Tobias Harris

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Report: Roy Hibbert joins Sixers as player development coach

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The Philadelphia 76ers have one of the best young defensive big men in the NBA in Joel Embiid. The team also now has Al Horford, who should be able to teach Embiid some tricks. Horford, conveniently, also won’t be annoying the Sixers star as an opponent.

And so Philadelphia has decided to run back its core with Embiid, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris. They let Jimmy Butler head to the Miami Heat, and it appears that the plan from here on out is to center things on Embiid and Simmons.

To that end, the 76ers have decided to hire 2-time all-star and former defensive stalwart Roy Hibbert.

Via Twitter:

Hibbert was one of the most dominant big men of the past decade. Playing for the Indiana Pacers, Hibbert was widely credited with popularizing verticality in the modern era.

He soon fell out of favor, and was traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in 2015. He played for the Charlotte Hornets and the Denver Nuggets before ending his run in the NBA in 2017.

Embiid is already one of the best defensive big men out there, but having Hibbert to bang around with and pick up some words of wisdom can’t hurt. Hibbert is still just 32 years old, and he should be able to communicate well with the 25-year-old Embiid.

Kevin Love ‘expected’ to withdraw from Team USA World Cup training camp

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Add another one to the list of players who have dropped out of USA Basketball. So far, that list is

Anthony Davis (Los Angeles Lakers)
James Harden (Houston Rockets)
Damian Lillard (Portland Trail Blazers)
CJ McCollum (Portland Trail Blazers)
Bradley Beal (Washington Wizards)
Eric Gordon (Houston Rockets)
Tobias Harris (Philadelphia 76ers)

Now Kevin Love is expected to join the list, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic. The good news is Kyle Lowry wants to play.

Love’s floor spacing skills, rebounding, and outlet passes fit well in the international game. Love won gold with Team USA at the London Olympics.

The motivations behind all the defections are, in general, a combination of three things. First, the NBA title chase feels wide open this season with as many as eight teams thinking they have a legit shot at it, and the majority of those dropping out are on those teams. The players are prioritizing club over country. Secondly, FIBA moved the World Cup from 2018 to 2019, meaning if a player is eyeing the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo they would be taking part in two straight summers of USA Basketball — likely after long playoff runs — to do both. Players are choosing to take the World Cup off. Third, this World Cup starts late, running Aug. 31 to Sept. 15, and runs right up against the start of training camps.

Even with all the withdrawals, the USA team is loaded with enough talent to three-peat as gold medalists at the event. Kemba Walker, Kyle Lowry, Donovan Mitchell, Marcus Smart, Khris Middleton, Jayson Tatum, Kyle Kuzma, Harrison Barnes, Aaron Gordon, Thaddeus Young, P.J. Tucker, Julius Randle, Paul Millsap, Andre Drummond, Brook Lopez, and Myles Turner are among those invited.

Marcus Smart, Thaddeus Young reportedly added to USA Basketball training camp roster

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Elite NBA players have not dropped out of playing for Team USA like this since 2004, when nobody wanted to play for Larry Brown and rumors of potential terrorism in Athens had the NBA’s best backing out.

For the 2019 World Cup in China, USA Basketball has watched James Harden, Anthony Davis, Tobias Harris, Bradley Beal, Eric Gordon, and CJ McCollum all back out, robbing the American team of a lot of star power. Zion Williamson, who was projected to be part of the “select team” of young stars Team USA goes against also dropped out.

The Americans were down to 14 players heading into training camp (12 will be chosen to travel to China), and they needed more players. Enter Boston’s Marcus Smart and Thaddeus Young, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Don’t be surprised if another veteran name or two is added before training camp opens.

Smart and Young are a couple of smart selections, elite defenders who can shut down the best wing players on other teams (and in FIBA competition only a couple of teams have more than one top-flight wing player to handle).

