Sixers to cut ties with Iverson

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NBA_iverson.jpgUPDATE 10:31 am: It’s official, the second era of Allen Iverson in Philly has come to an end.

Team president Ed Stefanski said Tuesday that Iverson no longer wishes
to be a distraction to the team and his teammates. He says Iverson and
the Sixers have not found consistency as he tries to balance his career
and personal life.

You kind of hoped that Iverson would leave the game as he played it — on his terms and with some fanfare. While this may not be the end of his playing career, it may be if he cannot accept a lesser role with another team next season.

2:06 am: It is not totally unexpected, but it is still a bit shocking — tomorrow Philadelphia will make the announcement that it has cut ties with Allen Iverson and he will not be with the team the rest of this season according to CSNPhilly.com.

Iverson joined the Sixers on Dec. 2 as a free agent. He made his debut in his second tour of duty Dec. 7 against the Nuggets, one of his former teams, and provided energy and leadership for a total of 24 games.

In early February, Iverson left the team for personal reasons and missed five games and the NBA All-Star Game, which would have been his 11th consecutive All-Star appearance. On the Monday following the break, he disclosed that it was his four-year-old daughter Messiah that was ill, but they were still unclear of her ailment

Iverson played in three games from Feb. 15 through Feb. 20 before leaving again to be with his family.

It’s a tough spot for everyone involved. Iverson is putting his family first, spending time with a sick child (when not in Charlotte). Fans give lip service to this idea but when a player actually does put his family first he often gets grief for it.

The problem for the Sixers stemmed from clashing goals. Iverson was brought back to get them a few wins and sell some tickets for a decent but stagnant team. He filled that role and scored 14 a game for the Sixers in the 25 games he played. He was terribly inefficient scoring those points, but that was to be expected as Iverson has never been an efficient scorer.

While Iverson was eating minutes and hogging shots, the Sixers have some good young guards in Jrue Holiday and Willie Green who were not getting enough run. Guys that need to learn on the job but sat on the bench. They need to suffer (and bond) with the rest of the youth on the team and have some growing pains on their way to rebuilding. Iverson may have taken some of the pain away, but he stunted the team’s growth. If Philly wants to be better next year their young players need to learn now.

Which meant it was time to cut ties with Iverson. And they did.

Cavaliers sign forward Derrick Williams to second 10-day contract

Cleveland Cavaliers' Derrick Williams, right, drives to the basket against Indiana Pacers' Rodney Stuckey in the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2017, in Cleveland. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak)
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The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed forward Derrick Williams to a second 10-day contract.

The NBA champions have been impressed with Williams, a former No. 2 overall pick, and it’s likely they will sign him for the remainder of the season when his current contract expires. The Cavs announced Wednesday they signed Williams again. He has averaged 9.8 points and 3.0 rebounds in 22 minutes for the Cavs, who have been bringing him off their bench with their second unit.

Before signing as a free agent with Cleveland on Feb. 9, Williams played for Miami this season before being released.

The Cavs returned from the All-Star break Wednesday and will practice before hosting the New York Knicks on Thursday, just a few hours after the trade deadline.

Hornets’ Miles Plumlee out at least two weeks with leg injury

Charlotte Hornets' Miles Plumlee (18) dunks against the Philadelphia 76ers in the first half of an NBA basketball game in Charlotte, N.C., Monday, Feb. 13, 2017. (AP Photo/Chuck Burton)
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The Hornets are essentially two different teams with and without Cody Zeller.

They’re 22-17 when he plays and 2-15 when he doesn’t. They play at a 62-win pace with him on the floor and a 29-win pace when he sits.

So, with Zeller banged up, Charlotte traded for Miles Plumee. But Plumlee hasn’t provided much, just 3.2 points and 3.8 rebounds in 13.4 minutes per game in five contests.

And now he’ll add even less.

Hornets release:

The Charlotte Hornets announced today that center Miles Plumlee underwent a Magnetic Resonance Image (MRI), which revealed a second-degree calf strain in his right leg. Plumlee will be out for Charlotte’s game tomorrow at Detroit and will be re-evaluated in two weeks.

The Hornets incurred significant long-term costs ($37.5 million over the next three years) to use Plumlee as a short-term bandage. Without him providing even that, this situation looks bleak.

Depending on Zeller’s health, this could turn Charlotte — 2.5 games and three teams out of playoff position — into sellers before the trade deadline. At minimum, it makes the Hornets less likely to buy.

Report: Bulls pushing to trade for 76ers’ Jahlil Okafor

CHICAGO, IL - DECEMBER 14: Jahlil Okafor #8 of the Philadelphia 76ers looks to pass against Jimmy Butler #21 of the Chicago Bulls at the United Center on December 14, 2015 in Chicago, Illinois. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using the photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
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The Bulls reportedly reached out to the 76ers about Jahlil Okafor a few weeks ago.

After unfulfilled intrigue and maybe a trade that fell through, Okafor remains in Philadelphia. And Chicago apparently still wants him.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

As constituted, the Bulls already have a few interior bigs: Robin Lopez, Taj Gibson and Cristiano Felicio. But one or more could go in an Okafor trade or another deal.

Okafor would make the Chicago younger, confusing its direction with Jimmy Butler and Dwyane Wade already in place.

Perhaps, the Bulls are pushing for a trade only because they’re offering so little. Okafor’s low-post game offers intrigue. At the right price, he’d be worth adding, no matter the fit and direction presented.

Maybe the 76ers don’t go for a lowball offer, but that’d be worth trying considering their center logjam with Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel and Jahlil Okafor. Otherwise, Chicago ought to tread carefully when pursuing Okafor.

Report: 76ers trading Ersan Ilyasova to Hawks for Tiago Splitter, picks

Atlanta Hawks guard Mike Dunleavy blocks the shot of Philadelphia 76ers forward Ersan Ilyasova (7) during the second half of an NBA basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 21, 2017, in Atlanta. Atlanta won 110-93. (AP Photo/John Amis)
AP Photo/John Amis
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The 76ers have played like a 64-win team when Joel Embiid and Ersan Ilyasova share the court and a 20-win team otherwise, using data from nbawowy!.

That’s helpful for Philadelphia, which is learning what type of player — a stretch four — works best with its franchise player.

But the Hawks can use more than just a lesson in the idea of Ersan Ilyasova. They can use actual Ersan Ilyasova.

And Atlanta will get him.

Adrian Wojnarowski of Yahoo Sports:

Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated:

Atlanta stills sound intent on keeping Paul Millsap, so Ilyasova will likely back him up. Ilyasova should work particularly well with Dwight Howard, whose interior play was a key factor in ushering in this stretch-four era by covering for the lighter power forward next to him.

In the last 21 months, Ilyasova has been traded five times: from the Bucks to the Pistons to the Magic to the Thunder to the 76ers and now to the Hawks. They can probably count on the veteran to settle in quickly as they try to improve their position in the middle of the Eastern Conference playoff race. Atlanta is fifth, closer to third than sixth.

Both Ilyasova and Splitter have expiring contracts. The advantage of Splitter, who has missed the Hawks’ last 90 games, is that his full compensation counts toward the floor apparently without Philadelphia actually having to play all of his salary.

Plus, those picks could help the 76ers in a season where they can win something meaningful — like the Hawks have decided this season is for them.