UPDATE [8:33 p.m.] — It wasn’t the move most, if any, were expecting, but the Sixers have reportedly agreed on a one-year deal with veteran free agent center Dwight Howard, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.
PhillyVoice’s Kyle Neubeck has confirmed the signing, which is important because earlier on Friday evening, Howard tweeted out that he was re-signing with the Lakers. A few minutes later, Shams tweeted that Howard was keeping his options open and Howard’s original tweet was gone from his timeline. A few hours later, it appears the big man is headed to Philadelphia to back up Joel Embiid.
The deal will reportedly be for the veteran minimum.
The Dwight Howard contract in Philadelphia is for the veteran minimum exception of $2.6M, per league sources.
The cap hit is $1.6M
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) November 21, 2020
You can read more analysis of the move and what Howard brings to Philly right here.
UPDATE [6:26 p.m.] — Well, there goes one potential Sixers target, as free agent Wes Matthews will reportedly sign with the Lakers. Earlier on Friday, Kyle Neubeck identified Matthews as a fit for the Sixers, as he would fill their need for a defense-minded forward.
However, Kyle also noted that landing Matthews would’ve been “a high-end outcome” for the Sixers and that it would be tough to sign him with other contenders (the reigning champs certainly qualify as that) courting Matthews. It turns out that’s exactly what happened.
UPDATE [6:01 p.m.] — It’s 6 p.m. and that means NBA free agency is officially underway. We’ll continue to top off this post with any moves made by the Sixers — really, any moves that will impact the local team — and will also have updates from Kyle Neubeck that we’ll link to when possible.
And if case you’re wondering if there will be a flurry of moves on opening night, the answer is yes. It didn’t even take a full minute for news of the first deal to break on Twitter.
Goran Dragic announces that he’s back with the Miami Heat. Source tells AP it is a two-year deal, the second year is at the Heat option.
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) November 20, 2020
Just three minutes later, Miami made another move.
Meyers Leonard tells The Associated Press that he intends to re-sign with the Eastern Conference champion Miami Heat. Source tells AP it is a two-year deal, the second year being a team option.
— Tim Reynolds (@ByTimReynolds) November 20, 2020
How many moves the Sixers make on Day 1, if any, remains to be seen. In the meantime, all the latest news and rumors from around the league can be found in our live feed at the bottom of the post.
UPDATE [3:05 p.m.] — According to Mike Kaskey-Blomain of CBS Sports, the Sixers expected to show some interest in D.J. Augustin in free agency. Interestingly enough, our own Kyle Neubeck just wrote about him as an option for the Sixers in his NBA free agency primer, which I highly recommend (and that’s not me being biased).
The #sixers are expected to have interest in D.J. Augustin in free agency, I’m told.
— Michael K-B (@therealmikekb) November 20, 2020
Stay tuned for more as teams can begin contacting players at 6 p.m. on Friday.
UPDATE [1:31 p.m.] — While this likely doesn’t directly involve the Sixers, it’s still a big development nonetheless as it could have a trickle-down effect on Philly. According to The Athletic, the Bucks are out on Bogdan Bogdanovic after his lack of desire to play there blew up a pre-draft sign-and-trade between the Milwaukee and Sacramento.
— Sam Amick (@sam_amick) November 20, 2020
Obviously, if Bogdanovic didn’t want to play there after the trade, he’s likely not going to pick that as a destination in free agency, where he is expected to have several suitors and could sign a lucrative contract this offseason. That’s likely why the Sixers wouldn’t be able to sign him — they can’t afford it — but depending on where the 28-year old shooting guard winds up, his addition could force that team to turn its attention away from other options at the position, opening the door for the Sixers to find someone they can afford, perhaps on a mid-level or trade exception.
UPDATE [12:15 p.m.] — According to our own Kyle Neubeck, the Sixers are waving two-way player Marial Shayok, who spent time in both the G-League with the Blue Coats and in the NBA with Philadelphia.
You can check out Kyle’s full story on the decision to move on from Shayok right here.
