Start to map out the ideal future of the Philadelphia 76ers and Joel Embiid dominates inside, Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons serve as combo ball handlers depending on the matchup, the team has quality players that fit the system around them — Robert Covington, Dario Saric — and over time future picks and veterans will round out a dangerous squad.
Jahlil Okafor isn’t necessarily part of that picture. He has been shopped for a trade, but the Sixers haven’t gotten an offer back they like yet, so no deal yet.
Okafor didn’t sound overly eager to be traded, but he’s open to it, he said to the Philly media.
“I have, I hear trade rumors and stuff like that, realizing that having a new scenario, think it might be better than what it is now. When it comes to the NBA, this is all I know is wearing a Sixers uniform. And the city’s been great to me, the coaches have been great to me, and my teammates have been great. So I couldn’t be happier.”
That’s handled perfectly, right out of the PR textbook. A new scenario could be good, but I like where I am.
Okafor is coming off some knee issues and has spent much of his summer working to get healthy. If he comes to camp slimmed down and his knee looks right, it could revive trade talks with other teams looking for a big who can — likely coming off the bench — get them buckets inside. His back-to-the-basket game will not work everywhere, but he averaged 11.8 points a game shooting 51 percent last season, he’s efficient and has value.
Okafor still has two years on his rookie deal (assuming fourth-year option is picked up, which it will be) and at that price he likely will get traded. At some point. But he will go to camp a Sixer.
Jeff Withey‘s ex-fiancée accused him of domestic violence, but he was not charged.
That frees him to continue his basketball career, which he’ll do in Dallas.
Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:
The Mavericks could use another center, even if they re-sign Nerlens Noel. Salah Mejri is the only other true center, though Dirk Nowitzki will now play the position.
Withey is a good rim protector. Just don’t ask him to do anything away from the basket.
Dallas annually brings excess players to training camp and has them compete for regular-season roster spots. Whether or not his salary is guaranteed, Withey will likely fall into that competition.
The Grizzlies’ Grit & Grind era has ended.
Zach Randolph signed with the Kings, and Tony Allen appears likely to leave Memphis, too. The Grizzlies are prioritizing younger/cheaper players like Ben McLemore and Tyreke Evans.
Marc Gasol via Ala Carta, as translated by HoopsHype:
I’m very ambitious and I’ve wanted Memphis to be a great franchise. We’ve grown a lot the last 6-7 years, but we have to keep growing. If this is not lined up, maybe we may have to revisit things.
Gasol has been loyal to Memphis, and his first wish is probably winning there. But Giannis Antetokounmpo put it well: Teams must also do right by their players. Gasol is 32 and doesn’t have much time in his prime left. I see why rebuilding wouldn’t interest him.
But what will he do about it if the Grizzlies don’t prioritize the present? They made their push last summer with a max contract for Chandler Parsons, but because Parsons can’t stay healthy, that deal only inhibits team growth.
Gasol is locked up for two more years before a player option. He doesn’t have much leverage. This is part of the reason LeBron James keeps signing short-term contracts. Gasol doesn’t have the same ability to steer his team in his desired direction
On the potentially bright side, rebuilding teams often don’t have much use for 32-year-olds guaranteed more than $72 million over the following three years. If the fit devolves, Memphis becomes more likely to trade him.
The Celtics already said they’d retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34.
Now, we know when.
The Boston Celtics announced today that they will retire Paul Pierce’s No. 34 after a mid-season game against the Cleveland Cavaliers on Sunday, Feb. 11
After? That’s apparently in response to a new rule that penalizes teams not ready to play after a 15-minute halftime. These ceremonies can drag on, and nobody wants to cut Pierce short. I wonder whether this will start a trend of number retirements coming after games.
DeMarcus Cousins grew up in Alabama, played collegiately at Kentucky and now plays in New Orleans.
So, yeah, the Pelicans star has an opinion on Confederate statues.
Cousins, via TMZ:
“Take all them motherf*ckers down,” Cousins said … “Take ’em all down.”
These statues glorify people because they fought a war against the United States in the name of preserving the racist institution of slavery.
Not whom I want to honor, either.