975TheFanatic: “We got to get rid of that noise. We love Ben and Joel. I think Sam Hinkie said it when he came out of his groundhog hole, that fans went through the process for those two players. Why would we try and ship them out? Doc and I are here for a reason.” – @dmorey on moving on
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The early signals emanating from Philadelphia suggest that Morey, the 76ers’ new president of basketball operations, wants to give Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons every last chance to click before trading one of them.
The early signals emanating from Philadelphia suggest that Morey, the 76ers’ new president of basketball operations, wants to give Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons every last chance to click before trading one of them. Houston, just to name one non-Nets option, could decide to wait to see if the Sixers’ stance changes. As wary as the Rockets must be about doing a deal of that magnitude with Morey, we’ve seen that front offices that know each other well often find it easier to collaborate on the biggest of trades.
But because everyone’s been talking about this Sixers group for so long, most of the takes are just recycled at this point. So what better time to get a fresh opinion from someone who was closer to Embiid and Co. than just about anyone. That’s right, former Sixers GM Sam Hinkie. The originator of “The Process” gave a rare interview on Friday, joining Pablo Torre on ESPN Daily. During the podcast, he shared his thoughts on the Embiid and Simmons trade talks. Torre: What do you think when you hear, invariably, rumors about ‘you know what, they gotta trade this guy?'” Hinkie: Oh gosh. Don’t people remember what it took to get them? For all of them. Getting a star player in the NBA is not impossibly hard, but close. It requires either an incredible amount of luck, or an amazing amount of time, or some other way to try and get at it. So what is Jo? 26? To have a young player who is nominally, in a traditional sense, just entering his prime, and say ‘oh we’ve got to blank.’ No, job one is you’ve got to get great players on your team, and he is one. And so, I’m not alone on this, you’d be loathe to think we have to do anything and we have to do anything that requires you to potentially move a great player. They don’t move very much for a reason, because people rightly don’t let them go very often for a reason.
Maybe Embiid and Simmons are destined for a breakup, but executives around the league say it would be shocking if it happened before next season—or during the season. The Rockets have experienced annual crash landings in the postseason, which Sixers fans can relate to. But you can’t simply blame the star players in either situation. The Sixers’ duo has had great success together, and in their own ways, play an efficient brand of basketball. The problem is the lack of an offensive initiator who can generate plays in the half-court to elevate their strengths.
What would you do with Philadelphia’s roster? Billy King: I would sit down with Doc and get his thoughts because he’s obviously seen them play. Then, you’ve got to look to tinker a little bit. I wouldn’t trade Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid to start because they’re two young talents. Now, if Doc says this guy I won’t be able to coach, then you have to explore it. You’ve got to look at Al Horford and if there’s a possibility of a trade there. They need more guys that can create off the dribble. You saw it in the playoffs when Ben wasn’t there. They don’t have a lot of guys that can create shots for other guys. I think they need more guys that can create shots or at least put the ball on the floor to take pressure off guys and get them easier shots.
The franchise’s plan is that Brand will continue to oversee basketball operations, sources tell ESPN. Among the Sixers senior leadership, there’s still a strong desire to keep the franchise’s two young All-Stars — Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons — together, sources said. The Sixers are determined to let a new coaching staff search for ways to maximize Embiid and Simmons together before even entering into a discussion on trade scenarios.
HoopsHype spoke with five executives, three coaches, three scouts, and two general managers on the condition of anonymity to get their takes on whether to move either Embiid or Simmons or keep the two All-Stars and restructure the roster elsewhere. Five of the talent evaluators said to keep both stars, another five said to trade Embiid, and the remaining three voted to trade Simmons.
“I would trade Embiid,” one Eastern Conference general manager told HoopsHype. “He’s older and has injury concerns. I think it’s easier to fill in around Simmons. Some teams still value a player like him. You should try to get a young player with All-Star potential and a starter-level player.”
