Sixers Rumors

Sixers Sign, Waive Five Players

1:01pm: In a press release, Philadelphia has confirmed all the roster moves detailed below and announced a couple more. According to the Sixers, in addition to signing and waiving Washburn, Alston, and Harris, they also signed and waived guards Jared Brownridge and Xavier Munford.

Brownridge played for the Delaware Blue Coats last season and Munford’s rights were acquired by Delaware last month, so they’d both be returning-rights players for the Blue Coats.

10:23am: The Sixers have signed and subsequently waived Julian Washburn, Shizz Alston Jr., and Terry Harris, according to reports. Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link) first reported the signings, while Derek Bodner of The Athletic (Twitter link) indicated that all three players had already been released.

Alston is a 6’4″ guard who went undrafted out of Temple this spring after averaging 19.7 PPG and 5.0 APG as a senior. Harris, another undrafted rookie, is the younger brother of Sixers forward Tobias Harris. The former North Carolina A&T swingman played for the 76ers’ Summer League team in July.

As for Washburn, the 6’8″ forward spend much of the 2018/19 season on a two-way contract with the Grizzlies before he was dealt to Golden State in the Andre Iguodala deal. The Warriors waived him and the Sixers’ G League affiliate – the Delaware Blue Coats – acquired his returning rights last month.

Alston and Harris will join the Blue Coats as affiliate players, while Washburn will be a returning-rights player for the squad. As a result of their brief stays on the Sixers’ roster, they should also be eligible for Exhibit 10 bonuses worth up to $50K if they spend at least 60 days in Delaware.

The Sixers had cleared space on the roster for these three players by waiving Isaiah Miles, Christ Koumadje and Haywood Highsmith, as we detailed on Friday night.

Sixers Waive Miles, Koumadje, Highsmith

The Sixers are waiving Isaiah Miles, Christ Koumadje and Haywood Highsmith, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

That will reduce their roster to 17 players. There are no surprises with these moves, as all three had non-guaranteed contracts. Trey Burke has a partially guaranteed deal, while 14 others have full guarantees to go along with Philadelphia’s two-way players.

The Sixers hold the G League rights to the trio and they’re expected to play for the Delaware Blue Coats.

Miles, who went undrafted out of St. Joe’s in 2016, has played professionally overseas during the last three years. The 6’7” forward has spent time with teams in France and Turkey, having played for Limoges CSP in 2018/19.

The 7’4″ Koumadje, a Florida State alum, played for Philadelphia’s summer league team after going undrafted. He played four seasons with the Seminoles and started all 37 games as a senior.

Highsmith, a small forward who went undrafted out of Wheeling Jesuit in 2018, signed a two-way contract with Philadelphia in January and spent the remainder of his rookie season with the 76ers and the Blue Coats.

Sixers Wanted Richardson Last Season

  • The Sixers were interested in acquiring Josh Richardson last season from the Heat before they traded for Jimmy Butler, Michael Lee of The Athletic reports. The Sixers were open to being a third party when the Heat were in trade talks with the Timberwolves for Butler with Philadelphia targeting Richardson. When those talks collapsed, the Sixers eventually worked out a trade for Butler. Those two swingmen were the main components of the sign-and-trade this summer when Butler agreed to join Miami.

Sixers Pick Up Zhaire Smith’s 2020/21 Option

The Sixers have exercised the third-year option on Zhaire Smith‘s rookie contract, a source tells Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). The move ensures that Smith’s $3,204,600 cap hit for the 2020/21 season is now fully guaranteed.

Smith, the 16th overall pick in the 2018 draft, missed most of his rookie season due to health issues but suited up for Philadelphia for six games, averaging 6.7 PPG and 2.2 RPG with a .412/.375/.750 shooting line. He’ll be vying with the likes of James Ennis, Matisse Thybulle, and Furkan Korkmaz for wing minutes off the bench in 2019/20.

With Smith’s third-year option now locked in, the 76ers will have to decide by October 31, 2020 whether to pick up his fourth-year option for the 2021/22 season.

For a breakdown of all of this year’s rookie scale option decisions, be sure to check out our tracker.

Matisse Thybulle Appears Ready For Prime Opportunity

Despite improving his already-impressive arsenal, Sixers star Ben Simmons can’t get caught up in settling for jumpers behind the arc this season, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

Celtics, Nets, Hornets Considered Three-Way Trade

In the early hours of free agency, the Celtics discussed a three-way sign-and-trade that would have brought Kemba Walker to Boston while sending Kyrie Irving to the Nets and Terry Rozier to the Hornets, according to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald.

The Celtics were hoping to pull off the deal and still have enough resources left to keep Al Horford, but the trade got scrapped when Horford elected to accept a four-year, $109MM contract from the Sixers.

