Tyrese Maxey

Sixers Notes: Simmons, Embiid, Maxey, Offseason Moves

Before Ben Simmons faced the wrath of Philadelphia fans Tuesday night, he spoke to the media about his relationship with some of his former Sixers teammates and admitted that he hasn’t been in contact with Joel Embiid, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Simmons and Embiid were an uneasy pairing as the Sixers’ two stars during their time together, and they’ve remained distant since Simmons was dealt to the Nets.

“I mean, you’re not cool with everybody,” Simmons said. “You are not texting everybody. I mean, there’s certain people that you don’t talk to all the time. I have friends that I don’t talk to all the time, but we’re still cool. But that’s how life went.”

Pompey notes that the two stars’ games never fit together well and their personalities prevented them from connecting off the court. People close to Simmons thought he was more effective in games that Embiid didn’t play, according to Pompey, and Simmons believed Embiid was taking shots at him through his public comments during last year’s holdout.

Simmons took the high road on Tuesday, telling reporters that he enjoyed his time playing alongside Embiid.

“Obviously, it didn’t work out,” he said. “But you know, that’s life. Not everything works out in your favor. So I wish him the best. Obviously, not a championship … but the best.”

There’s more on the Sixers:

  • Simmons believes Philadelphia has a future star in third-year guard Tyrese Maxey, who is currently sidelined with a fracture in his left foot, Pompey adds. “He’s incredible,” Simmons said. “He’s growing. He’s playing with great confidence. For me, when I see him, I love seeing him with the ball. I think he should definitely handle the ball a lot more than what he is, but he’s growing. He’s young. And I can’t wait to see in the future.”
  • When considering Simmons’ fallout with the franchise, Sixers management doesn’t get enough criticism for trying to trade him one month into his new contract, Marc Stein argues in his latest Substack piece. Simmons’ five-year extension had just taken effect during the 2020/21 season when president of basketball operations Daryl Morey offered him to the Rockets as the centerpiece in a potential James Harden deal.
  • With Maxey, Harden and Embiid all currently injured, the Sixers are in danger of sliding down the Eastern Conference standings until they can get healthy, per Brian Windhorst of ESPN. The team already went through the adversity of a slow start, with Doc Rivers briefly becoming the betting favorite as the first coach to fired. Windhorst notes that part of the problem is limited production from offseason additions, as P.J. Tucker is averaging just 4.0 points per game and Danuel House is contributing 4.5 PPG.

Tyrese Maxey Out 3-4 Weeks With Foot Fracture

Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey has suffered a small bone fracture in his left foot, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Sources inform Woj (via Twitter) that Maxey will be sidelined for at least three-to-four weeks with the ailment.

Maxey first injured the foot during a 110-102 victory over the Bucks Friday night, and was wearing a walking boot after the game. The team then had Maxey undergo imaging to determine the extent of the injury.

As Tim Bontemps of ESPN tweets, the Sixers are now going to be missing both pieces of their starting backcourt. James Harden continues to recover from a foot strain and remains on track to return to the floor for Philadelphia early next month. In the meantime, even more of the scoring burden figures to fall to Sixers superstar center Joel Embiid.

A 6’2″ combo guard, Maxey had been enjoying a career season in his first 15 games with the club this year, averaging 22.9 PPG on .462/.422/.738 shooting splits, along with 4.4 APG, 3.5 RPG and 1.0 SPG.

Tyrese Maxey To Undergo MRI After Injuring Left Foot

9:37pm: Head coach Doc Rivers said Maxey was in a walking boot after the victory over Milwaukee, and while he anticipates Maxey will miss some time, he won’t know for sure until tomorrow’s MRI (Twitter link via ESPN’s Tim Bontemps).

8:08pm: Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey will undergo an MRI on his left foot Saturday after injuring it in Friday’s game against the Bucks, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Initial X-rays on his foot were negative, sources tell Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

Maxey was having an excellent first half prior to the injury, recording 24 points (9-of-12 shooting), four rebounds and five assists in 21 minutes. He was ruled out for the second half.

Evidently the injury occurred when Maxey was fouled, as he was clearly limping, frustrated and in a lot of pain. He went straight to the locker room after shooting his free throws, per Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com (Twitter link).

Fellow guard James Harden remains sidelined with his own foot injury, so a potential extended absence for Maxey would obviously be difficult for the Sixers to overcome. However, there’s no reason to believe that’s the case yet, since he won’t have the MRI until tomorrow.

The 22-year-old is averaging 22.8 points, 3.4 rebounds, 4.4 assists and 1.1 steals on .448/.408/.750 shooting through 14 games (37.5 minutes) for Philadelphia. As a former first-round pick in his third season, Maxey will be eligible for a rookie scale extension next summer.

