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Sixers Notes: Harden, Embiid, Petrusev, Siakam

There have been no signs of forward momentum in the SixersJames Harden trade talks, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on the latest episode of his Lowe Post podcast.

“As far as I know, the Harden situation remains a total stalemate,” Lowe said (hat tip to HoopsHype). “There’s only really one team that he wants to go to. That team is the Clippers. Their level of engagement here to me is unclear slash not super enthusiastic.

“I don’t know what to make of the possibility that Harden would ever go back to Philly. I continue to hear from people who would know that the bridge is burned. But that’s what people who would know would say on July 17, with two months or whatever before training camp. I don’t know how this is going to resolve itself.”

Confirming that Harden “absolutely wants a trade to the Clippers,” Shams Charania of The Athletic says rival teams view Los Angeles as the only legitimate suitor for the former MVP at this point, so it may come down to the two sides seeing if they can meet in the middle. Chris Mannix of SI.com argues that the Sixers would be best off hanging onto Harden if the Clippers remain seemingly unwilling to put Terance Mann and what’s left of their first-round draft capital on the table.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • Although Joel Embiid‘s comments about wanting to win a championship “whether it’s in Philly or anywhere else” raised some eyebrows, there’s no significant concern within the organization that the reigning MVP is looking for an exit ramp, writes Sam Amick of The Athletic. In fact, a source tells Amick that the Sixers believe Embiid would like to be one of the rare stars who remains with the same team for his entire NBA career.
  • Filip Petrusev‘s contract with the Sixers is a two-year deal that is partially guaranteed in 2023/24 and non-guaranteed for 2024/25, reports Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link).
  • Responding to a rumor that Philadelphia could be a potential landing spot for trade candidate Pascal Siakam, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com considers the fit, weighing whether it would make sense for the 76ers to pursue the star Raptors forward while acknowledging that such a deal is probably unlikely to come to fruition.

Keep Up With NHL Free Agency At Pro Hockey Rumors

NHL free agency is about to begin, and Pro Hockey Rumors (@ProHockeyRumors on Twitter) is your go-to source for all the breaking news, rumors, and transactions involving all 32 teams in the league.

In the weeks leading up to free agency, we’ve already witnessed a flurry of trade activity that has set the stage for what promises to be an exciting offseason. Former All-Stars and marquee players like Alex DeBrincat, Connor Hellebuyck, and Mark Scheifele have been at the center of trade speculation as teams look to make big moves and reshape their rosters for the upcoming season in a tight salary cap environment.

One of the most surprising moves so far was the trade that sent original expansion draft selection Reilly Smith from the Vegas Golden Knights to the Pittsburgh Penguins. Smith, who sits near the top of many franchise leaderboards for Vegas, was not expecting to be on the move, but the Penguins acquired the veteran fresh off a Stanley Cup so that Vegas had the cap room to re-sign Ivan Barbashev to a long-term extension.

But keeping up with free agency, there are several intriguing names hitting the market this year. Veteran forward Matt Duchene, who was bought out by the Nashville Predators yesterday, is expected to draw significant interest from contending teams looking to bolster their top-six forward group. There’s also one of the greatest American-born players of all time available in former Chicago Blackhawks right wing Patrick Kane, who’s coming off a hip resurfacing procedure that could impact his market value. Defenseman Dmitry Orlov is also one of the top players available after a strong end to the season with the record-setting Boston Bruins.

Pro Hockey Rumors will be your one-stop destination for all the latest updates on these stories and more. Our writing team will provide comprehensive coverage of the free agency frenzy as teams look to make key acquisitions and bring their 2023-24 rosters into focus. Stay tuned to Pro Hockey Rumors on Twitter – @ProHockeyRumors – for real-time updates and analysis. The NHL offseason is about to heat up, and we’ll be there every step of the way to keep you informed and entertained.

Follow Pro Hockey Rumors For NHL Draft Coverage

The first round of the 2023 NHL Draft starts tonight, and Pro Hockey Rumors is your destination for draft coverage, trades, and rumors throughout the two-day event!