The proposed transaction wouldn’t have been as difficult to execute as some in the media have claimed, Bulpett adds. The Nets had the cap space to sign Irving outright and would have sought some compensation to participate, but all three teams had interest. Bulpett states that while the deal never got close to completion, Brooklyn officials were clear about what they wanted and their price could have been met.

In an interview this week, Horford suggested that he might have given stronger consideration to staying in Boston if he had known Walker was joining the team.

“I don’t want to get caught up in the past,” Horford said, “but, yeah, that would have been totally different.”

The Celtics were willing to give the 33-year-old a four-year-deal, according to Bulpett, but he landed in a good situation in Philadelphia, where he is surrounded by enough talent to compete for a title and won’t be asked to play center as often because of Joel Embiid.

Al Horford Discusses Decision To Leave Celtics For Sixers

While it wasn’t quite as shocking as some of this summer’s blockbuster trades, Al Horford‘s move from Boston to Philadelphia raised some eyebrows around the NBA. After Horford turned down his 2019/20 player option with the Celtics, there was a sense that he’d still work something out to remain with the team. However, a lucrative four-year offer from the Sixers helped lure him to an Atlantic rival instead.

Speaking this week to Steve Bulpett of The Boston Herald, Horford said that his decision to sign with the Sixers began to form once he and his teammates realized that Kyrie Irving would likely leave the Celtics in free agency as well.

“We all kind of felt that Kyrie was going to leave,” Horford said. “It was like, maybe he’ll stay, but then it was, nah, he’s probably going to leave just based on how everything was. And then I’m looking at my career and myself and the years that I have left. There were certain things that we wanted to accomplish as a team and things that we needed to make that happen. We got all those pieces last year, but it didn’t happen for us, and moving forward I didn’t know if it was going to be a two-year wait or whatever it was going to be.

“It was that and the financial reasons. When we started with the team trying to come up with things and we couldn’t agree on certain numbers, that’s when I decided, you know what, I’m going to have to open my free agency. I believe not only that I am worth a certain amount of money, but also I want to be in a position that I have a really good opportunity to win now. You know, my window is now. That’s how I feel.”

The four-year, $109MM contract Horford signed with the Sixers, which includes $97MM in fully guaranteed money, was worth more than the Celtics were willing to offer. According to Bulpett, the original belief was that the big man was heading toward a new three-year deal in Boston, but the C’s were outbid.

While Irving’s departure was one of the factors that contributed to Horford’s departure, the 33-year-old told Bulpett that even if Kyrie had stayed, he’s not sure “if it would have worked” in Boston.

“There would have had to be some major changes as far as players, because it was just clear that the group that we had just wasn’t going to be able to coexist,” Horford said.

Asked if he might have been more willing to stick with the Celtics if he’d known Kemba Walker was on his way, Horford said that he doesn’t want to get caught up in the past, but admitted that it “would have been totally different.”

Still, Chris Forsberg of NBC Sports Boston is skeptical that a Walker/Horford pairing ever could have worked logistically, since the Celtics didn’t start seriously looking at Kemba as a viable possibility until they knew Horford had one foot out the door.

Structuring the acquisition of Walker as a sign-and-trade instead of an outright signing opened the door slightly to the possibility of bringing back Horford, but in order to make it work, the C’s would have needed to turn Irving’s deal with Brooklyn into a sign-and-trade as well, which would’ve meant sending at least one extra asset – likely a first-round pick – to the Nets to incentivize them to play along. On top of all that, Horford still probably would’ve required a more lucrative offer than Boston was willing to put on the table, since a $109MM deal may not have been realistic for the hard-capped Celtics.

For his part, Horford said he would understand if there are Celtics fans upset at him for signing with the rival Sixers.

“I won’t hold it against anybody if they feel negatively toward me for leaving,” Horford told Bulpett. “… I felt like I really gave everything I had. I gave everything I had — on the floor, trying to be the best leader that I could, trying to help the guys as much as I could, putting in the extra work. So no regrets, but disappointment. I understand if people are disappointed. I’m disappointed, too. We didn’t win a championship; we didn’t get to that stage.”

Nets, Lakers Still Expected To Play In China

The NetsLakers game, scheduled for 7:30 Eastern Time tomorrow morning in Shanghai, appears likely to be played, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). There have been concerns that the game and another one scheduled for Saturday in Shenzhen might be canceled due to the ongoing dispute between the league and the Chinese government.

Media sessions scheduled for today to promote the game were called off, along with at least two other NBA-related events, and outdoor advertisements for the contest were taken down, relays Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. However, Commissioner Adam Silver told representatives of both teams that he believes the games won’t be affected.

Tensions have been high since Rockets general manager Daryl Morey posted a tweet last Friday supporting protesters in Hong Kong. Morey quickly removed the tweet and team owner Tilman Fertitta emphasized that the team doesn’t take political positions, but it has done little to quell the controversy.