Sixers Pick Up Options On Maxey, Springer

The Sixers have exercised the fourth-year contract option for starting guard Tyrese Maxey for the 2023/24 season, according to a team press release. They’ve done the same on the the third-year option for Jaden Springer.

Maxey, one of the league’s top young point men, will make $4,343,920 next season. He was the 21st pick of the 2020 draft.

Maxey is one of the league’s biggest bargains right now. He’ll be eligible for a rookie scale extension next offseason.

Springer, the No. 28 selection of the 2021 draft, has only appeared in four NBA games, including two this season. He played 19 games for the G League Delaware Blue Coats last season. The 20-year-old guard will take in $2,226,240 next season.

Atlantic Notes: Young, Porter Jr., Maxey, Simmons

Veteran forward Thaddeus Young has played sparingly for the Raptors and he’s surprised by his lack of playing time, he told Josh Lewenberg of TSN.

“It’s tough,” he said. “It’s definitely a tough situation to be in but I’ve just got to bear with it and continue to be there for my teammates, continue to trust in what I’m doing as a player, and hopefully when the time comes I’ll be ready to go out there and take care of business.”

Young has only appeared in four games, averaging eight minutes when he’s seen the floor. Young is signed through next season but only $1MM of his 2023/24 salary is guaranteed.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Raptors forward Otto Porter Jr. has been ruled out against Atlanta on Monday due to personal reasons, Lewenberg tweets. Porter, who has also dealt with a hamstring injury, is expected to return later in the week. However, he will likely require a full practice or two before making his season debut, Lewenberg adds.
  • Tyrese Maxey has made 46.8% of his 3-pointers this season and Joel Embiid says his Sixers teammate needs to increase his long-range attempts, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes. “He’s one of the best shooters and he has the potential to be up there. You know, a great stroke,” Embiid said. “He can really shoot the ball, great form and he makes them. There’s a reason I’m always on him to just let it fly. He’s got to get up 10 to 15 threes a game. That’s how good of a shooter he is.”
  • While the Nets are off to an awful start, Ben Simmons hasn’t lost any confidence in the team’s long-term prospects, according to Alex Schiffer of The Athletic. “I believe we can be the best team in the NBA,” Simmons said. The former No. 1 overall pick is off to a slow start after missing last season, averaging 6.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 7.2 rebounds per game.

Atlantic Notes: Nets, Irving, Maxey, Grimes

Nets coach Steve Nash called for a better effort from his players after their season reached a new low with a loss to the Pacers Saturday night, writes Brian Lewis of The New York Post. Brooklyn is close to a fully healthy roster with Seth Curry, Joe Harris and Markieff Morris all returning, but the team’s defense looked as bad as ever, allowing 125 points while sinking to 1-5.

“It was a disaster. How else do you say it? I didn’t see the will, didn’t see the desire or the connectivity necessary to get stops and get rebounds,” Nash said. “We’ve just got to make a bigger commitment. It’s got to mean more. We’ve got to care more.”

The performance raises questions about the team’s focus following a chaotic summer that saw Kevin Durant submit a trade request and then appeal to owner Joe Tsai to fire Nash and general manager Sean Marks. Durant said Saturday that Nash shouldn’t be blamed for the slow start.

“That’s on the individuals. We got to take pride individually,” Durant said. “Coaching matters, chemistry, all that stuff matters. But at the end of the day we’re individuals. So we got to be better as individuals. … Each guy’s just got to dig down deeper and be better.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Nets guard Kyrie Irving had a combative exchange with reporters after the game, defending his promotion of a film considered to be antisemitic and his support of conspiracy theorist Alex Jones, Lewis adds in a separate story. “I’m not going to stand down on anything I believe in,” Irving said. “I’m only going to get stronger because I’m not alone. I have a whole army around me.”
  • The Sixers need Tyrese Maxey to take over a larger role in the offense, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. With Joel Embiid sitting out Friday’s game, Maxey made nine three-pointers and scored a career-high 44 points. “That’s why I’ve been on him,” Embiid said. “He’s one of the best shooters and he has the potential to be up there. You know, a great stroke. He can really shoot the ball, great form and he makes them. There’s a reason I’m always on him to just let it fly. He’s got to get up 10 to 15 threes a game. That’s how good of a shooter he is.”
  • Knicks guard Quentin Grimes will miss his sixth straight game today with soreness in his left foot, per Zach Braziller of The New York Post. Grimes, who has been listed as day-to-day since the preseason, has been working out before every game, but hasn’t been able to participate in a full practice.

