Tyrese Maxey

COVID-19 Updates: Beal, Gill, Pacers, Pritchard, Young, Sixers

Wizards guard Bradley Beal re-entered the NBA’s health and safety protocols on Tuesday, as Josh Robbins of The Athletic tweets. It’s Beal’s second protocol-related absence within the last month — he missed three games between December 23-28 due to contact tracing, Robbins notes.

Unlike last season, when any player determined to be a close contact of someone who tested positive for COVID-19 was placed in the protocols, those guidelines only apply to unvaccinated players this season. Beal began the season unvaccinated, but confirmed when he returned in late December that he had recently received the vaccine. That could mean his absence this time around isn’t related to contact tracing, and that he returned a positive or inconclusive test.

The Wizards did get one piece of good news on Tuesday afternoon, as forward Anthony Gill exited the protocols, per Robbins (Twitter link). That means Beal is currently the only Washington player affected.

Here are more protocol-related updates from around the NBA:

  • The Pacers announced on Tuesday that Caris LeVert and Goga Bitadze have exited the health and safety protocols, as James Boyd of The Indianapolis Star writes. Both players have a chance to be available on Wednesday vs. Boston. They’re listed as questionable for now.
  • The Celtics no longer have any players in the COVID-19 protocols, as guard Payton Pritchard has been cleared, according to Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston (Twitter link).
  • Spurs forward Thaddeus Young is no longer in the health and safety protocols, tweets Paul Garcia of Project Spurs. However, San Antonio still has five players in the protocols, tied with Utah for the highest current total in the league.
  • Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey and forward Paul Reed aren’t listed on the team’s latest injury report, indicating that they’ve both cleared the protocols (Twitter links via Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer and Noah Levick of NBC Sports Philadelphia).
  • Of approximately 2,400 “tier 1” staffers working for NBA teams, there have been more than 500 confirmed cases of COVID-19 this season, creating major challenges for franchises, writes Baxter Holmes of ESPN. “You’re basically taking an assembly of people who help the athletes and taking a few people off the line every few days for a week or more,” one athletic training official told ESPN. “It has interfered significantly with the regular protocols and people being given responsibilities/duties they don’t normally have or are even qualified to do in order to get the job done. It’s been the Wild Wild West.”

Sixers Sign Charlie Brown Jr. After Maxey Enters Protocols

The Sixers have added Charlie Brown Jr. on a 10-day contract via the hardship exception after another prominent player entered health and safety protocols, Kyle Neubeck of the Philly Voice tweets. Philadelphia confirmed the signing in a team press release.

Starting guard Tyrese Maxey will miss Monday’s game against Houston due to those restrictions, joining Matisse Thybulle and two others.

Brown was signed to a 10-day contract by the Mavericks but it wasn’t renewed. He made three brief appearances with Dallas.

Brown had been playing with the NBAGL’s Delaware Blue Coats before the wave of COVID positives around the league. He also appeared in a total of 19 games with the Hawks in 2019/20 and the Thunder in 2020/21.

A Philadelphia native, Brown played his college basketball at Saint Joseph’s, where he averaged 19.0 PPG in his final season with the Hawks.

COVID Updates: Joseph, Jackson, Murray, Johnson, Okeke, Rondo, Ball, Maxey

The league continues to be ravaged by COVID positives with an increasing number of players entering the league’s health and safety protocols. Here are the latest updates:

  • The Pistons, who already had six players in protocols, added guards Cory Joseph and Josh Jackson to the list, James Edwards III of The Athletic tweets. The Pistons are scheduled to play the Spurs on Sunday night. San Antonio will be without Dejounte Murray, who also entered protocols on Sunday, Shams Charania of The Athletic tweets.
  • The Magic, who already had a handful of players in protocols, won’t have B.J. Johnson and Chuma Okeke available against Miami on Sunday after they joined the list, the team’s PR department tweets. Moritz Wagner has exited the protocols but is going through a reconditioning period before returning to action, per the team (Twitter link).
  • Lakers point guard Rajon Rondo has entered protocols, joining three other Lakers, Kyle Goon of the Orange County Register tweets.
  • Two-way player Jose Alvarado became the third Pelicans players to enter protocols, Andrew Lopez of ESPN tweets.
  • Bulls guard Lonzo Ball has entered protocols, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN tweets. The Bulls, who have experienced major COVID issues this month, also have Alfonzo McKinnie and Tony Bradley in protocols, Darnell Mayberry of The Athletic tweets. McKinnie just signed a standard contract and he can be replaced via the hardship exemption, Bobby Marks of ESPN tweets. Chicago has seen 14 players enter protocols this month.
  • On the positive side, the Sixers’ Tyrese Maxey was spotted at shootaround after exiting protocols, Keith Pompey of  the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

COVID-19 Updates: Osman, Lyles, Maxey, Kings, Aldridge, Mavericks

If the Cavaliers are able to host the Raptors Sunday afternoon, both teams will have a shell of their normal lineups. Cavs forward Cedi Osman has become the team’s eighth player in the league’s health and safety protocols, tweets Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. He joins Jarrett Allen, Ed Davis, Evan Mobley, RJ Nembhard, Isaac Okoro, Lamar Stevens and Dylan Windler.