The dispute reached Congress today with a bi-partisan group sending a letter to Silver urging him to have the “courage and integrity” to stand up to Chinese leaders. The lawmakers are calling on the NBA to suspend all activities in the nation until the government agrees to reverse the actions it has taken against the Rockets. Throughout the country, Rockets merchandise has been taken off the shelves and murals of the team, even those featuring Yao Ming, have been covered with paint.

“You have more power to take a stand than most of the Chinese government’s targets and should have the courage and integrity to use it,” the letter read. The league offered no comment and did not say if Silver has seen the letter.

There’s more on the NBA’s standoff with China:

  • The dispute has spread to the United States, Reynolds notes, as two fans were removed from the Sixers‘ game against Guangzhou Tuesday night for displaying signs and chanting support for Hong Kong. Wells Fargo Center officials issued a statement today explaining the ejections. “During the second quarter of last night’s 76ers game, Wells Fargo Center security responded to a situation that was disrupting the live event experience for our guests,” the statement read. “After three separate warnings, the two individuals were escorted out of the arena without incident. The security team employed respectful and standard operating procedures.” Hong Kong supporters were also visible at tonight’s Wizards game in Washington, D.C., tweets Candace Buckner of The Washington Post.
  • The international tension has been a distraction that the Nets don’t need as they prepare for the season, states Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Players are staying in their hotel and are being very guarded in their public statements. “It was unfortunate that the events were cancelled (Tuesday) but we’re not experts in that field,” DeAndre Jordan said on ESPN’s The Jump. “The field that we are experts in is basketball. We wanted to come here to play basketball and see all our fans in China.”
  • Salary cap experts from five teams are preparing for a sharply reduced cap in 2020/21 because of the expected loss of revenue from China, tweets Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports. Some are running scenarios that are 10-15% lower than the current $116MM projection. While he stresses that it’s just preparation, Smith adds that a source told him, “It’s like the spike, but opposite. After all the money everyone spent last summer, this would have a major impact on all of us.” (Twitter link)

2019/20 Over/Unders: Atlantic Division

The 2019/20 NBA regular season will get underway in just two weeks, which means it’s time to start getting serious about predictions for the upcoming campaign.

With the help of the lines from a handful of sports betting sites, including Bovada and BetOnline, we’re running through the predicted win totals for each of the NBA’s 30 teams, by division. In a series of team-by-team polls, you’ll get the chance to weigh in on whether you think those forecasts are too optimistic or too pessimistic.

We’ll kick things off today with the Atlantic division…

Philadelphia 76ers

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Sixers poll.

 Boston Celtics

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Celtics poll.

Toronto Raptors

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Raptors poll.

Brooklyn Nets

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Nets poll.

New York Knicks

Trade Rumors app users, click here for Knicks poll.

Sixers Notes: Thybulle, Horford, Richardson, Milton

Ben Simmons has seen enough of Matisse Thybulle in practice to be glad he won’t have to face him in the regular season, writes Rich Hoffman of The Athletic. “I hate him on defense,” Simmons said of the rookie guard, who displayed his defensive prowess in Saturday’s intrasquad scrimmage. He forced turnovers throughout the afternoon and had an impressive block on a shot by Josh Richardson.

“I’m just chasing the ball every chance I get,” Thybulle said. “Deflections are just a side effect of hustle for me. … It’s fun to get out there and get a little feel, wreak a little havoc.”

It’s not clear how much the Sixers are planning to use the 20th overall pick, but he provides a disruptive force that can be useful to shut down perimeter scorers. Hoffman notes that Thybulle comes into the league with both a “high motor” and a quick recognition of what opponents are doing, two things that usually take time for rookies to develop.

There’s more Sixers news to pass along:

  • Players recognize the commitment that Philadelphia’s front office has made by handing out so many long-term contracts, Al Horford told Vincent Goodwill of Yahoo Sports. In addition to adding Horford as a free agent for $109MM for four years, the organization re-signed Tobias Harris this summer and gave a five-year extension to Simmons. “It helps tremendously because we can focus on playing and doing some special things,” Horford said. “Knowing the organization believes in this core and this group. They’ve showed it by giving us all long-term deals.”
  • Richardson is quickly emerging as a team leader, notes Lauren Rosen of Acquired from the Heat in the Jimmy Butler trade, Richardson has been working with younger players, particularly Zhaire Smith. The fifth-year swingman sees it as part of his overall responsibilities to help make the team better. “I’m kind of a guy that can morph into any role that I need to on any nightly basis to give us the best chance to win,” he said.
  • The battle for the backup point guard slot remains competitive, relays Marc Narducci of The Philadelphia Inquirer. New additions Raul Neto and Trey Burke are vying for the position, but coach Brett Brown suggested Shake Milton may be considered as well.