Last season saw a few big names moved at the draft, and we’re expected to see some more big moves over the coming days. Some big-time news has already come in, such as 2016 top-five pick Pierre-Luc Dubois heading to Los Angeles and the New Jersey Devils locking in Timo Meier on a massive extension.
The Chicago Blackhawks hold tonight’s first overall pick, and they’ll be the lucky team where the most coveted prospect in nearly a decade will start his career. Center Connor Bedard is in the conversation with Alex Ovechkin, Connor McDavid, Sidney Crosby, and Auston Matthews as a true generational talent.
The Anaheim Ducks hold the second pick and are expected to draft University of Michigan center Adam Fantilli, who became only the third freshman ever to win the Hobey Baker Award for the top player in college hockey. There’s some room for surprise, though, especially with Russian forward Matvei Michkov. Michkov is widely regarded to be the best prospect out of Russia since Ovechkin, but could fall out of the first few selections given his contract status overseas and the ongoing Russian invasion of Ukraine – potentially to Ovechkin’s Washington Capitals, who hold the eighth overall pick.
Pro Hockey Rumors will have coverage of all of the above, keeping track of draft selections as they come in while keeping you updated on trades, signings, and rumors. It’s the busiest time of the year for NHL fans, so keep up with Pro Hockey Rumors and follow @ProHockeyRumors on Twitter for instant analysis on every move!

Hoops Rumors Seeking Part-Time Writer

We’re looking to add a part-time contributor to the Hoops Rumors writing team. The position pays on an hourly basis. Applicants must meet the following criteria:

  • Exceptional knowledge of all 30 NBA teams, with no discernible bias. We want you to be as comfortable writing about Nathan Knight and Vit Krejci as you would be writing about LeBron James and Stephen Curry.
  • Knowledge of the NBA’s salary cap, collective bargaining agreement, and transaction-related concepts.
  • Strong weeknight and weekend availability, with the ability to work at least two regular shifts per week. Flexibility to work on short notice and/or on weekdays is a plus.
  • Extensive writing experience. Professional experience and a background in journalism are both preferred.
  • Keen understanding of journalistic principles, ethics, and procedures. Completion of basic college-level journalism classes is preferred.
  • Attention to detail and an ability to self-edit.
  • Ability to follow Hoops Rumors’ style and tone.
  • Ability to analyze articles and craft intelligent, well-written posts summing up the news in a few paragraphs. We need someone who can balance quick writing with thoughtful analysis. You must be able to add value to breaking news with your own insight, numbers, or links to other relevant articles.
  • Ability to use Twitter and WordPress.

If you’re interested, please email hoopsrumorsparttimers@gmail.com by Sunday, April 30 at 12:00 pm Central time and include the following:

  • A few paragraphs to explain why you qualify and stand out.
  • A description of your availability going forward.
  • At least two writing samples. NBA-related pieces are preferred, but not mandatory.

Many will likely apply, so unfortunately we may not be able to respond to every applicant.

Former Knicks Star Willis Reed Passes Away

Former Knicks star Willis Reed died on Tuesday at age 80, according to reports from veteran NBA writer Peter Vecsey (Twitter link) and Don Burke of The New York Post. Reed was battling congestive heart problems during the past year, per Vescey.

A member of the Knicks from 1964-74, Reed earned seven All-Star nods over the course of his career and was named the Rookie of the Year in 1965 and the NBA MVP in 1970. He won titles with the Knicks in 1970 and 1973, earning Finals MVP honors in both instances.

Reed appeared in a total of 650 regular season NBA games, averaging 18.7 points and 12.9 rebounds in 35.5 minutes per night. He also played in 78 postseason contests, posting 17.4 PPG and 10.3 RPG in 33.9 MPG. The big man was named to both the NBA’s 50th and 75th anniversary teams.

Reed, who was the first Knick to have his jersey number retired and was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame, is perhaps best known for Game 7 of the 1970 Finals.

After missing Game 6 due to a significant thigh injury, Reed unexpectedly hobbled out of the tunnel onto the court at Madison Square Garden in uniform before the start of Game 7. He scored the Knicks’ first two baskets and logged 27 minutes in the championship-clinching game.

Following the end of his playing career, Reed served as a coach and a front office executive for multiple NBA franchises, including the Knicks (as a head coach in 1977/78). He retired from his role as the New Orleans Hornets’ vice president of basketball operations in 2007.

Our condolences go out to Reed’s family and friends.

