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#pounditSaturday, January 28, 2023

Articles tagged: Philadelphia 76ers

Report: Joel Embiid pushing for 76ers to make 1 particular move

Joel Embiid with a straight face

Apr 16, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) before game one of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs against the Toronto Raptors at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Joel Embiid is apparently getting involved in the Philadelphia 76ers’ offseason process.

Veteran basketball writer Marc Stein reported on Thursday that Embiid is giving his strong backing to the 76ers’ upcoming pursuit of veteran forward PJ Tucker. The 37-year-old Tucker will be an unrestricted free agent after declining his $7.4 million player option with the Miami Heat for next year.

Tucker is the kind of role player any contender would love to have. He does the dirty work on defense and on the offensive glass with some automatic corner threes sprinkled in as well. Tucker helped the Milwaukee Bucks win an NBA title in 2021 and started 70 games for the Heat this past season en route to a No. 1 seed and an Eastern Conference Finals berth.

Reports are that the 76ers could be throwing a borderline absurd contract at Tucker once free agency officially opens. Perhaps that is in part because Embiid has given his blessing for the team to go out and get Tucker.

Report: Kyrie Irving has given Nets list of at least 6 trade partners

Kyrie Irving looks on during a game

Mar 15, 2022; Orlando, Florida, USA; Brooklyn Nets guard Kyrie Irving (11) during the second half against the Orlando Magic at Amway Center. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kyrie Irving appears to be laying the ground work to leave the Brooklyn Nets this summer.

Irving has until June 29 to decide if he wants to exercise his $36.9 million player option for next season. He has been discussing a new contract with the Nets as that deadline looms. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Irving has given the Nets a list of teams he would like to be traded to if the two sides cannot work out a new deal.

That does not necessarily mean Irving will leave Brooklyn, but it certainly is an indication that he is open to it. If he does want to play for another team, the Nets would rather get something of value in return. That is why they would likely want to have Irving opt in to facilitate a sign-and-trade.

As Wojnarowski noted, none of the teams Irving would be interested in playing for have enough salary cap space to sign Kyrie as a free agent. That is another reason a sign-and-trade would make sense.

A separate report on Thursday claimed Kevin Durant is also weighing options for his future. Durant is under contract with the Nets through the 2025-26 season, but he probably would want a fresh start elsewhere if Irving leaves.

It is also entirely possible that Irving and Durant are trying to put pressure on the Nets. The Nets are said to be hesitant to sign Kyrie to a long-term deal because of all the drama surrounding him in recent years. Perhaps Durant is trying to give his close friend an assist by helping Irving secure a new contract.

Report: P.J. Tucker drawing strong interest from 1 team

PJ Tucker looking on

Dec 21, 2019; Phoenix, Arizona, USA; Houston Rockets forward PJ Tucker (17) against the Phoenix Suns at Talking Stick Resort Arena. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

When P.J. Tucker officially opts out of his contract with the Miami Heat at the end of June, numerous contenders are expected to vie for his services. One of those teams reportedly will be the Philadelphia 76ers.

According to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey is pursuing Tucker. The team is reportedly expected to offer him a three-year, $30 million contract. The 76ers are also reportedly looking to make a three-team trade involving guard Matisse Thybulle and the No. 23 pick in this year’s NBA Draft in order to create enough cap space to land Tucker. They’re also looking to trade forward Tobias Harris, but that may prove difficult with the two years and $76.9 million he has left on his deal.

After the 76ers’ second-round playoff exit, center Joel Embiid mentioned Tucker specifically as the type of player the team needed in order to take the next step.

Tucker’s offensive stats don’t jump off the page (he averaged 7.6 points, 2.1 assists and 5.5 rebounds per game with the Heat last season), but he’s a physical player who plays solid defense.

The 76ers are likely not alone in their pursuit of Tucker. He’s a player that multiple contenders, including the Heat, could use on their roster.

James Harden willing to give 76ers a discount?

James Harden looking on

Nov 15, 2019; Houston, TX, USA; Houston Rockets guard James Harden (13) arrives to Toyota Center prior to the game against the Indiana Pacers. Mandatory Credit: Erik Williams-USA TODAY Sports

James Harden was not exactly the superstar the Philadelphia 76ers hoped he would be when they acquired him in a blockbuster trade this season, but the two sides are committed to one another going forward. Harden could sign an extension with the team this summer, and he may even be willing to offer a discount.

