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Multliple reports say that the Celtics may trade the No. 1 pick in the upcoming NBA Draft to the Sixers, who have the No.3 pick. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting:

Saturday was Markelle Fultz Night for the 76ers.

Hours before Fultz’s arrival at the team’s practice site in Camden, Joel Embiid tweeted out a selfie of himself and Dario Saric standing in front of a locker with a Markelle Fultz name plate.

There was an overflow of reporters and photographers taking pictures as Fultz walked into the building at 7:08 p.m. wearing a black Sixers cap.

And the team’s employees and guests watched intently as Fultz’s workout - that weeks ago seemed nothing more than wishful thinking - took place.

The Washington point guard working out for the Sixers was an indication that the team is getting closer to acquiring the only perfect fit in Thursday night’s NBA draft.

Sixers exercise Robert Covington contract option

The Philadelphia 76ers today exercised the contract option on forward Robert Covington for the 2017-18 season.

In 204 games (165 starts) over the course of three seasons with the Sixers, Covington holds averages of 13 points, six rebounds, two assists and two steals per game while shooting 35 percent from three-point range and 81 percent from the free-throw line. His 170 made three-pointers in 2015-16 were the fifth-most ever in a season by a Sixers player, and his 474 threes are already fifth-most in franchise history behind Allen Iverson, Kyle Korver, Andre Iguodala and Hersey Hawkins.

This past season, Covington finished fourth in the NBA with an average of 1.9 steals per game, while his total of 127 swipes on the year placed him 11th in the league. Covington, Houston’s Trevor Ariza, Golden State’s Stephen Curry, San Antonio’s Kawhi Leonard and Oklahoma City’s Russell Westbrook were the only NBA players with 125 threes and 125 steals in 2016-17.

Covington was originally signed by the Sixers on Nov. 15, 2014, after spending much of the 2013-14 season with the Rio Grande Valley Vipers, the Houston Rockets’ D-League affiliate. He appeared in seven NBA games for Houston and was named D-League Rookie of the Year during an All-Star campaign.

2017 NBA Draft is critical for Sixers

Before you say anything: Yes, the draft is of huge importance each year to every team with both a horrible record and a high pick. But with the Sixers, it’s different. They’ve invested years into a very long rebuilding process. And if they can land a difference-maker this year — or at least another big-time prospect who is an actual keeper — then the team’s future can finally take shape. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer with more:

The Sixers had top-three selections in each of the next three drafts. In each one, they didn’t have to make tough decisions.

The 2014 draft was regarded as a three-player affair with Joel Embiid, Andrew Wiggins, and Jabari Parker. Even with a broken right foot, Embiid was thought to be far superior to any draft prospect not named Wiggins and Parker. So with those two off the board, the Sixers did the obvious and drafted Embiid.

The following summer, Karl-Anthony Towns, D’Angelo Russell, and Jahlil Okafor were regarded as the top three prospects. The Sixers went the safe route by selecting Okafor third over Kristaps Porzingis after Towns and Russell went first and second.

The 2016 draft was Colangelo’s first with the team. The Sixers were awarded the first overall pick. He had to decide between the super-hyped Ben Simmons or the good but undersize and raw Brandon Ingram. Colangelo did what most would have done by selecting Simmons.

Now, he’s faced with a decision that is arguably tougher than parting ways with Holiday, who had an injury history the Sixers concealed from the Pelicans.

Here’s CSN Philly reporting on the Sixers, whose best young talent is center Joel Embiid and injured guard Ben Simmons, who like Embiid missed his rookie season but is expected to be active this year. Simmons is the height of a big forward, yet has crazy ball-handling and passing skills. So should he be used as a point guard, thus creating constant matchup problems for the opposition? That’s up for debate:

No, Ben Simmons is not a point guard, says Larry Brown

After missing his rookie season with a Jones fracture in his right foot, the Sixers will try the 6-foot-10 Simmons at point guard in 2017-18.

