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Monday, November 18, 2019

Articles tagged: Philadelphia 76ers

Jimmy Butler hints he had issues with 76ers

Jimmy Butler

The Philadelphia 76ers seemingly wanted to keep Jimmy Butler when he became a free agent last year, but things went sour between Butler and the organization at some point.

Butler alluded to a behind-the-scenes issue with the Sixers that helped lead him to joining the Miami Heat this past offseason, but wouldn’t go into detail.

“Stuff just don’t work out. Nobody knows what really went on in Philly and we’re going to leave it that way,” Butler told Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports. “But it was a great opportunity for me.

“Just go with your gut. You’re not dumb. All of that will come out whenever it’s time. Right now is not the time. I’m locked in with this. I’m happy, man. I’m smiling and my guys want me to be here, my organization wants me to be here, I want to be here and we’re going to ride this thing until the wheels fall off. I’m not saying Philly wasn’t great, man. We had some really good players. I talk to Joel [Embiid] damn near every f—–g day. It’s a brotherhood, man. I love that guy. I’m going to always have his back and I know he’ll always have mine.”

It’s anyone’s guess what the issue was. One thing reported at the time was that Butler wanted a five-year max and the Sixers didn’t even come close to offering it, so it could be as simple as that. Butler wants to be respected and can be a bit touchy over perceived slights, so a lot of things could have happened behind the scenes to rub the forward the wrong way.

76ers say fans were not ejected over Hong Kong protests

Philadelphia 76ers logo

The Philadelphia 76ers denied that they ejected fans from the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia for their support of Hong Kong.

The 76ers said the two fans, who were holding up “Free Hong Kong” signs, were ejected for being disruptive and getting into verbal confrontations with other fans, not for the content of their signs.

“At last evening’s game, following multiple complaints from guests and verbal confrontations with others in attendance, two individuals were warned by Wells Fargo Center staff about their continuing disruption of the fan experience,” the team said in a statement, via ESPN. “Ultimately, the decision was made by Wells Fargo Center personnel to remove the guests from the premises, which was accomplished without incident.”

The Wells Fargo Center said in its own statement that the fans were given three warnings before being ejected. The fan, Sam Wachs, said he and his wife had their pro-Hong Kong signs confiscated before being ejected after he shouted “Free Hong Kong!” in support of the pro-democracy protests ongoing there.

The preseason game took place against the Guangzhou Loong Lions, a Chinese team.

It’s the latest chapter in the NBA’s newest mess. The Chinese market and the money that comes from it are hugely important to the league, but it’s becoming more and more apparent that they’re not going to be able to tap into that market without censoring themselves to some degree about important political issues relating to China. Whether the Sixers are being honest here or not, it gives off the impression of another NBA entity more concerned with protecting its interests in China than allowing those associated with it to speak freely — the same contrast that got the NBA into trouble in the first place.

Do you support Free Speech? Do you stand with Daryl Morey? Get the shirt that says so below!

76ers fan says he was kicked out of preseason game for supporting Hong Kong

Philadelphia 76ers logo

The NBA has found itself scrambling to somehow repair its relationship with China in the wake of Daryl Morey publicly showing support for the protests in Hong Kong, and the league may be taking measures to avoid the controversy at home in addition to overseas.

A Philadelphia 76ers fan named Sam Wachs says he and his wife were kicked out of the Wells Fargo Center on Tuesday night for showing support for Hong Kong during the Sixers’ preseason game against the Guangzhou Loong-Lions of the Chinese Basketball Association. Wachs, who lived in Hong Kong for two years, says he and his wife were holding up signs that said “Free Hong Kong” and “Free HK.”

Arena security confiscated the signs, and Wachs says the couple was kicked out during the second quarter for yelling, “Free Hong Kong” after the signs were taken.

“We were saying, ‘Free Hong Kong,” Wachs told NBC10 in Philly. “You know, what’s wrong with that?”

Wachs says he and his wife were sitting near the Chinese bench, but he insists they were simply expressing support for the pro-democratic protests in Hong Kong. NBC10 reached out to the 76ers for an explanation, but the team did not provide any comment.