Harden has a $47.4 million player option for the 2022-23 season. He would be eligible to sign a five-year max deal if he declines it. According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, it is more likely that Harden will sign a short-term extension with the Sixers. Either way, the 76ers want Harden to remain in Philly and the feeling is mutual.

Fischer notes that some NBA personnel believe Harden could potentially sign for less than max contract money in order to help the 76ers build a championship contending roster around him.

Harden will turn 33 in August. Some players in his position might want to secure as much money as they possibly can, but he is still chasing his first NBA title. That may be more of a motivating factor for him at this point in his career.

There have been plenty of questions about Harden’s work ethic in recent years. He was even criticized by an ex-teammate recently over his style of play. Harden may feel he has something to prove, and giving the Sixers a discount could be one way to help him prove it.

Family makes admission about Al Horford’s time in Philly

Al Horford during warmups

Jan 28, 2022; Atlanta, Georgia, USA; Boston Celtics center Al Horford (42) prepares for a game against the Atlanta Hawks at State Farm Arena. Mandatory Credit: Brett Davis-USA TODAY Sports

Al Horford is back with the Boston Celtics and enjoying his first-ever trip to the NBA Finals. That’s a significant milestone for the 15-year veteran, especially considering all the obstacles he’s had to overcome throughout his career.

The 36-year-old is well-traveled, having made stops with the Atlanta Hawks, Celtics, Philadelphia 76ers and Oklahoma City Thunder. But it was that first stop in Boston that really meant the most to him. He was a fan favorite and fit in well with the team, which is why it stung so bad when they chose not to re-sign him in 2019.

Things did not go as well for Horford in Philly or Oklahoma City because he always longed to return to Boston. And his family always longed for him to return as well.

“I tell people I think we fully manifested his return to Boston because we all wanted it so badly. We kind of put that out there,” Horford’s sister, Anna, told The Athletic. “Al has alluded to that, as well. He always was homesick for Boston when he was in Philly and when he was in Oklahoma. Somehow, the stars aligned, and we got back here, and it just worked out perfectly.

The Horford family didn’t just long for a return, they believed it would happen. And they knew success would follow.

“We expected it,” Horford’s brother, Josh, said. “We were watching all his games last year in OKC, and he was still the same Al. But I get it, OKC’s a smaller market; people weren’t watching as much. But he’s the same Al.”

Horford has put up 47 points and brought down 28 rebounds to go along with 14 assists and two steals in four Finals games thus far. The Celtics and Golden State Warriors are tied 2-2 heading into Monday’s Game 5.

Report: 76ers willing to trade key player this offseason

Doc Rivers in a suit

Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA Today Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers still have not gone past the second round in over two decades, and it may be one particular player taking the fall this time around.

Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice reported on Monday that 76ers guard Matisse Thybulle is not untouchable and that the team would entertain the idea of trading him this offseason. Neubeck adds that 76ers would not just dump Thybulle for salary-saving purposes however.

The 25-year-old Thybulle is under contract for the 2022-23 season (at an inexpensive $4.4 million) but will be a restricted free agent the following summer. He is a game-changer defensively who just made the NBA’s All-Defensive Second Team for the second consecutive year. But Thybulle’s offensive limitations, specifically his inability to hit the three consistently, lower the Sixers’ ceiling. The team as a whole suffered in their second round loss to the Miami Heat when Thybulle had to step in for the injured Danny Green. Philadelphia also went 2-1 in the first round during their games in Toronto where Thybulle was ineligible to play (due to being unvaccinated).

Thybulle still has what it takes to have a lengthy NBA career as a role player. But if that no longer takes place in Philadelphia, it may just take place on this NBA team that has already been linked to Thybulle.

76ers make key gesture of commitment to Doc Rivers

Doc Rivers in a suit

Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA Today Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers have publicly stated their support for coach Doc Rivers. They are reportedly taking similar steps in private to back their words.

The 76ers are so committed to Rivers that they do not even plan to meet with him to discuss his future, according to Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. The organization intends to work directly with Rivers in order to try to mold the roster into a legitimate championship-caliber unit.

