The Sixers, who have arguably the worst guard rotation in the NBA, are closing in on a trade with the Pelicans that will land them journeyman point guard Ish Smith, who will be playing his second stint in Philadelphia. In return they are sending two second-round picks to New Orleans.
Via ESPN.com’s Marc Stein:
Smith has played for 10 teams in his six-year NBA career. He previously played 25 games with the Sixers last season, averaging 12 points and 6.1 assists in 27.1 minutes per game. He’s having a solid year with the Pelicans. This trade won’t change much for the Sixers, but he’s undeniably an upgrade over T.J. McConnell and Tony Wroten at point guard.
In fact, the Sixers released Wroten to create the roster spot for Smith.
Shaquille O’Neal told Justin Tasch of New York Post: “I’m not doing well. I’m sick” about the death of his former teammate Kobe Bryant (along with eight others, including his daughter Gianna).
A lot of people can relate to that, but Shaq pulled it together enough to talk about his former championship teammate.
When it came to what he could no longer tell Kobe, Shaq teared up.
Shaq and Kobe had legendary feuds back in the day, but in later years made up and were friends.
Like many people, Shaq is still trying to process all of it. That’s going to take a long time.
Chris Paul and Kobe Bryant were tight.
The shocking death of Kobe Bryant — along with his daughter Gianna and seven others in a helicopter crash — hit CP3 hard and the point guard missed his first game of the year Monday, sitting out as he tried to come to grips with it all. Kobe and Paul won Gold Medals together, their kids were friends, and they competed fiercely against each other on the court.
Tuesday night, Paul posted this personal tribute to Kobe.
Like Paul, a lot of us are struggling to process it all.
Jerry West has never understood why people thought he was brilliant for recognizing the talent of a 17-year-old Kobe Bryant coming out of high school. To him it was obvious.
If it had been obvious (and if that era had not frowned on the development that came with drafting high school players), Kobe wouldn’t have been a Laker, and NBA history might be very different.
For West, Kobe was not just another player, he was like a son. West talked about it on the well done TNT special commemorating Kobe Tuesday night.
What those neatly packaged TNT clip does not show is just how difficult and emotional it was for West to talk about Kobe.
West has had a life of incredible highs, but also more lows and pain than many — abused by his father and battling depression his entire life — and this is another emotional tax on the NBA legend.
When you saw the image of Joel Embiid‘s dislocated ring finger facing a direction no finger should face, you knew he was going to miss some time (even though he had it taped up and returned to that game). Embiid had surgery to repair a torn radial collateral ligament on the ring finger of his left hand. Ultimately he missed nine games while he recovered.
Tuesday night against the Warriors, Embiid will be back.
He will have a soft wrap on his left hand that has been cleared by the league.
Philadelphia went 6-3 while Embiid was out.
Ben Simmons stepped up — in his last five games (before Tuesday) he averaged 24 points a game on 70.6 percent shooting, plus 10 rebounds and 8.6 assists a game. Without Embiid in the paint or taking up touches, Simmons took over the offense and looked much more comfortable in his role.
However, the Sixers’ offensive rating in those nine Embiid-less games was 104.9, 29th in the NBA (even in the last five it was 103.2, still 29th in the league). Simmons may have been playing better but the offense was not.
When Simmons and Embiid share the court this season, their offensive rating is 106.7 — not great, but better than without Embiid playing.