“If I were a new coach, I’d like to coach them together for a year first before trading either, but if I had to pick, I’d trade Embiid,” one Western Conference coach told HoopsHype. “I think Simmons is more versatile. I’d just surround him with shooters and open the floor up like Milwaukee for Giannis. There can be more creativity with Simmons on the offensive end. I would try to trade Embiid to Miami and get some of their young, hungry shooters and guards like Tyler Herro, Kendrick Nunn, Duncan Robinson, etc. Ideally, I’d get Bam, but I doubt Miami would trade him.”
“Embiid has big-time talent,” one longtime Western Conference executive told HoopsHype. “If healthy, I would be reluctant to trade him. As talented as Simmons is, I’m skeptical about his shooting ever really improving. Horford is the ultimate shooting five. I think Harris’ best position is the four.”
Another executive echoed Simmons’ shooting woes as a major red flag, and the executive deviated from the notion that small ball and a bunch of shooters around Simmons can win at a high level. “For sure, I’d trade Ben Simmons because Embiid is a much better player, but you have to factor the injury factor for Embiid,” one longtime Eastern Conference executive told HoopsHype. “He’s been fortunate to stay healthy, but how long can that last? Ben had knee and back injuries too. It’s hard to build a team around Simmons because of his deficiencies. When you have a big guy that’s dominant, all the best teams are big. Toronto, Milwaukee, the Lakers. If you have a player as good as Embiid, it’s no question. I think Simmons is overrated.”
“I would keep them both,” one Western Conference executive told HoopsHype. “You’re not going to get equal value in a trade. The issue is the Horford and Harris contracts. If I had to trade one, it would be Simmons. I think Embiid is too dominant and able to control the game on both ends of the floor. The only reason I would trade him is if I’m afraid of his medical because they should know better than any other team.”
NBA Central: Woj says the chances of the Philadelphia Sixers breaking up Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons are ‘fairly remote’ “I think you’ll see them continue to try to build around Simmons and Embiid.” (Via ESPN)
You brought up Brett Brown. The 76ers are in the playoffs. When you hear people talk about whether Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid can coexist together, what do you think of that? People wonder if they have to trade one of those guys to balance out the team? What do you think? Lloyd Pierce: I think it’s blasphemy. I think in this league, the challenge is, can you win? Are you a winner? If you’re that guy, it doesn’t matter who you play with. Winners get extra rebounds, run the floor, attack, defend, compete. To think you have a top-10 and a top-15 talent and you have two of them, and they can’t co-exist? I think they both impact winning. I’m not getting rid of one to go find another because you might not find another. It’s hard to find top-15 talent that impacts winning and is competitive. Both of those guys, I think, have shown that. They were a basket away from going to the Conference Finals last year. Chemistry is real. You have to have team chemistry. You have to develop it. You have to continue to work at it. Impacting winning and competing is real as well. I think both of those guys have that. I’m more concerned with how do you make it work, not let’s get rid of it and try another route. I don’t really agree with that approach for any team.
What was once a young, promising and exciting Philadelphia team has been grossly mismanaged by general manager Elton Brand and with an inevitable early playoff exit, it will likely lead to serious shakeup. According to league sources, it could even come down to between Simmons and Embiid. Both are proven superstars in today’s NBA and either of them would bring back a lion’s share of assets to allow Philadelphia to rebuild on the fly. That means that the rest of the NBA will circle this situation like vultures, waiting to swoop in and take advantage of an already inept Sixers front office.
Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid is a combination that a lot of people in the NBA, including the Cavs, feel like is disastrous, and it can’t work long term. And there is one member of the Cavs organization that believes eventually, maybe even as soon as this summer, if Philadelphia has an earlier than expected exit in the postseason again… there’s one member of the Cavs organization that believes that Philadelphia is going to have to pick between Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. That that pairing is going to have to be split up
One executive who spoke with cleveland.com believes the Sixers will need to choose between Simmons and Joel Embiid — if Philly has an earlier-than-expected playoff exit.
Kyle Neubeck: Joel Embiid on the back and forth with Philly fans this year: “They might have me in a lot of trade machines and all that stuff, they might boo, but it’s still all love. We’ve had a very, very deep connection since I’ve been in Philly.”