Brown believes that would be a mistake.

“He’s not a point guard,” Brown said Monday on 97.5 The Fanatic’s Midday Show. “Everybody that’s saying that is ridiculous.

“I watched that kid at Montverde. He’s a point guard when he gets the ball in the half court. He’s a point guard if he gets the ball off the board because he’s such a willing passer and so good with the ball, but if he’s going to have to back it down and bring the ball up against little guys, it’s going to take away from what he’s capable of doing. Whoever is saying that is a moron.”

Delaware 87ers guard Devondrick Walker has been named the 2017 NBA Development League Most Improved Player, as voted on by the league’s 22 head coaches. The award honors the player who demonstrated the most significant improvement during the 2016-17 NBA D-League season.

In his third season in the NBA D-League and his first with the 87ers, Walker (6-5, 205) appeared in 48 games, averaging 12.0 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.3 assists. He was acquired by the 87ers in a trade with the Westchester Knicks on Dec. 14, 2016.

Walker’s best month was January, when he averaged 14.9 points, 3.1 rebounds and 1.1 assists. Five of his six 20-point games came after December, including a career-high 24 points in a 131-125 loss to the Maine Red Claws on Feb. 4. Walker also tallied at least 17 points in 12 games this season, with 10 of those performances coming after December.

Walker played for Westchester during the 2015-16 season before joining Delaware in December. In 2014-15, Walker spent time with the Austin Spurs, helping them reach the Western Conference Finals of the 2015 NBA D-League Playoffs.

Paul George and Gerald Henderson fined by NBA

Indiana Pacers forward Paul George and Philadelphia 76ers guard Gerald Henderson have each been fined $25,000, it was announced today by Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations.

George has been fined for public criticism of the officiating following the Pacers’ 120-111 win over the 76ers on Monday, April 10 at Wells Fargo Center.

Henderson has been fined for his Flagrant Foul 2, for throwing an elbow to the head of George with 2:59 remaining in the fourth quarter of the same game.

To view the on-court incident, click on this link.

Is there a place for a veteran guard like Sergio Rodriguez on the young Sixers next season? Too soon to tell. Here’s the Philadelphia Inquirer reporting:

Sergio Rodriguez hopes to return to Sixers

Rodriguez will become a free agent on July 1. He wants to return to the Sixers. He is averaging 7.8 points, 5.1 rebounds, and 22.3 minutes this season. He was playing his best basketball before he got hurt.

Rodriguez had 12 points and seven assists against the Chicago Bulls on March 24. Two days later, he finished with 16 points while making 4 of 7 three-pointers against the Indiana Pacers.

“Let’s see how it goes,” he said of his future. “It’s going to take a long time, because [free agency] is in July. You are not going to know anything. I don’t want to rush myself.”

Sixers sign Alex Poythress

The Philadelphia 76ers today signed forward Alex Poythress from the Ft. Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League. Pursuant to the NBA’s roster hardship exception, the Sixers roster now stands at 16.

Poythress has appeared in 46 games (45 starts) for Ft. Wayne this season, posting averages of 19 points, seven rebounds, two assists, one steal and one block in 31 minutes per game. He is shooting 57% from the field and 40% from beyond the three-point line. Poythress, a 2017 NBA D-League All Star selection, ranks in the Top 15 in the D-League in points, field goals made and attempted, offensive rebounds and blocks per game.

Poythress appeared in 112 career games at the University of Kentucky, finishing his four-year career averaging nine points, five rebounds and one assist in 22 minutes per game, while shooting 55% from the field. He helped lead the Wildcats to the NCAA Tournament National Finals in 2014.

Joel Embiid health update

Here is the Philadelphia Daily News with an update on the Joel Embiid health saga. Embiid remains out for the year, but his recovery is worth tracking:

Joel Embiid health update

When the 76ers recently embarked on a four-game West Coast trip, injured center Joel Embiid joined them in Los Angeles after a loss in Portland. Embiid made the trip, the team said, to see some of the team of doctors that is overseeing his recovery from a slight meniscus tear in his left knee.