And-Ones: Breakout Candidates, Wembanyama, Thornwell

Michael Scotto of HoopsHype polled 20 NBA executives on their top three breakout candidates for the 2022/23 season and found that Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey was the most popular pick. While I’d argue that last season represented a breakout year for Maxey, some executives have far higher expectations for him going forward.

“Maxey’s going to be better than James Harden,” one general manager said to Scotto. “He just keeps getting better and better and will be a huge reason why they have success this season.”

Pacers guard Tyrese Haliburton, Timberwolves guard Anthony Edwards, Magic forward Franz Wagner, and Rockets guard Jalen Green were among the other popular breakout picks, based on the responses Scotto got from executives. Interestingly, Warriors big man James Wiseman and Pistons forward/center Marvin Bagley III were each picked as this year’s top breakout candidate by one GM.

Here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • In his latest look at the top prospects in the 2023 NBA draft class, David Aldridge of The Athletic passes along several entertaining quotes from NBA executives, including one Eastern Conference exec’s response to whether Scoot Henderson could surpass Victor Wembanyama as next year’s No. 1 pick: “Scoot’s good, but, no. Short of Wembanyama having murdered somebody, there’s just no way.”
  • Veteran guard Sindarius Thornwell has signed with Frutti Extra Bursasport, the Turkish team announced this week (via Twitter). Thornwell has appeared in 160 total NBA games and played for New Orleans and Atlanta in 2020/21, but wasn’t in the league last season.
  • Longtime NBA referee Tony Brown, who officiated over 1,100 games, including one in the 2020 NBA Finals, passed away on Thursday after a fight with pancreatic cancer, according to his family (story via ESPN.com).

Atlantic Notes: Brunson, Grimes, Brown, Williams, Maxey

Who’s the best backcourt partner for Jalen Brunson on the current Knicks roster? According to analytics expert Joseph Gill in an interview with SNY TV’s Ian Begley, Quentin Grimes is the best fit alongside the high-priced free agent acquisition. Grimes is a legitimate threat to space the floor and he doesn’t turn the ball over very often. That makes him a better pairing with Brunson’s skill set than Evan Fournier, RJ Barrett or Immanuel Quickley, in Gill’s estimation.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • What would a Jaylen Brown extension look like? Keith Smith takes a deep dive into that subject in a Spotrac article. With two years left on his current contract, the Celtics wing is eligible to sign a three-year deal this offseason. He could wait until after next season and sign a Designated Veteran Extension or after the 2023/24 season and ink a Designated Veteran contract if he meets certain criteria. He could also sign with Boston or another team as a free agent in 2024.
  • Grant Williams has communicated with Brown regarding the trade rumors involving the Nets and Kevin Durant and says Brown is handling it well, Matt John of Heavy.com relays. “I feel like JB is mature in his mindset, and he knows that. I talk to him, texted him, reach out of as often as I can,” Williams said. “It’s one of those things. It’s the league. It’s a business. It’s one of those things that you can’t be discouraged by because we love JB. It also shows how valuable he is.”
  • Developing even greater offensive chemistry with Joel Embiid and getting selected to the All-Star team would be aspects of a best-case scenario for Sixers guard Tyrese Maxey in 2022/23, Kyle Neubeck of Phillyvoice.com writes. Not living up to increased expectations would be part of a worst-case scenario for Maxey next season.

Kevin Durant Rumors: Ultimatum, Harrington, Nash, Sixers, Celtics

The ultimatum that Kevin Durant presented to Nets owner Joe Tsai – trade me or fire Sean Marks and Steve Nash – hasn’t had its intended effect so far, Brian Windhorst said during an appearance on ESPN’s Get Up on Wednesday (video link).

Windhorst suggests that by presenting Tsai with such a “preposterous” alternative to trading him, Durant was hoping to “speed up the process,” since trade talks between the Nets and potential suitors had stagnated in recent weeks. However, the Nets appear to be digging in their heels, while Durant is running out of options.

“He has asked for a trade and it hasn’t been granted. He has asked for the coach and general manager to be fired and that hasn’t been granted,” Windhorst said. “And so now, how do you go forward and report to training camp when you’ve been told no? That’s now the coming drama with this situation.”

Given that multiple reports have indicated no team is willing to meet the Nets’ sky-high asking price for Durant, the 33-year-old’s goal may have been trying to force the team to lower that asking price to a point where a potential trade partner would meet it. But Windhorst points to Tsai’s statement supporting Marks and Nash as a sign the team isn’t willing to reduce its trade demands, at least for now.

“Obviously, the first sentence – where he’s saying he’s not firing his coach and GM – is important,” Windhorst said. “The second sentence was a message to Durant and the whole league, which is, ‘We’re going to do what’s best for the Brooklyn Nets.’

