Sonny Weems

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76ers in danger of matching worst record in NBA history

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PHILADELPHIA (AP) The Philadelphia 76ers are on a PR blitz trying to win fans’ patience since they are unable to win on the court.

General manager Sam Hinkie – needing something to do with Jerry Colangelo now calling the shots – filmed a spot for the latest promotional video released Thursday that made it seem like he was stumping for votes on the campaign trail. Wearing a hard hat at the eventual site of their new team headquarters, Hinkie’s voiceover says the team is moving “into a building that will embody a lot of the values important to us.”

Hinkie and the 76ers even have a catchy campaign slogan: “Trust the Process.”

The fans the organization is trying to woo could easily shoot back with a motto of their own: Win Some Games.

Year 3 of – Tanking? Rebuilding? You pick the side – is the worst one yet under owner Josh Harris, Hinkie and coach Brett Brown.

Worst of the NBA season? Well, yeah, that was inevitable in training camp. Worst of all time? Getting close.

The Sixers are 9-66 entering Friday’s game at Charlotte, in danger of matching the worst 82-game record in NBA history. Should the Sixers lose their final seven games, they will finish at 9-73, tying the miserable mark set by – spoiler alert! – the Philadelphia 76ers in the 1972-73 season.

The Sixers have lost 10 straight games and would finish on a 17-game losing streak should they fail to put another “W” in the column.

Under Brown, the Sixers have at one point lost both 26 and 28 straight games, the latter the longest losing streak in the history of pro sports.

Allen Iverson, expected to be named to the Hall of Fame on Monday, once railed against practice but is now preaching another p-word: patience.

“I think in Philadelphia, real fans, you’ve got to be patient and understand how young these guys are and know that the potential is there,” Iverson said. “The talent is there, they’re just young, bro. We’ve got to give them a chance.”

The dysfunctional Los Angeles Lakers are the next closest in the worst-of-the-worst teams with 16 wins.

The biggest win of the season just might come in the draft lottery, where this avalanche of defeats has the Sixers positioned to win the No. 1 pick.

But losing has come at a price, even for the greatest players in franchise history.

“If you’re great here, you’re a legend,” Hinkie says in the video. “Wilt. Allen. Charles. You don’t need a second name.”

Sometimes, the legends don’t need a first one. Like Dr. J.

Julius Erving, the Hall of Famer who starred on the 76ers’ last title team in 1983, is tired of watching the franchise founder at the bottom of the NBA.

“It hurts to see the franchise down,” Erving said. “We want to be associated with a winning team. We’ve got to take crap from other retired players from teams that are winning right now. Then we have to remind them how we used to beat up on them in our day. It’s a little bit back and forth. There’s bragging rights. We’d like for the Sixers to help us get some bragging rights.”

There are the infamous kind of bragging rights, as well.

Fred Carter, who played on that 1972-73 Sixers team and would coach the team in the 1990s, said this year’s team is worse than the 70s edition because of how open the franchise has been about the plan to hit bottom. Carter said his Sixers were not built for losing; it just sort of happened.

Carter wants the Sixers to win at least one more game so the `73 team will continue to hold the dubious mark.

“Sunday, I’ll go to Mass. Sunday, I’ll light an extra candle for them,” he said, laughing. “I don’t know if I’ll be lighting a candle for them or lighting one for me, but I will light one. It’s better to be remembered than not remembered at all.”

This season’s Sixers would rather not go down as the worst of all time.

“Most of the games we’re in, we’ve been able to put up a game,” forward Nerlens Noel said.

So, can a team that had Christian Wood, Sonny Weems and even Elton Brand suit up this season avoid a single-digit victory season?

Let’s take a look:

– Friday, at Charlotte: The Hornets lead the series 3-0 and just thumped the Sixers 100-85 on Tuesday.

– Saturday, vs. Pacers: The Pacers lead the series 2-0 and will play the Sixers on the second night of back-to-backs.

– Tuesday, vs. New Orleans: “Ahhh, that’s their 10!” Carter said. “They shut down Anthony Davis and Jrue Holiday. That’ll get them 10.”

Carter might be right. The woeful Pelicans (27-47) won in their only other meeting but have benched their injured stars for the season, meaning this could be Philly’s best shot at the 10th win.

– Friday, April 8, vs New York: Pro: It’s the Knicks. Con: New York leads the series 3-0.

Then it’s games against the Bucks, Raptors and Bulls, teams that are a combined 8-0 vs. the 76ers this season.

There could be hope in the franchise’s bloodlines – four seasons after the nine-win team, the 76ers reached the NBA Finals and they won it all 10 years later.

Can they find that franchise savior in the draft?

“Allen Iverson ain’t walking through the door,” Iverson said.

And the suffering continues.

This story has been corrected to show that the Sixers’ remaining games are in April, not March.