This is certainly a firm commitment to Rivers despite the 76ers’ exit in the Eastern Conference semifinals. There had been some speculation that the coach’s job status might be shaky in such a scenario, but the team is making clear that he’s safe both privately and publicly.

Next year will probably be key for Rivers. If the end of the season brings a similar outcome to this one, the coach may find himself on the hot seat. For now, though, he clearly has nothing to worry about.

Joel Embiid shares what his Sixers are missing

Joel Embiid with a straight face

Apr 16, 2022; Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, USA; Philadelphia 76ers center Joel Embiid (21) before game one of the first round for the 2022 NBA playoffs against the Toronto Raptors at Wells Fargo Center. Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

The Philadelphia 76ers saw their season come to an end on Thursday night following a Game 6 loss to the Miami Heat.

It was a frustrating loss for the fans, who had high expectations after the team acquired James Harden at the trade deadline. But it was equally as difficult for the players, including Joel Embiid.

The Sixers star, who finished second in NBA MVP, thinks he knows what the 76ers are missing though. Speaking after his team’s loss, Embiid seemed to say his Sixers could use some more toughness, such as a guy like PJ Tucker.

“I mean, we’ve had a few tough guys since I’ve been here. I can recall, whether it was Mike Scott, he didn’t play a lot of minutes, but when you have size and toughness, that goes a long way,” Embiid said.

“You look at someone like P.J. Tucker, great player, but it’s not about him knocking down shots. It’s about what he does. Whether it’s on the defensive or rebounding the ball. You look at defensively, he plays with so much energy, believes that you can get from point A to point B, and he believes that no one can beat him and he’s tough, like he’s just physical and he’s tough. And [the Heat] have a few of those guys, whether it’s Bam [Adebayo] and all those guys.”

The Sixers need those kind of guys. And after being bounced in the second round for the fourth time in five years, you can bet Embiid will push the front office to find them this offseason.

Ben Simmons was petty on Twitter after 76ers got eliminated

Ben Simmons in a tank top

May 13, 2021; Miami, Florida, USA; Philadelphia 76ers guard Ben Simmons (25) warms up prior to the game against the Miami Heat at American Airlines Arena. Mandatory Credit: Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Ben Simmons took a victory lap (if you can call it that) after his former team got eliminated from the playoffs on Thursday.

The Brooklyn Nets star Simmons decided to be petty on Twitter, “liking” a couple of tweets dissing the Philadelphia 76ers and James Harden, whom Simmons was traded for in February. Simmons “liked” one tweet calling Harden “washed” and “out of shape” and another tweet from Skip Bayless criticizing Harden and saying that Simmons would eventually make their trade look foolish for the 76ers.

You can see the “likes” for yourself on Simmons’ page here.

Harden was definitely a disappointment this postseason — even Joel Embiid essentially admitted as much after the 76ers were eliminated. But Simmons does not really have a leg to stand on here since Harden actually played for his team. Simmons did not suit up in a single game for Brooklyn all season (causing some reported frustration within the organization), and the Nets got swept out of the first round of the playoffs.

It might be too early to tell at this point who ultimately won the Harden-Simmons swap. But right now, despite Simmons’ pettiness, it is looking like a lose-lose for both teams.

76ers make decision on Doc Rivers’ future

Doc Rivers in a suit

Photo Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA Today Sports

Doc Rivers faced job security questions after the Philadelphia 76ers were eliminated from the playoffs on Thursday night, but the head coach is not going anywhere.

Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey told reporters on Friday that Rivers will return as the team’s head coach next season. Rivers, who attended the press conference with Morey, said he is still committed to leading the 76ers.

Philadelphia was knocked out off the postseason with a 99-90 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 6 on Thursday night. During his postgame press conference, Rivers was asked if he was concerned about his job. He gave a very fiery response (video here).

The Sixers have had disappointing finishes to both seasons under Rivers. The veteran coach has had to deal with several factors that were not in his control, however. Ben Simmons became a liability during the postseason last year. Joel Embiid played through multiple injuries in the playoffs this year. Danny Green also got injured during the opening minutes of Game 6. The erratic play of James Harden down the stretch did not help.

It makes sense that the Sixers are giving Rivers another chance, though next season may be his last. If the team falls short of expectations three consecutive years, Rivers may finally have to shoulder the blame.