The Pacers see Duarte as an immediate contributor; there will be growing pains, as there are with all rookies, but he’s as close to a finished product as there was in a draft dominated by teenagers. “The league has become much less about play-calling and more about free-flowing action on the offensive end, and you need players who can shoot the ball, handle the ball, can pass, have a high IQ, and Chris checks a lot of those boxes,” Pacers general manager Chad Buchanan said. “You watch the NBA playoffs, you see players his size and skill level who are succeeding. He can do a lot of things that help in a playoff setting when things break down. The ability to create a shot … that’s super critical in our league. The more guys you have who can do that, the better.”
September 23, 2021 | 4:49 am EDT Update
The Sixers would be best served if Simmons and Paul rethink their plans, though Simmons “is clearly aware of sanctions available to the organization to fine and suspend him, including withholding of salary,” according to Wojnarowski. An NBA source said Wednesday that Simmons initially asked for a trade at the draft combine in Chicago “right after” the end of the 2020-21 season. The Game 7 home loss to the Hawks occurred on June 20, with the combine running from June 21-27.
Simmons has apparently already received $8.25 million of his 2021-22 salary, with another $8.25 million due if he’s on the roster Oct. 1. The Sixers aren’t saying what they plan to do or if they must make that payment when, barring a dramatic shift, Simmons follows through with his holdout, according to the source.
Rather than increasing Simmons’ value in a trade, the Sixers’ preference is for Simmons to report and play this season in Philadelphia, according to an NBA source. Rivers said the same thing Wednesday: “We would love to have Ben back.”
Brandon “Scoop B” Robinson: 76ers retiring Kobe Bryant’s Lower Merion No. 33 like Heat retired MJ’s No. 23 ‘interesting idea’ @ScottONeil tells @BallySports: “That’s something that @dmorey & @DocRivers & Elton will weigh on for sure. That’s something that Chris Heck the President of 76ers will weigh on.”
September 23, 2021 | 2:02 am EDT Update
The Warriors recently connected Wiggins with an Oakland doctor who understands issues surrounding vaccine hesitancy, sources said. The doctor explained the suffering and deaths she has witnessed in patients who contracted the coronavirus, sources said, but Wiggins remains unmoved in his decision against vaccination.
San Francisco requires full vaccination to be allowed indoors for entertainment, including large events like NBA games at 18,000-seat Chase Center. New York City is the only other NBA market currently facing such restrictions. League sources believe the NBA will grant Wiggins a religious exemption, but San Francisco has the power to override it inside the city.