There is no consensus, but league execs think that if the Sixers do explore a trade, Embiid is more likely to be moved — health being the determining factor in building around Simmons. One exec added that a big trade featuring Simmons or Embiid might be the only way to reshape the team.
Sources I have spoken to around the league painted this picture (and Windhorst mentions it): It’s too hard to get two elite players, trading one (and certainly not getting full value back) is the absolute last resort. The more likely pattern is Brett Brown gets fired after the season and another coach is brought in. However, if in a year or two that coach cannot get Embiid and Simmons to blend at a championship level, then the Sixers will start to explore trades. (Both players are under contract for three seasons after this one, there is no pressure to trade or lose them on the Sixers.)
After Philadelphia 76ers big man Joel Embiid posted a photo on Instagram captioned with the classic Batman line, “You either die a hero or live long enough to see yourself become the villain,” Tuesday night — amid rumblings of discord in the team’s ranks — the Heat star saw an opportunity. “I know a place where villains are welcome,” Butler commented, along with a “shrug” emoji, seemingly a reference to the Heat. To which Embiid replied “Damn right my brother.”
The Philadelphia 76ers are currently fifth in the Eastern Conference as they have been one of the NBA’s more disappointing teams with questions continue to surround the viability of Brett Brown as head coach and whether Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons can fit alongside each other.
“I’ve got lead executives talking to me as we go through this, hours and hours and hours that I spend on the phone in and around the deadline, even after the deadline,” said Brian Windhorst on his podcast. “Some of the worst for me is the three days of debriefing calls that these guys… I’m very appreciative, I mean I do it. I was on the phone until almost midnight Pacific time after the deadline talking to people.
“But anyways, one of the conversations people are starting to have in the league is ‘will they move Embiid? What’s the price? Where would he go?’ I’m not going to get into that, but my point is people are talking about that. I don’t think they would do that without making an adjustment to the head coach. It’s such a radical thing, but the fact that we’re in mid-February and the people who work in the league, who have to prepare in advance, are mulling over Joel Embiid potentially coming to market, whether that’s true or not… I mean, Josh Harris can come on this podcast and deny it if he wants, but the fact people are talking about it, is not good. It’s a symptom of where they are.”
John Clark: Joel Embiid on trade deadline 👀 “Hopefully I don’t get traded. You never know. No one is untouchable in this league. Hopefully I’m here for a long time. For the rest of my career” I think you’re safe big fella #HereTheyCome
Derek Bodner: Joel Embiid on the trade deadline: “Hopefully I don’t get traded.” #sixers
Philadelphia’s potential package of Robert Covington, Dario Saric, and the Heat’s unprotected 2021 pick didn’t move the needle. It’s unclear if the Spurs had interest in Markelle Fultz; the two sides never discussed him seriously, and the Sixers would not have parted with him, sources say. The Spurs made it clear any deal with Philly would require Ben Simmons or Joel Embiid (likely Simmons), and the Sixers weren’t going anywhere near that, league sources say.
Keith Pompey: #Sixers’ Joel Embiid “I’ve seen my name pop up all over the place ” in trade rumors. He wouldn’t disclose the trade rumors. pic.twitter.com/aagImR4ie5
Keith Pompey: Brett Brown on managing the 3 bigs if they all remain in the roster throughout the season: “I think it would be an extreme challenge” pic.twitter.com/cpimRuE3kC
The Celtics reportedly tried to trade up to pick Embiid in the 2014 NBA Draft. “The Celtics were trying to trade the sixth pick that year, which ended up being Marcus Smart,” said Bill Simmons. “They were trying to trade the sixth pick and the Brooklyn pick (17th overall pick) to move up to three to pick Embiid even though he was hurt.”
“But the notion that we were out shopping any of them and aggressively pushing to make a deal is not the case,” Colangelo said. “We certainly listened because a lot of people thought we were in a corner. We never felt like we were in that corner. We feel like we’ve got three talented players that we are going to obviously let work itself out.”