It’s unclear if Wells Fargo Arena security decided themselves that Wachs and his wife were violating the fan code of conduct or if the NBA has issued some sort of directive. Whatever the case, we know the situation between China and the league continues to get more complicated by the day.

NBA commissioner Adam Silver has expressed regret that Morey’s tweets offended so many people in China, but he said the league will not apologize for respecting the Houston Rockets GM’s right to express himself freely. The biggest names in the NBA are typically not shy in expressing their opinions about political and social justice issues, though we have already heard some disappointing responses to the China situation.

Do you support Free Speech? Do you stand with Daryl Morey? Get the shirt that says so below!

7 most improved NBA teams of the offseason

The NBA offseason was one for the ages. A crazy amount of top-end talent changed teams, either by trades or free agency decisions. Six of the 15 players to make All-NBA teams last season are now part of new franchises. The draft has passed, so have many trades, and teams are finally starting to get settled as they prepare for the upcoming season. That means we can assess which teams have improved the most entering the 2019-20 seasons.

Here are seven teams who have done the most to improve themselves over the course of the NBA offseason.

7. Indiana Pacers

The Pacers weathered Victor Oladipo’s absence fairly well last season, winning 48 games and finishing fifth in the conference. Oladipo should be back this season, and the Pacers have made moves to improve the supporting cast around him. The big move was adding restricted free agent Malcolm Brogdon from the Milwaukee Bucks. Other additions like Jeremy Lamb and T.J. Warren will provide forward depth. With Domantas Sabonis and Myles Turner already holding down the frontcourt and Oladipo expected back sometime around the start of 2020, they’ll be a formidable bunch, despite the loss of Bojan Bogdanovic.

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76ers have insane amount of money committed to their core players

Joel Embiid

If the Philadelphia 76ers fail to win a championship in the next five years or so, their fans certainly cannot blame the front office for a lack of financial commitment to the roster.

As expected, Ben Simmons agreed to a five-year, $170 million rookie max extension with the Sixers on Monday. The contract came in an offseason where Philly also shelled out $180 million over five years to keep Tobias Harris and signed Al Horford to a four-year, $109 million deal. And let’s not forget the five-year, $148 million extension Joel Embiid got prior to the 2017-18 season.

Apparently trusting “The Process” costs a lot of dough. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes, the 76ers will have well over a half-billion dollars invested in their four core players when Simmons’ extension kicks in starting in 2020-21.

With all the money they have spent, it’s hard to believe the 76ers did not offer one star player the max contract he was seeking. They clearly have a vision, however, and they feel their current roster is the one that is going to bring them a title. Their payroll says it all.

Ben Simmons agrees to max extension with 76ers

Ben Simmons

As has been widely expected, Ben Simmons has agreed to a max contract extension with the Philadelphia 76ers.

Simmons’ agent Rich Paul told Shams Charania of The Athletic that Simmons has agreed to the five-year, $170 million max deal he was eligible for, locking him down in Philadelphia long-term.

This had been a formality for roughly two weeks and maybe even longer. Simmons is a key part of the Sixers’ future and they’ve planned around him becoming one of their go-to players.

Simmons turns 23 next week. He’s coming off a season which saw him average 17.8 points, 9.3 rebounds, and 8.1 assists as the Sixers came frustratingly close to reaching the Eastern Conference Finals.

76ers GM counting on Harris, Simmons to take big shots

Ben Simmons

The Philadelphia 76ers watched as emotional leader Jimmy Butler departed this summer, but the team’s general manager has players in mind to fill the void.

GM Elton Brand revealed that he is expecting guard Ben Simmons and newly re-signed forward Tobias Harris to step up and fill the leadership void both on and off the court.

“We are making those bets on those perimeter players,” Brand told ESPN’s Tim Bontemps on Friday. “Of course we’re going to bet on Joel [Embiid] when it’s time to bet on him.

“But I envision they will. I envision them stepping up, for sure, and rising to the occasion when it is crunch time, for sure.”

Butler was looked towards to take the big shots in close games, and he did so successfully in his brief time with Philadelphia. His departure leaves no obvious option for the Sixers in that regard, but there’s a clear confidence that Simmons and Harris can do it, or at least an expectation.