Spurs Notes: Vassell, Branham, Graham, Bassey

The Spurs are more concerned with developing their young players than maximizing their lottery odds, writes Tom Orsborn of the San Antonio Express-News. Some fans may have been dismayed to see back-to-back wins this week or Devin Vassell‘s return after missing two months following knee surgery, but the organization is committed to getting its young players on the court together to build a foundation for the future.

“I am not trying to tank,” Vassell said. “I am trying to win as many games as possible.”

Vassell is one of five recent first-round picks on the roster, and the Spurs want him to become a clutch-time scorer who’s capable of closing out games. He showed some of that prowess in his return Thursday against Indiana, pouring in 10 points in the third quarter as San Antonio pulled away.

“The shot-making is still there obviously,” assistant coach Mitch Johnson said. “It’s tough in this league when teams have guys that can make shots when there is good defense and there is not really anything going offensively, and he did that for us.”

There’s more from San Antonio:

  • Malaki Branham had a breakthrough in February, leading all NBA rookies by averaging 16.8 points per game, Orsborn adds. The 19-year-old small forward hadn’t topped 7.8 PPG in any other month. “It’s a tribute to him and a lot of the young guys in this program,” Johnson said. “If they trust the process and put in the work, at some point the game usually slows down for them and they find some success.”
  • Devonte’ Graham has been given a green light to shoot since the Spurs acquired him at the trade deadline, and he took advantage Saturday with 28 points in 29 minutes, Orsborn notes in another Express-News article. “As an athlete, you always want opportunity to show you have talent and whatever the case might be,” Graham said. “(Coach Gregg Popovich) gives everybody confidence to just go out and play freely and play the right way.”
  • Charles Bassey has been excelling as the primary backup center since Jakob Poeltl was traded, Orsborn tweets. Bassey had 14 points and eight rebounds Saturday night and tied a career high by making seven shots from the field.

Follow NHL Trade Deadline Coverage At Pro Hockey Rumors

The 2023 NHL Trade Deadline is approaching today at 2 p.m. CT, and Pro Hockey Rumors is your go-to source for all the latest news and rumors.

Pro Hockey Rumors will provide extensive coverage of all the trades and rumors leading up to the deadline, as always. While a lot of big names have been moved in recent days — including big fish like Jakob ChychrunPatrick KaneVladimir Tarasenko, and Ryan O’Reilly — there is a multitude of intriguing options available left on the market. James van Riemsdyk and Brock Boeser are there for teams looking to add on the wing, and former 65-point scorer John Klingberg is on the block for teams looking to add an offensive boost to their defense.

Some teams are still embroiled in tight playoff races, with Pittsburgh, Buffalo, Florida, Ottawa, Washington, Detroit, and the New York Islanders all stuck battling for the final two spots in the Eastern Conference playoff picture. In the West, the Calgary Flames are still looking to crack the top eight after a busy offseason.

Stay up to date with our comprehensive coverage, including expert analysis and insights into all the deals. Don’t miss a single trade or rumor – follow Pro Hockey Rumors for all your trade deadline news. You can visit prohockeyrumors.com, or follow @prohockeyrumors on Twitter!

Atlantic Notes: Pritchard, D. Green, Ross, Harden, Raptors

Payton Pritchard was a little surprised and disappointed to still be with the Celtics when the trade deadline passed Thursday afternoon, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. The third-year guard has proven he can contribute when he gets the opportunity, but he’s only averaging 12.6 minutes per game this season, the lowest figure of his career.

“I definitely was expecting and hoping (for a trade),” Pritchard said. “But you know, I (have to) look at the good things. We’re the best team in the NBA right now and we have a great team with really great players, so for me it’s an opportunity to learn and to keep growing.”

The Celtics were open to trading Pritchard and reportedly explored the market to see what they could get in return for him and Danilo Gallinari. One report said Pritchard was part of Boston’s offer to the Spurs for Jakob Poeltl, but San Antonio opted to send Poeltl to the Raptors.

Pritchard, a four-year college player, is already 25 and is hoping to find a situation soon that offers consistent playing time. The Celtics already picked up his option for next season, so there’s little he can do about his situation until the summer of 2024.