The team returned to practice Thursday, but Embiid remained on the West Coast. It was announced that he is in San Diego with Dr. David Martin to see more specialists about the knee. Apparently, a convention of orthopedic surgeons is happening this week in San Diego and the team decided it would be beneficial for Embiid and Martin to be there.

Sixers sign Shawn Long

The Philadelphia 76ers today announced that the team has signed forward-center Shawn Long.

Long first signed a 10-day contract with the Sixers on March 6 after being called up from the Delaware 87ers, the Sixers’ NBA Development League affiliate. He has appeared in four NBA games, averaging five points and three rebounds in eight minutes per game.

In 39 games with Delaware, he led the team with averages of 20 points and 11 rebounds in 30 minutes per game, while shooting 54 percent from the field. He was named a 2017 NBA D-League All-Star. Long originally signed with the Sixers on July 8, 2016 before being waived on October 24 and joining the Sevens.

Long played four collegiate seasons (2013-16) at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, posting 17 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in 30 minutes per game. As a senior, he was named 2016 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year.

The Philadelphia 76ers today “called up” forward-center Shawn Long from the Delaware 87ers of the NBA Development League and signed him to a 10-day contact. Pursuant to the NBA’s roster hardship exception, the Sixers roster now stands at 16.

Long originally signed with the Sixers on July 8, 2016 before being waived on October 24 and joining the Sevens. In 39 games with Delaware, he leads the team with averages of 20 points and 11 rebounds in 30 minutes per game, while shooting 54 percent from the field. He was named a 2017 NBA D-League All-Star.

Long played four collegiate seasons (2013-16) at the University of Louisiana-Lafayette, posting 17 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks in 30 minutes per game. As a senior, he was named 2016 Sun Belt Conference Player of the Year.

Long will wear number 36 for the Sixers.

The Philadelphia 76ers have signed forward Justin Harper to a 10-day contract.

Harper, a two-time NBA D-League All-Star, most recently saw action with the Los Angeles D-Fenders, where he appeared in 37 games (all starts) and posted averages of 16 points and seven rebounds in 29 minutes per game, while shooting 40 percent from three-point range.

A season ago, Harper played in 42 games (26 starts) with L.A. and averaged 15 points and six rebounds per game as he shot 39 percent from beyond the arc. On February 24, 2016, he signed the first of two 10-day contracts with the Detroit Pistons.

A veteran of two NBA seasons and three D-League campaigns, Harper has also played internationally in Italy, Israel and France.

Harper was originally selected with the 32nd overall pick of the 2011 NBA Draft by the Cleveland Cavaliers before being traded to the Orlando Magic on draft night. He played in 14 games as rookie, averaging six minutes per contest.

Harper started all 37 games during his senior season at Richmond, averaging 18 points and seven rebounds, as he was named 2011 First Team All-Atlantic 10. That year, he helped lead the Spiders to 29-8 record and an Atlantic 10 title. Richmond, as a No. 12-seed, reached the Sweet 16 for the second time in school history.

Harper will wear number 30 for the Sixers.

Joel Embiid done for season, again

The Sixers were very careful with super-talented center Joel Embiid this season, playing him limited minutes, giving him plenty of rest during busy parts of the schedule, and trying to keep the big guy healthy.

But it didn’t work.

The team announced today that Embiid will miss the rest of the season. “The Process” is delayed once again.

The team recently announced that their other talented rookie, Ben Simmons, who hasn’t played this season, won’t be active until 2017-18.

Once again, the Sixers are about the future, not the present.

More on this: Joel Embiid injury update: out for season

Sixers waive Andrew Bogut

Sixers waive Andrew Bogut

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today the team has waived center Andrew Bogut.

Bogut was acquired as part of a trade with the Dallas Mavericks on February 23, 2017. He was never really going to be a part of the Sixers, so today’s news isn’t a huge surprise.

