Tom Moore: Hearing the #Sixers' plan right now isn't to…

Tom Moore: Hearing the #Sixers’ plan right now isn’t to waive 2nd-year swingman Ignas Brazdeikis, who they acquired in 3-team trade from the #Knicks, though that could change. Have one open roster spot and one healthy center (Howard) after trading three players for two.

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Kyle Neubeck: The full Sixers-Thunder-Knicks deal, per league source: Philly gets: George Hill, Iggy Brazdeikis OKC gets: Tony Bradley, Philly's 2nd round picks in 2025 and 2026, and Austin Rivers Knicks get: Terrance Ferguson, Vincent Poirier, 2021 2nd round pick from Philly
Storyline: Ignas Brazdeikis Trade
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May 17, 2021 | 9:38 am EDT Update

Luke Walton on his job security: 'I'm not concerned at all'

Walton’s job security has been the subject of speculation since general manager Monte McNair was hired to replace Vlade Divac in September, but Walton said the uncertainty doesn’t concern him. “It doesn’t weigh on me because it’s the same thing I always talk about — it’s control what you can control — the same message I give my players every day,” Walton said. “To me, the storyline and the focus of Sacramento right now should be on this team and the excitement of what we saw out of our young rookie in Tyrese and the progress that De’Aaron Fox made and the year Richaun Holmes and Harrison Barnes had, and even Buddy — watching Buddy continue to grow and start having games with seven or eight assists and low turnovers.
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“That’s what we should be talking about as a group and as an organization. So if you ask me, I’ll tell you, no, I’m not concerned at all because it doesn’t do anything for me or the group to be concerned, so we’ll stay focused on the positive and the good things. Like I continue to say, I’m excited about this group and excited about our future.” The Kings went 31-41 to finish 12th in the Western Conference for the second year in a row. They missed the playoffs for the 15th consecutive season, matching the longest postseason drought in NBA history, but despite their struggles, there were some positive developments.
“I’m very pleased and excited with a lot of the progress we made from a team standpoint and individuals,” Walton said. “You go down the line and I could make a case that even guys like Harrison, who’ve had some really good years in their career, to me he was playing some of his best basketball. … You can go down the line and, to me, that’s something that’s working. “… Look, we’re all frustrated. We want to be part of a postseason. I know the organization does, the fans do, the media does, so that part of it is disappointing, but you’ve got to look at the good, too, and the progress that so many of these guys have made this year.”
If the Wolves do not reach a contract agreement with him before free agency opens this summer, Vanderbilt will be a restricted free agent. That would give the Wolves the right to match any offer that comes in. For his part, Vanderbilt says he likes the vibe around a team that has played much better down the stretch and he doesn’t take for granted that the opportunity he long hoped to get came in Minnesota. “It’s been a rocky journey, but those guys have supported me throughout the whole way,” Vanderbilt said. “They’ve seen me put in the work, so as a teammate when I see guys putting in the work and you see them paying off, it’s a great feeling to see it work out.”
Since Hart was drafted by the Lakers in 2017, the 26-year-old has garnered a reputation as the ultimate “glue guy”. He has played every position except for center and can start (65 games) or come off the bench as a sixth man (177 games). Hart, who suffered a season-ending thumb injury in early April, finished first in rebounds (8.0 per game) among all small forwards. At the minimum, Hart will have teams lined up with their $9.5 million midlevel exception and should see offers in the $12-13 million range. According to ProFitX, the projected high on a new contract in 2021-22 for Hart would start at $11.8 million.
For Jokic, any talk of resting in the finale — even after Malone had given nights off to other members of the rotation in recent days — was a non-starter. Why? “Because I’m not hurt,” he said after Sunday’s game. “I’m trying to be honest with myself. If I’m not hurt, I want to play and I want to be available for my team. Just to be out there and be available, it’s a big thing, maybe, for the rest of the guys in our group that they can follow.” Jokic’s raw numbers did most of the heavy lifting in his soft-spoken MVP candidacy this season. He finished the year averaging 26.4 points, 10.8 rebounds and 8.3 assists with shooting splits of 56.6 percent from the field, 38.8 percent from 3-point range and 86.8 percent from the free-throw line.
Ultimately, it’s on the Clippers to handle their business. There shouldn’t be any excuses in the postseason, and if the Clippers didn’t know that in 2020, they know it in 2021. If it starts with health, then they have it. Lue chose to protect that over any particular opponent or whatever rotational rhythm that could have been gained with five days in between the end of the regular season and the start of the postseason. “The main thing for us is just making sure we go into the playoffs healthy,” Lue said. “It was hard to run all those minutes on our young guys like that, but we just want to make sure that our core guys, our guys that we want to start the playoff with, that they’re healthy. And we was able to get through tonight with that, so I’m very happy about that.”