“That is code for, “We’re not going to make a trade just to satisfy this player, no matter how good he is and no matter how much pressure he’s going to put on us. We have all the cards, we have a four-year contract.’ And so I suspect that that will be their position come the start of training camp, and that could lead to Durant not showing up.”

Here’s more on Durant:

  • A source tells Brian Lewis and Josh Kosman of The New York Post that the Nets’ decision to fire director of player development Adam Harrington this spring without consulting Durant is one source of tension between the player and the team. “There are simple things that erode a relationship,” the source told The Post. “You fired someone he was close to and didn’t have a conversation about it.” The same source suggested that Durant wants Marks to be fired because the star forward feels as if the GM “traded away too many pieces.”
  • Both The New York Post and Ian Begley of SNY.tv pushed back against the idea that Durant was the one who urged the Nets to hire Nash as its head coach in 2020. Sources told Lewis and Kosman that Marks was the driving force behind that hiring, and Begley has heard the same thing.
  • According to Begley, there are some “high-ranking” members of the Sixers who have been interested in engaging the Nets in discussions about a Durant trade. A Philadelphia offer would likely have to include Tobias Harris, Tyrese Maxey, Matisse Thybulle, and draft assets. However, the 76ers’ ability to trade additional first-round picks is limited (they already owe two to Brooklyn), and Harris’ pricey multiyear contract limits his trade value, so it’s unlikely such a package would appeal to the Nets.
  • Adam Himmelsbach of The Boston Globe hears from a source that the Nets “initially tried to pry” both Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum from the Celtics for Durant, which Boston obviously had no interest in. The C’s also rebuffed Brooklyn’s attempt to acquire Brown, Marcus Smart, and several first-round picks in exchange for Durant, Himmelsbach adds.
  • According to Begley, Durant would have interest in playing in Boston, but he’d like to play with Smart if he’s traded to the Celtics. Begley also cites people familiar with the situation who say Durant would view Philadelphia as a “desirable landing spot.”
  • Celtics president Brad Stevens and head coach Ime Udoka have kept Brown in the loop about the Durant trade conversations, and Brown seems to understand the situation, a league source tells Himmelsbach.

Atlantic Notes: Maxey, Rivers, Raptors, Celtics

Tyrese Maxey believes the Sixers‘ offseason additions will turn them into a legitimate title contender, writes Isabella DiAmore of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Veteran forward P.J. Tucker is among the league’s toughest defenders and was part of a championship team in Milwaukee. Danuel House offers similar skills, while De’Anthony Melton brings depth and versatility to the backcourt.

“I think they’ll definitely help us with mental toughness,” Maxey said. “I think they’ll also help with just the physical toughness. The grit and the grind that we need to bring to our team and also, I think guys like P.J., he’s gonna bring the championship mentality. I think we’re really going to appreciate him for that. Training camp and an entire season together is going to be nothing but good things.”

Philadelphia’s prospects will depend heavily on Maxey, who made a huge jump during his second NBA season, averaging 17.5 points, 4.3 assists and 3.2 rebounds in 75 games. The 21-year-old guard has set his sights even higher for 2022/23. 

“I think other people tell me they have confidence in myself that just builds my confidence,” Maxey said. “My confidence comes from just being in the gym, working out every single day, watching film, and then having success on the court, so for (president of basketball operations Daryl) Morey to have confidence in me, and my teammates, as well as the organization, it just makes me want to go out there and give them my all.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Appearing this week on the Vince Carter Show podcast, Sixers coach Doc Rivers said tampering allegations against the team are “not true.” (Hat tip to James Foglio of Basketball Insiders). The NBA is investigating the Sixers for “early contact” with Tucker, as rival teams believed he was certain to sign with Philadelphia before free agency officially opened. The team was able to create cap space to give Tucker a three-year, $33MM contract because James Harden was willing to opt out of his deal and re-sign for less than the max. “Honestly, when James did this and said this … first of all, we didn’t know what we were going to do with the money we were getting,” Rivers said. “And listen, James won, too, because James could’ve opted into a one-year deal. Instead, we gave him (two) years. And so both parties won in a lot of ways.”
  • Sportsbet has listed the Raptors as the highest-valued sports franchise in Canada, relays Denette Wilford of The Toronto Sun. The nation’s only NBA team is reportedly worth $2.2 billion, a number that has grown by more than 400% over the past decade.
  • In case you missed it, Celtics star Jayson Tatum talks about his successful partnership with Jaylen Brown, and Grant Williams speculates on how it would feel to be included in a Kevin Durant trade.