Toronto’s roster is even more strained, with 10 players currently in protocols. Khem BirchIsaac Bonga, and Justin Champagnie were placed in the protocols earlier today, joining Precious AchiuwaOG Anunoby, Scottie Barnes, Malachi Flynn, Pascal Siakam, Gary Trent Jr. and Fred VanVleet. Toronto will have to finalize 10-day hardship contracts with at least one more player before game time to reach the league roster minimum of eight.

There’s more COVID-19 news from around the league:

  • Pistons forward Trey Lyles entered the protocols Saturday, becoming the team’s sixth player this week to do so, writes Omari Sankofa II of The Detroit Free Press. Lyles is coming off his best game since signing with Detroit in the offseason, posting 28 points, eight rebounds and four blocks Thursday night. Sankofa expects rookie Luka Garza and possibly Jamorko Pickett to see more playing time while Lyles is unavailable.
  • Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey has also been placed in the protocols, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Maxey has taken over as point guard in the absence of Ben Simmons and has started 28 of the 29 games he has played in his second NBA season.
  • Kings forwards Marvin Bagley III and Louis King have cleared protocols and should be available Sunday, per Jason Anderson of The Sacramento Bee. Terence Davis has been cleared as well, Anderson tweets.
  • Nets coach Steve Nash said veteran big man LaMarcus Aldridge has either exited the protocols or is close, but will need time for conditioning before he can resume playing, relays Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN (Twitter link).
  • Josh Green has joined his Mavericks teammates in Utah after clearing protocols, but won’t be active for tonight’s game, according to Tim MacMahon of ESPN (Twitter link). He’s expected to be able to play during the rest of the team’s road trip.
  • Mavericks assistant coach Kristi Toliver tweeted on Christmas that she contracted COVID-19.

Sixers Notes: Maxey, Embiid, Lillard, Morey

Tyrese Maxey has emerged as a bright spot for the Sixers in the Ben Simmons standoff, writes Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. With Simmons not playing and Shake Milton sidelined by a sprained ankle, Maxey became the team’s opening night point guard. He has remained in the starting lineup and is averaging 16.5 points, 3.7 rebounds and 4.7 assists in his second NBA season.

“Tyrese’s energy is so contagious,” Matisse Thybulle said. “… He’s got one of the hardest jobs on the court being a point guard trying to quarterback the whole gym, and (coach Doc Rivers) doesn’t take it easy on him, and he’s able to take this challenge and show up day in and day out with one of the best attitudes on the team.”

The Sixers landed Maxey with the 21st pick in the 2020 draft, even though they had him ranked in the top 12. President of basketball operations Daryl Morey, who had just arrived from Houston, credits the scouting department and general manager Elton Brand for identifying Maxey as a top prospect.

“We believed in Tyrese so much,” Morey said. “We weren’t looking for ‘solid’. … We felt like our first-round pick, we wanted to shoot for someone who could be a higher-end player in the league. We were surprised he was there, and really thrilled he was there.”

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Joel Embiid had to briefly leave Thursday’s game in the second half to get checked for abdominal pain, but he doesn’t believe it’s a big deal, according to Justin Grasso of SI.com. “In the first quarter, I thought it was a cramp,” Embiid said. “As the game went on, I started not breathing right. So I needed to check it out. I honestly don’t know (what it was), but it was pretty painful. I’m not sure what happened. I don’t know (if it’ll affect me moving forward). I’ll be fine.”
  • There’s a chance to trade for CJ McCollum right now if the Sixers decide to send Ben Simmons to the Trail Blazers, but Damian Lillard probably won’t be available until at least the offseason, Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice states in a mailbag column. However, the collapsed lung that McCollum suffered this week could delay trade talks.
  • Morey’s trade history suggests that Sixers fans shouldn’t get attached to anyone other than Embiid, Neubeck adds. Morey overhauled the Rockets several times during his years in Houston and will continue seek the best possible return for Simmons at any position other than center.

Eastern Notes: Schroder, Maxey, Joe, Bertans

Dennis Schröder signed a one-year contract for the taxpayer mid-level exception in the hopes of building his value. So far, so good. Schröder erupted for 38 points on Friday in the Celtics’ victory over Milwaukee and elicited MVP chants from the home fans, Jared Weiss of The Athletic writes. Schröder is averaging 20.8 PPG and 5.8 APG as a starter.

“He’s finding his way,” Celtics head coach Ime Udoka said. “He’s brought his bench role to the starting lineup. He’s been very aggressive.”