So who is on the USA roster now? Let’s break it out by position:

GUARDS:
Damian Lillard
Kemba Walker
Kyle Lowry (questionable coming off thumb surgery)
Marcus Smart

WINGS:
Khris Middleton
Donovan Mitchell
Jayson Tatum
Harrison Barnes
Kyle Kuzma
Thaddeus Young

BIGS:
Andre Drummond
Myles Turner
Brook Lopez
Kevin Love
PJ Tucker
Paul Millsap

(We could argue about whether Mitchell is a guard or a wing, or other guys positions, but you get the basic picture.)

After Lillard, that roster does lack star power.

But the USA talent pool is so deep that it will overwhelm all but a couple of teams in the tournament. Serbia — led by Nikola Jokic and Bogan Bogdanovic — is the biggest threat to the USA and has good depth. Spain is impressive as well, but older.

The USA is and should be the World Cup favorite, but an improved rest of the world and a depleted USA roster is going to make things a lot more interesting in China.

USA Basketball is scheduled to begin its pre-World Cup camp in Las Vegas Aug. 5, with an intrasquad exhibition game at the T-Mobile Arena on Aug. 9. Then the team heads to Southern California for more training followed by an exhibition against Spain on Aug. 16 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Then the team heads overseas for the World Cup, which begins in China on Aug. 31.

C.J. McCollum, Eric Gordon both withdraw from USA Basketball for World Cup

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First Anthony Davis. Then James Harden.

Now add C.J. McCollum and Eric Gordon to the list, as reported by Shams Charania of The Athletic and Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports.

Don’t be surprised if a couple of new players are added to the USA roster for training camp.

The loss of those four stars strips the Team USA of some international experience. As pointed out by John Schuhmann of NBA.com, now only four members invited to USA camp have played in the World Cup or Olympics: Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Kevin Love, and Kyle Lowry — and Lowry just had thumb surgery and is questionable for the playing in China.

USA Basketball can still roll out this starting five:

Damian Lillard
Bradley Beal
Khris Middleton
Tobias Harris
Andre Drummond

Then off the bench have Kemba Walker, Donovan Mitchell, Kyle Lowry, Jayson Tatum, P.J. Tucker, Kevin Love, Brook Lopez.

That’s still enough talent, coached by Gregg Popovich, to win the World Cup. The USA remains the heavy favorites for a reason.

USA Basketball is scheduled to begin its pre-World Cup camp in Las Vegas Aug. 5, with an intrasquad exhibition game at the T-Mobile Arena on Aug. 9. Then the team heads to Southern California for more training followed by an exhibition against Spain on Aug. 16 at the Honda Center in Anaheim, Calif. Then the team heads overseas for the World Cup, which begins in China on Aug. 31.

Report: 76ers signing Ben Simmons to five-year, $170M max contract extension

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The 76ers owe big money to their top players – Tobias Harris (five years, $180 million), Joel Embiid (four years, $122,242,800), Al Horford (four years, $109 million).

Now, Philadelphia will invest even further into locking in a core with Ben Simmons.

Shams Charania of The Athletic:

If this is a true max contract, the exact amount won’t be known until the salary cap is set next year. The $170 million is based on the current projection.

The big question: What stipulations does this contract include for super-max qualification? If Simmons makes an All-NBA team this season, the extension could be worth more, as negotiated between him and Philadelphia. The super-max projects to be about $204 million.

If the 76ers would have let him hit restricted free agency next summer, Simmons would have drawn his choice of max offer sheets. He’s so young and talented.

But by guaranteeing him life-changing money now, Philadelphia had leverage to haggle on things like super-max criteria and a player option. We’ll see whether the team pushed on those.

There are still questions about Simmons’ fit with Embiid, the 76ers’ franchise player. Really, until he develops his jumper, Simmons will face fit issues with nearly anyone. There’s downside risk here.

Still, Simmons should hold positive trade value on this deal. There’s a benefit to securing him long-term.

Philadelphia’s roster becomes quite expensive for years to come. Will ownership pay the luxury tax in future years? Or will the 76ers trim costs down the roster?

Those questions can mostly wait, as Simmons remains on his relatively cheap rookie-scale contract this season. The extension will kick in next year.

But this is a huge long-term move that will shape Philadelphia for a long time.