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Danny Green and Terrence Ross are probably the most realistic targets for the Celtics in the buyout market, Brian Robb of MassLive states in a mailbag column. He points out that the $3.2MM disabled player exception that Boston received for Gallinari puts the team in position to outbid most competitors.
  • James Harden played his first game in Brooklyn tonight since being traded to the Sixers at last year’s deadline. Harden offered his thoughts about what went wrong for the Nets‘ Big Three and said he was glad to get out when he did, tweets Nick Friedell of ESPN. “I don’t look like the crazy one,” Harden said. “I don’t look like the guy or the quitter or whatever the media want to call me. I knew what was going on and I just decided to … hey, I’m not built for this. I don’t want to deal with that. I want to play basketball and have fun.”
  • The Raptors had to renounce their rights to six former players to complete the Poeltl trade, tweets Spotrac contributor Keith Smith. They are Isaac Bonga, Jeremy Lin, Jodie Meeks, Lucas Nogueira, Jason Thompson, and longtime restricted free agent Nando De Colo.

And-Ones: Martin, Thabeet, Dragic, Season Prognoses

Free agent point guard Jeremiah Martin has signed on with Polish club WKS Slask Wroclaw, the team announced in a press release.

After going undrafted out of Memphis in 2019, Martin played for the Heat’s G League affiliate, the Sioux Falls Skyforce. He later joined the Nets and Cavaliers on two-way contracts. Across 18 NBA games, the 26-year-old averaged 4.8 PPG, 1.2 APG and 0.7 SPG for Brooklyn and Cleveland.

The 6’2″ guard last suited up for the New Zealand Breakers during the 2021/22 season. In 10 contests with the Breakers, Martin averaged 12.3 PPG on 39.5% shooting, plus 3.6 APG, 2.7 RPG and 1.1 SPG.

There’s more from around the basketball world:

  • Veteran free agent center Hasheem Thabeet is expected to play with a team in the Chinese Basketball Association this season, Thabeet’s agent Jerry Dianis informed Michael Scotto of HoopsHype (Twitter link). Scotto writes that the big man is fielding interest from several Chinese clubs, including the Fujian Xunxing Sturgeons and the Jilin Northeast Tigers. The 7’3″ center, 35, was selected with the No. 2 pick out of Connecticut in 2009. In five NBA seasons, the big man averaged 2.2 PPG, 2.7 RPG and 0.8 BPG across 224 contests. Thabeet has since logged time with the Grand Rapids Drive and Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA G League. He has also played overseas for teams in Japan and Taiwan.
  • Bulls point guard Goran Dragic spoke with Semih Tuna of Eurohoops about his return to EuroBasket competition this summer for the first time in five years. “Returning to the national team after five years is an incredible feeling,” Dragic said. “Of course, I’m older now, I’m 36 years old. I was fresher back then, but I still enjoy playing basketball. That’s why I’m happy to be back.”
  • A panel of ESPN writers is making some predictions for the league ahead of the start of the 2022/23 NBA season. The group votes on landing spots for Kevin Durant and Donovan Mitchell this season, which teams are most likely to enjoy bounce-back seasons, which teams are most likely to fall into total chaos, and more.

NHL Free Agency Begins Today

Although it’s a few weeks late due to the lingering schedule effects of the COVID pandemic, the NHL free-agent period kicks off today at 11 AM CT. Pro Hockey Rumors (@prohockeyrumors on Twitter) has all-day coverage of the busiest and most exciting day in hockey.

Some teams were busy yesterday keeping their star players from hitting the open market. The Pittsburgh Penguins came in at the eleventh hour to re-sign franchise cornerstone Evgeni Malkin to a four-year deal, while the Edmonton Oilers were able to retain left wing Evander Kane, who led the 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs in goals, on a four-year deal as well.

There’s still plenty of drama left to unfold today, however. After a 115-point season, former Calgary Flame Johnny Gaudreau is hitting the open market and is undoubtedly the top free agent available. Likely to earn eight figures on his next deal, does he head to the Eastern Conference as expected? After winning the Stanley Cup this season with the Colorado Avalanche, where do center Nazem Kadri and goalie Darcy Kuemper land?

To keep up with what’s sure to be a chaotic news day, make sure to keep up with Pro Hockey Rumors‘ coverage of breaking news.