We have more from the Eastern Conference:

  • While Ben Simmons continues to sit out, Sixers second-year guard Tyrese Maxey has become one of the most popular athletes in Philadelphia. Fans were chanting “MVP!” during Thursday’s home game, according to Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer. Maxey has piled up 64 points and nine assists while committing just two turnovers over the last two games. “I appreciate the Philly fans, of course,” Maxey said. “They’re always behind us.”
  • Isaiah Joe has cleared protocols and will join the Sixers in Indiana for Saturday’s game, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweetsHe is expected to go through a workout pregame and is questionable to play, Pompey addsJoel Embiid and Matisse Thybulle remain under those health and safety protocols.
  • Wizards forward Davis Bertans is a week away from returning to action, coach Wes Unseld Jr. told Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington (Twitter link) and other media members on Friday. Bertans has done more shooting drills in recent days. He has been out since November 1 with a sprained left ankle.

Sixers Notes: Simmons, Embiid, Niang

After initially resisting, Ben Simmons has now met with a team-recommended specialist to discuss mental health concerns, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter links). The Sixers had recently reinstituted fines for Simmons’ reluctance to meet with team doctors, among other issues. Simmons plans to continue working out at the practice facility and meeting with his NBPA-provided mental health specialist. He has yet to make his debut and there’s no timetable for his return.

We have more on the Sixers:

  • Joel Embiid is experiencing symptoms in his bout with COVID-19, Kyle Neubeck of The Philly Voice tweets. “He’s not doing great, he’s struggling with it, very similar to Tobias (Harris),” coach Doc Rivers said. Reports surfaced on Monday morning that the star center had been placed under the league’s health and safety protocols.
  • Embiid has been pleasantly surprised by reserve big man Georges Niang, Lauren Rosen tweets. The former Utah forward, signed as a free agent this summer, is averaging a career-best 11.9 PPG in 22.7 MPG. “I used to think he sucked, honestly,” Embiid said. “Obviously, on this team he’s doing way more than (shooting 3s). What I’m impressed with is he’s a competitor. He brings so much joy to all of us, on and off the court. I’m just glad I have him.”
  • The franchise has gained more leverage in the Simmons situation, David Murphy of the Philadelphia Inquirer opines. The team’s hot start shows Simmons that they can win without him, which could force the disgruntled guard’s hand. Tyrese Maxey and Niang have more than filled Simmons’ void and he’s now faced with the prospect of sitting out for months.

Sixers Pick Up 2022/23 Options On Thybulle, Maxey

The Sixers have picked up their 2022/23 team options on forward Matisse Thybulle and guard Tyrese Maxey, the team announced today in a press release.

Thybulle, 24, hasn’t done much offensively since entering the league as the No. 20 overall pick in 2019, averaging just 4.3 PPG across 135 games. However, he’s a key contributor on the other side of the ball, having been named to the All-Defensive Second Team in 2020/21. His fourth-year option for ’22/23 will pay him $4,379,527.

Maxey, the 21st overall pick in the 2020 draft, has been forced into starting point guard duty in his second NBA season due to Ben Simmons‘ absence. He’s still finding his footing, but has put up respectable averages of 14.4 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 3.6 APG in five games (33.0 MPG). His third-year option for ’22/23 is worth $2,726,880.

Thybulle will be extension-eligible during the 2022 offseason, while the 76ers will still have to make one more team-option decision on Maxey for the 2023/24 season.

All of this year’s ’22/23 rookie scale option decisions, which are due on Monday, can be found right here.

Sixers Notes: Embiid, Simmons, Morey, Maxey

Sixers center Joel Embiid has been slowed by pain in his right knee and wasn’t able to walk for two days after hurting it in the season opener last Wednesday, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN. Shelburne made the comments during an appearance on NBA Today (video link), adding that Embiid is determined to continue playing because Ben Simmons isn’t available.

Embiid has appeared in all four of Philadelphia’s games, although he’s averaging career lows so far with 19.3 points and 7.3 rebounds per night. Simmons told the team last week that he’s not mentally ready to play, and it’s uncertain when he might return.

Embiid is also trying to lead by example and is motivated by his second-place finish in last season’s MVP race, Shelburne adds. He appeared in just 51 games in 2020/21, which was one of the arguments some voters made for not supporting him.

Embiid suffered a small meniscus tear in his right knee during the first round of the playoffs, but was able to continue playing until the Sixers were eliminated. The pain flared up after he banged knees with Pelicans center Jonas Valanciunas last week, and Shelburne said there’s a feeling that “maybe he should sit a game or two” to help relieve it.

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • President of basketball operations Daryl Morey said this week that “things seem to be moving very much in a positive direction” with Simmons (video link). He added that the team is working with Simmons to provide “every resource to help him with what is needed.”
  • Until the Simmons situation is resolved, it will loom as a threat to team chemistry, contends Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Simmons still prefers to be traded, and the rotation is likely to undergo a shakeup whenever that happens. There are also players on the roster who could be headed elsewhere in a Simmons deal. “There’s obviously uncertainty,” Tobias Harris said. “Personally myself, I look at all of the uncertainty as a positive of what could happen. And in reality, the biggest thing is to just stay in the moment.”
  • Tyrese Maxey is experiencing “growing pains” as he tries to handle the lead guard role in Simmons’ absence, Pompey adds. Maxey is a combo guard who isn’t used to running the offense, and he didn’t have an assist until the fourth quarter in Tuesday night’s loss to the Knicks.

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.