Bogut doesn’t score much, but he’s an excellent defender.

Joel Embiid bothered by knee

Well, this isn’t good. Sixers center Joel “The Process” Embiid is dealing with a lingering knee issue. Hoping for the best. Here’s CSN Philly reporting:

Joel Embiid bothered by knee

Joel Embiid on Monday will have an MRI on his injured left knee and is now listed as out indefinitely.

Embiid has been experiencing swelling and soreness in the left knee injury that has caused him to miss 16 out of the last 17 games. Bryan Colangelo announced back on Feb. 11 that Embiid has a minor meniscal tear. In his most recent press conference last Friday, Colangelo had targeted this Friday’s home game against the Knicks as a possibility for Embiid’s return. Now, that isn’t the case.

sixers trade nerlens noel

The Dallas Mavericks announced today that they have acquired forward-center Nerlens Noel from the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for guard Justin Anderson, center Andrew Bogut and a 2017 protected first-round pick.

Noel (6-11, 220) holds career averages of 10.2 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.7 steals, 1.6 blocks and 28.3 minutes per game in 171 games (140 starts) with Philadelphia.

The third-year man out of Kentucky is averaging 8.9 points, 5.0 rebounds, 1.4 steals, 0.9 blocks and 19.4 minutes per game in 29 games (seven starts) this season. He is shooting 61.1 percent (107-of-175) from the field this year.

A native of Malden, Mass., Noel was originally selected by the New Orleans Pelicans with the sixth overall pick in the 2013 NBA Draft. His rights were later traded to Philadelphia along with a future first-round pick in exchange for Jrue Holiday and Pierre Jackson.

In his lone season at Kentucky (2012-13), Noel averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 2.1 steals, 4.4 blocks and 31.9 minutes per game en route to earning First Team All-SEC, SEC Defensive Player of the Year and SEC Rookie of the Year honors. On Jan. 29, 2013, Noel set the UK single-game record with 12 blocked shots in a victory over No. 16 Ole Miss.

Noel suffered a torn ACL in a game against the Florida Gators on Feb. 12, 2013, ending his 2012-13 season. Despite the injury, Noel declared for the 2013 NBA Draft following his freshman year. He missed the entire 2013-14 NBA season recovering from knee surgery.

As a rookie in 2014-15, Noel averaged 9.9 points, 8.1 rebounds, 1.7 assists, 1.8 steals, 1.9 blocks and 30.8 minutes per game in 75 games (71 starts) while garnering NBA All-Rookie First Team honors.

The 22-year-old Noel was the top-rated player by both ESPNU recruiting and Scout.com coming out of high school and was rated the second-best prospect by Rivals.com. He will wear No. 3 with the Mavericks.

Anderson (6-6, 228) was drafted by Dallas with the 21st overall pick in the 2015 NBA Draft. In 106 games (11 starts) with the Mavericks, he averaged 5.1 points and 2.7 rebounds in 12.8 minutes per game.

Bogut (7-0, 260) was acquired by Dallas along with a future second-round pick from the Golden State Warriors on July 7, 2016 in exchange for a future conditional second-round pick. He averaged 3.0 points, 8.3 rebounds, 1.9 assists, 1.0 block and 22.4 minutes per game in 26 games (21 starts) with the Mavericks this season.

Mavs and Andrew Bogut never got to mesh

Here’s the Dallas Morning News discussing center Andrew Bogut, who never made his mark as a member of the Mavericks and is now set to be traded to the Sixers. Bogut played in 26 games for the Mavs, averaging 3.0 ppg and 8.3 rpg in 22.4 minutes per outing:

Mavs and Andrew Bogut never got to mesh

Andrew Bogut, we hardly knew ya.

The big Aussie with the bigger sense of humor blew through the Mavericks for two-thirds of a season, never quite fit on the court with Dirk Nowitzki and now is heading elsewhere, although nobody’s sure quite where.