There’s a solid chance that the Sixers will trade Noel or/and center Jahlil Okafor this season. But if he stays, Sixers coach Brett Brown says Noel will be an asset for the team that also features center Joel Embiid.
The Philadelphia 76ers have a logjam at the big positions in Jahlil Okafor, Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel. “There’s no question you can look at our roster and say we have some unbalance,” said Bryan Colangelo. “We’re top heavy. We have some good talent there.”
According to Bryan Colangelo, they are still working on trying to determine how to resolve the Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, Jahlil Okafor front court situation. “We’re still working on that every day. We’re not going to make a bad deal so we’re going to do everything we can to make the right choice if we decide to ultimately move one,” Colangelo said about his big men. “We’ll try to make the right deal for the organization.”
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November 27, 2020 | 6:18 am EST Update
Real Madrid lost star guard Facu Campazzo to the NBA (the Denver Nuggets to be specific) and there is a reported possibility that this may also happen with another player of the team. According to Marca, Real Madrid forward Gabriel Deck will be using the exit clause on his contract with “Blancos” and sign with an NBA club even next week if his team doesn’t present him with an extension offer really soon. There are some NBA teams that have “shown an interest” for the Argentinian player and he’s ready to make the jump, unless something changes with his contract situation with Real.
One longtime league executive said the past week was the most hectic of his career. In addition to the draft and free agency crammed together in an abbreviated offseason, there are so many other less-publicized tasks that teams are trying to sort through, from COVID-19 protocols to fans possibly attending games to scheduling. It’s wild to think that regular-season games are scheduled to tip off in less than a month.
Olgun Uluc: An interesting development: Brisbane Bullets big-man, Tyrell Harrison, has been classified by the NBPA as eligible for the 2021 NBA Draft, his agent tells ESPN. The Kiwi is 21 years old, a legit 7-foot, and should get a minutes bump with Magnay gone. An intriguing, raw prospect.
For example, every day at 5 a.m., inside room 950 in the Gran Destino (where all the top-seeded teams stayed), Masai Ujiri would wake up, read his book, hop on the Peloton, and work out before heading down for breakfast. He thought nothing of his daily ritual until one morning, several weeks into the bubble, when he got a text from another former player of his: “Morning boss, you good up there?” The text was from Kawhi Leonard—Finals MVP with the Raptors, now a star on the Clippers—who was staying in room 850, directly below his old boss. Ujiri had been waking Kawhi up with his noisy workouts for weeks, but Kawhi was reluctant to say anything.
Ujiri told Kawhi that he would stop for the time being and joked that he would continue again when the Raptors met the Clippers in the Finals, messing with Kawhi’s sleep. Kawhi responded with the kind of trash talk that’s best read aloud in Kawhi’s dry monotone: “Haha, you know the saying ‘Don’t poke the bear’? I’m gonna call the NBA on you…get you out the bubble.”
NBA star Markelle Fultz is taking Wakanda Forever literally … he just got a foot-long image of the Black Panther tattooed on his thigh — and it’s AMAZING!! TMZ Sports has learned back in the summer, Fultz hit up “Ink Master” star Roly T-Rex about getting some ink done. And, with Chadwick Boseman’s death and the Black Lives Matter movement at its peak … the two got to thinking a “Black Panther” piece would be perfect.
November 27, 2020 | 1:58 am EST Update
And as is usually the case when the Celtics don’t turn a highly publicized rumor into a reality, we’re getting a reason why that deal never went through. According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the Celtics were never really that high on Turner. Boston apparently didn’t see him as a very big upgrade to their frontcourt, and was even exploring other deals to trade Turner had the deal with Indiana come to fruition. “Talking to people and reading the tea leaves as best I could, it really comes down to the Celtics didn’t want Myles Turner,” Lowe said on The Lowe Post Podcast. “I did hear from some teams around the league that the Celtics have done some preliminary research on what Myles Turner’s trade value would have been to them had they acquired him either in this deal or in a separate deal, and obviously didn’t like what they saw.”