76ers save millions by claiming Sonny Weems off waivers

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When the Suns waived Sonny Weems, the 76ers saw their golden ticket.

76ers release:

The Philadelphia 76ers announced today the team has claimed guard-forward Sonny Weems off of waivers.

Why did Philadelphia want the 29-year-old journeyman?

The 76ers were $2,630,651 below the salary floor before the waiver claim. They would have had to pay that amount to their players as punishment for not reaching the floor.

But Weems’ $2,814,000 salary lifts them over the floor, meaning they’ll no longer have to pay the shortfall.

The key for Philadelphia: It must pay only only Weems’ remaining salary – $629,012. Phoenix already paid the rest. The 76ers also must pay a $1,000 waiver fee to drop Christian Wood and clear a roster spot for Weems.

In simplest terms, Philadelphia is spending $630,012 to erase a $2,630,651 bill. That’s a profit of $2,000,639.

Not bad.

The 76ers did something similar with Thomas Robinson last year. It appeared Joel Anthony – acquired with a second-round pick – would serve a similar role this year, but the Pistons voided the three-way trade involving the Rockets, keeping Philadelphia below the floor.

So, the 76ers were waiting for someone like Weems – whose salary nearly matched their room below the floor – to come on the waiver wire.

Can he help them on the court? That’s the wrong question.

He has already made a multi-million impact where it counts.

Ronnie Price latest Suns’ guard to have surgery, miss time

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The Phoenix Suns have already lost starting point guard Eric Bledsoe for the season. They are hoping his replacement Ronnie Price is not in the same boat.

Price had missed the last two games due to what had been called a sprained big toe. Apparently it was more than that. Price is going to miss some time due to surgery, reports Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports.

Price had been playing 20 minutes a game in his last 10, averaging 6.6 points per game on just 37 percent shooting. The Suns have lost 11 of their last 12.

Expect a lot of Brandon Knight, Devon Booker, Lorenzo Brown, and Sonny Weems. Which is not exactly going to lift the Spurs into the playoffs.

Lowly 76ers beat Suns 111-104 for 2nd win of season

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PHOENIX (AP) — Isaiah Canaan scored 22 points, reserve Nik Stauskas had 17 and the lowly Philadelphia 76ers beat the Phoenix Suns 111-104 on Saturday night for their second victory of the season.

Carl Landry added 16 points as Philadelphia (2-30) snapped a 12-game losing streak with its first win since Dec. 1. The 76ers also stopped a 23-game road slide dating to last season.

Former Suns guard Ish Smith, who was acquired in a trade with New Orleans on Christmas Eve, scored 14 points in a starting role. Nerlens Noel added 14 points and 11 rebounds.

The Suns lost leading scorer Eric Bledsoe to a sprained left knee in the first half. The team said he would go for an MRI.

Brandon Knight led Phoenix with 21 points. Devin Booker scored 19 points, and Jon Leuer had 14 points and nine rebounds. The Suns have lost four in a row and six of seven.

Bledsoe got hurt with 7:40 left in the second quarter and had to be helped to the locker room. He entered Saturday averaging 20.9 points and had four when he left the game.

The Sixers built a 16-point lead in the fourth quarter. The Suns got it down to a six-point deficit twice in the last two minutes, but Philadelphia was able to hang on.

Phoenix rallied in the second quarter after Bledsoe’s injury, getting seven straight points from Booker to cut the Sixers’ lead to 40-36. But the Suns got no closer before halftime despite Booker scoring 11 points in the quarter after not playing in the first.

Booker took Bledsoe’s spot in the starting lineup to open the second half.

The Suns took their first lead since a 2-0 advantage when Knight knocked down a 22-foot jumper to make it 60-58 in the third quarter.

But Philadelphia reclaimed the lead behind Stauskas, who hit two key 3-pointers and a long jumper, the last bucket with 40 seconds left in the third. Kendall Marshall made a 3 with 0.9 seconds to go, giving the Sixers an 85-75 lead going into the fourth quarter.

ALLEY `OOPS’

The Sixers got a lucky basket early in the game when Canaan attempted a lob to Noel that he couldn’t catch in mid-air. The ball went off Noel’s hands and the rim and bounced straight up, dropping into the net for two points.

TIP-INS

Sixers: C Jahlil Okafor, the Sixers’ leading scorer this season, sat out with right knee soreness, replaced in the starting lineup by Jerami Grant. … The Sixers ended a streak of five straight losses to the Suns.

SUNS: F Markieff Morris served the first of his two-game suspension for conduct detrimental to the team. … G Sonny Weems, who hadn’t played since seeing six minutes of action on Dec. 16 at Golden State, had three points and three assists in 17 minutes. … The Suns got another scare 30 seconds into the fourth quarter when Booker turned his left ankle after a shot and was helped to the bench. After a quick examination during a timeout he came back into the game.