It was a virtual guarantee that Philadelphia, to whom the Mavericks will trade Bogut as soon as the conference call with the NBA office takes place, will never put the 7-footer in a uniform. They will waive him if they can’t move him along. It’s likely the Mavericks are paying a chunk (if not all) of his remaining salary.
Bogut still has some tread on his tires, but it’s getting pretty well worn. The question is whether he can land in a place that can utilize him for 20 minutes a game and get the most of his skills.

Sixers, Hawks trade Ersan Ilyasova, Tiago Splitter

The Philadelphia 76ers have acquired center Tiago Splitter, a second-round pick, and the option to swap a second-round pick from the Atlanta Hawks in exchange for forward Ersan Ilyasova, President of Basketball Operations Bryan Colangelo announced today.

The Sixers will also receive a second-round pick from Atlanta (via Miami) and the right to swap the least favorable of the 2017 second-round picks received in the Sixers trade with the Utah Jazz with Atlanta’s 2017 second-round pick.

“I want to thank Ersan Ilyasova for his positive contributions to this organization both on and off the basketball court,” Colangelo said. “Ersan is a true professional whose daily examples of hard work, focus and consistency have helped facilitate the ongoing growth of our program and culture.”

“We are excited to welcome Ersan, and his family, to the Atlanta Hawks. He’s a high-character, proven veteran who we’ve liked for many years and believe fits well within our system,” Hawks President of Basketball Operations/Head Coach Mike Budenholzer said. “We also want to thank Tiago for his contributions on and off the court. We wish him all the best in the future.”

Ilyasova was acquired by Philadelphia on November 1, 2016 in a deal with Oklahoma City. In the midst of his ninth NBA season, he has appeared in 583 career games (353 starts) and holds averages of 11 points and six rebounds in 24 minutes per game. A native of Turkey, Ilyasova played in 53 games (40 starts) with the Sixers this season, averaging 15 points and six rebounds on 44 percent shooting from the field.

Splitter, a veteran of six NBA seasons, has appeared in 347 career games (153 starts) with San Antonio and Atlanta. He holds career averages of eight points and five rebounds in 19 minutes per game, while shooting 56 percent from the floor. Originally selected in the first round (28th overall) of the 2007 NBA Draft by the Spurs, the Brazilian native spent the first five seasons of his career in San Antonio (2010-15). During the Spurs’ run to the 2014 NBA title, Splitter saw action in all 23 playoff games (18 starts), posting eight points and six rebounds per contest.

Ben Simmons health update coming soon

The key piece of the Sixers’ future is center Joel Embiid, and if all goes as planned the other big piece is injured rookie Ben Simmons. Here’s CSN Philly reporting:

Ben Simmons health update coming Thursday

Thursday is significant for the Sixers beyond the trade deadline. It is also the day of Ben Simmons’ CT scan to evaluate how his right foot is healing.

“I feel like tomorrow at some point we’re all going to be able to lay out a more genuine plan for him,” Brett Brown said Wednesday. “I feel like we’re going to be good to go with some greater news and a more advanced detail of his plans after this scan.”

Once all parties involved assess the results, the team will provide an update, which may not be Thursday. Simmons has been sidelined all season after suffering a Jones fracture during the final scrimmage of training camp.

The Sixers resume practice on Wednesday and Ersan Ilyasova will look to be recharged and refocused when he hits the court in Camden. The veteran power forward is determined to find his rhythm after hitting a shooting snag prior to the All-Star break.

“I need it right now, just get away from basketball,” Ilyasova said of the time off following the Sixers’ final game before the break. “Obviously, the last week was kind of up and down. The season is long. Obviously, you have to get your mind out of it. It’s good timing.”

Ilyasova’s plans for the break included traveling to West Palm Beach, Florida, where he owns a home, to spend time with his wife and children who live in Milwaukee. He hoped unwinding with his loved ones would help him move beyond his struggles at the basket.

– CSN Philly

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