NBA free agency officially opens on Friday, and that means that the offseason is about to really heat up. So far, two of the biggest trades (Al Horford and Josh Richardson) have belonged to the Sixers as new president of basketball operations Daryl Morey continues to reshape the roster to best fit his and Doc Rivers’ vision of what this team should look like.
When the Sixers jettisoned Horford and his massive contract on draft day, it left a hole in the Sixers roster that they’ll need to fill before the start of the season in just over a month.
They need a backup center. And on Thursday, they reportedly waived their other center Norvel Pelle, making it an even bigger area of need. Not someone to play alongside Joel Embiid at times and bog everything down on offense, but a true backup center who, hopefully, can anchor the second unit and provide the All-Star center with rest and nights off when needed. Could an old friend fit that bill?
According to Keith Pompey of the Inquirer, there’s growing momentum behind the idea of Nerlens Noel, who was acquired by the Sixers in a draft-night trade back in 2013. After missing his first season with a torn ACL, Noel played two and a half seasons in Philly before being traded to the Mavericks at the 2017 deadline. The last two seasons, Noel has been with the Thunder.
Right now, three-time all-star Joel Embiid, and Paul Reed, who was drafted 58th overall in Wednesday’s draft, are the only two centers on the Sixers’ roster. This move could set up the return of former Sixer Nerlens Noel, who is a free agent. …
Now, sources says, there’s a real chance Noel, 26, could reunite with the Sixers. Teams officially will be permitted to contact free agents or their agents at 6 p.m. Friday. Players will be allowed to sign free-agent deals at 12:01 p.m. Monday.
Like Pelle, Noel was a fan favorite in Philly. Noel was also Embiid’s best friend on the team. In addition, he and all-star point guard Ben Simmons are close friends and share the same agency, Klutch Sports Group. New Sixers president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, has also been a fan of his playing style for some time, according to sources. [inquirer.com]
Not only would Noel fit on the floor as a defensive-minded backup behind Embiid, but he would also likely fit in their budget as the team could use their taxpayer mid-level exception (about $5 million) on Noel, who played last season on a $2 million dollar minimum deal. In just over 360 NBA games played, Noel’s averaged 8 points, 6.2 rebounds, 1.3 steals and 1.4 blocks in 22.1 minutes.
Noel’s split with Philadelphia the first time around wasn’t exactly the best. After the team drafted him, they drafted three more big man over the next two years creating an incredibly crowded frontcourt that sometimes left Noel playing far fewer minutes than he expected — or what he deserved, for that matter. But most of the key front office/coaching players from that debacle are gone, and with new faces in there perhaps Noel could be lured back to Philly.
If he’s not, however, their should be other options for the Sixers at backup center. Over at Liberty Ballers, Sean Kennedy took a look at a handful of players who might fit the bill, including Noel, Meyers Leonard, Robin Lopez and, among others, Aaron Baynes. Here’s what he had to say about Baynes:
Baynes made $5.5 million last season in what was a breakout year for him in Phoenix. The center shot 35.1 percent on 4.0 3-point attempts per game, and would instantly become the Sixers’ best screener by a large margin. More than likely, Baynes may have earned himself a pay raise, and the Suns are all-in on finally making it back to the playoffs this season, so they may try to bring back the big man. However, maybe Australian national teammate Ben Simmons could talk Baynes into coming to Philadelphia. [libertyballers.com]
Will the Sixers bring in any of those players to spell Joel Embiid and provide important minutes at backup center? Teams can officially begin contacting free agents at 6 p.m. on Friday night, and deals can begin being signed by Monday afternoon. If you thought the condensed NBA offseason has been busy so far, buckle up. It’s about to hit another gear.
So far, the Sixers’ moves haven’t created too much movement in their 2021 NBA Finals odds, according to TheLines.com, but those moves were less about improving the team than it was about improving their salary cap situation — although you could argue the team did improve too, which is a bit of a bonus. With more moves to come, we’ll have to check back in when the dust settles on this frantic offseason.
While the news and rumors are expected to fly throughout the day and the weekend, we’ll have you covered with all the latest right here in our live tracker.
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