rodriguez was uncertain whether he would play again in 2016/17.

“It’s feeling better. But the injury is kind of tricky because you never know when you are 100 percent,” Rodriguez said of his hamstring injury. “The way that we are not practicing, it makes it hard to recover well.”

More from around the Atlantic…

  • Kyle Lowry is in postseason form, logging 42 minutes in the Raptors’ 105-102 win over the Pistons on Wednesday. In a post-game interview, Lowry told Doug Smith of The Toronto Star he has no fear of wearing himself out before the playoffs. “That’s one thing about me . . . if I’m going to come back, I’m going to come back and play basketball. No limitations, no restrictions, I’m going to go hoop,” said Lowry, who had missed a 21-game stretch with a wrist injury. “The game of basketball is fun for me. It’s what I love to do and I just wanted to go out there and help my guys and help my team get a win.”
  • While T.J. McConnell emerged as Brett Brown‘s “primary ball-handler” with the Sixers, he projects to play behind Ben Simmons and Jerryd Bayless in 2017/18. When asked about the possibility of being a third-string point guard, McConnell told Keith Pompey of Philly.com it wouldn’t impair his outlook. “Look, I’m not here to make coaches’ or players’ or front offices’ life more difficult. I’m here to do what they want me to do,” McConnell said. “They want me to be third string, I’m not going accept it. I’m going to work hard to try to be first and second string. But I’m not going to moan and complain about it. I’m going to work hard like I did this year.”

Eastern Rumors: Butler, Raptors, Magic, Celtics

Although he acknowledges that posturing goes on at this time of year, and that one blockbuster offer could change everything, K.C. Johnson of The Chicago Tribune (Twitter links) says the Bulls are telling teams that Jimmy Butler isn’t available. While Chicago is open to listening to calls on Butler, the club is rebuffing all offers and isn’t actively shopping its star forward, says Johnson. The report is in line with what we heard on Monday from Joe Cowley of The Chicago Sun-Times, who said that Butler’s camp has a growing belief that the Bulls’ All-Star won’t be moved.

Here are a few more items of interest from around the Eastern Conference, with the NBA’s trade deadline just two days away:

  • Jake Fischer of SI.com passes along a number of notable updates in his league-wide look at the trade landscape. Among Fischer’s notes? Before they acquired Serge Ibaka, the Raptors made a play for Pistons center Andre Drummond with a package centered around Jonas Valanciunas. Additionally, Fischer reports that the Sixers have no interest in moving T.J. McConnell.
  • It doesn’t appear that the Magic and Pistons have any traction on a Reggie Jackson swap at this point, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link). Kyler notes that things could change by Thursday, but the latest round of Jackson rumors had the Pistons in talks with the Timberwolves and Knicks. While they’re not on the verge of anything with Jackson, the Magic are on the lookout for a point guard upgrade, Kyler tweets, adding that Suns guard Brandon Knight is on Orlando’s radar to a lesser extent.
  • The Celtics have identified a “small group of role players” that would interest them, including P.J. Tucker, per Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe. However, the club has no plans to give up a first-round pick for a modest piece like Tucker, a source tells Himmelsbach. The Globe reporter adds that Sixers big man Jahlil Okafor isn’t presently on Boston’s radar, though ESPN’s Marc Stein said in a recent radio appearance that the C’s hadn’t entirely closed the door on that possibility.
  • Beat reporters in Boston haven’t suggested that the Celtics are close to any deal, but Isaiah Thomas put fans on high alert with a tweet on Monday night. As Chris Forsberg of ESPN.com notes, the last time Thomas sent the eyes-wide-open emoji in a tweet, it happened right before the C’s agreed to sign Al Horford.

Hoops Links: Lowry, Embiid, Antetokounmpo, Porzingis, Nicholson

On Sundays, we link to some of the very best work from around the basketball blogosphere. Do you have a link to a great basketball blog post – either your own or someone else’s – that you want to see featured on Hoops Rumors? Send it to us at HoopsLinks@gmail.com. Here’s this week’s rundown: