76ers

NBA Notes: Cavaliers' front office downplays Kyrie Irving trade talk

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NBA Notes: Cavaliers' front office downplays Kyrie Irving trade talk

INDEPENDENCE, Ohio -- Cavaliers owner Dan Gilbert spent more than 30 minutes presenting a positive portrait of his franchise.

The reality is that the Cavs are troubled.

In his first public comments since Kyrie Irving asked to be traded, Gilbert would not confirm whether he'll honor the All-Star point guard's request, but he also didn't rule out the real possibility that Cleveland may deal its second best player -- or if he thinks LeBron James will stay around beyond next season.

"These things are fluid," Gilbert said. "We think that Kyrie Irving is one of the best guards in the NBA. He was part of a championship, three years straight to the Finals and we value his talent -- significantly."

Despite several direct questions about Irving's status, Gilbert would not provide any specifics about recent conversations with him or his agent. Gilbert said he expected the 25-year-old, whose jumper in Game 7 of the 2016 NBA Finals propelled Cleveland to its first championship since the Browns in 1964, to be at training camp with the team in September.

"Right now Kyrie Irving is under contract with the Cleveland Cavaliers for two or three years, depending on the last year," Gilbert said. "As of now he's one of our best players and sure, we expect him to be in camp" (see full story).

Wizards: Team announced Wall’s $170 million extension
WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards have signed John Wall to a $170 million, four-year contract extension that begins in 2019-20.

Team President Ernie Grunfeld announced the completion of the deal Wednesday. Wall said in a video posted on Twitter on Friday that he had agreed to the extension.

Wall's deal includes a player option for the final season in 2023-24.

Owner Ted Leonsis said extending Wall gives the Wizards stability for years to come. The team also matched a $106.5 million, four-year offer sheet that forward Otto Porter Jr. signed with the Brooklyn Nets and has guard Bradley Beal signed through 2020-21.

Wall, a four-time Eastern Conference All-Star, is the third player this summer to get a designated player "supermax" extension, joining Houston's James Harden and Golden State's Stephen Curry (see full story).

Suns: Williams signs 3-year, $17 million deal
PHOENIX -- The Phoenix Suns have signed big man Alan Williams to a three-year, $17 million contract.

The restricted free agent agreed to the deal earlier this month and the Suns announced he re-signed on Wednesday.

The 24-year-old Williams averaged 7.4 points on 51 percent shooting and 6.2 rebounds in 47 games last season, his second in the NBA.

Williams signed a 10-day contract with the Suns in 2016 and averaged 2.9 points and 3.8 rebounds. He played the 2015-16 season in China after being an undrafted free agent from UC Santa Barbara.

Lakers: Guard Tyler Ennis re-signs
EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers have re-signed guard Tyler Ennis, a late-season addition who played his way into a job.

The Lakers announced the deal Wednesday.

Los Angeles acquired Ennis from the Houston Rockets on Feb. 23 in a trade for Marcelo Huertas. Ennis appeared in 22 games for the Lakers, averaging 7.7 points and 2.4 assists.

The Lakers are the fourth NBA team in three seasons for Ennis, a Syracuse product chosen 18th overall in the 2014 draft by Phoenix.

Ennis is likely to vie for a backup role behind point guard Lonzo Ball, the No. 2 overall pick.

The Lakers met with Derrick Rose, Rajon Rondo and George Hill in their quest for a veteran backup point guard to work with Ball, but all three signed elsewhere.

Former Sixers guard named HOF finalist

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Former Sixers guard named HOF finalist

Former Sixers player and head coach Maurice Cheeks on Saturday was named a finalist for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame.

Other candidates include Grant Hill, Steve Nash, Jason Kidd and former Sixers Chris Webber.

Cheeks, a four-time All-Star point guard and member of the 1982-83 championship team, spent 10 seasons with the Sixers before stints with the San Antonio Spurs, New York Knicks, Atlanta Hawks and New Jersey Nets. He averaged 12.2 points, 7.3 assists and 2.3 steals a night in 853 career games. Cheeks ranks in the top-five in NBA history in both assists (7,392) and steals (2,310). He was also voted to the NBA All-Defensive team five times.

Currently an assistant with the Oklahoma City Thunder, Cheeks was the Sixers head coach from 2005-2008, but was fired after a slow start to the 2008-09 season. He was also the head coach of the Portland Trail Blazers and Detroit Pistons. He has a 305-315 career record and has made the postseason three times in nine seasons.

Sixers show they're ready to take over the world

Sixers show they're ready to take over the world

LOS ANGELES — The Sixers made their mark among the NBA’s top young talent on a global scale.

Joel Embiid (Cameroon), Ben Simmons (Australia) and Dario Saric (Croatia) all started for Team World Friday in the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars game. They helped kick off All-Star weekend with a 155-124 victory over Team USA. 

Simmons recorded a double-double, which is becoming clockwork for the point guard (22 in the regular season, six triple-doubles). He posted 11 points off a perfect 5 for 5 from the field and 1 for 1 from the line. Simmons added 13 assists, six boards and four steals. 

This game was, in a way, a double statement for Simmons. It was an an opportunity to make a case for Rookie of the Year, with fellow contender Donovan Mitchell competing on Team USA. Mitchell notched seven points (3 for 10 from the field, 1 for 6 from three), seven assists, two rebounds, five steals and two blocks.

The Rising Stars contest also was a chance for Simmons to start an early bid for the 2019 All-Star team. He was popular among the fan votes but was not selected as one of four replacements required because of injuries. 

Simmons projects he will be playing in the All-Star Game “hopefully next year.” When it came down to why he was not on this season’s list, Simmons replied, “I think just votes.” 

Saric continued his offensive momentum with 18 points, including 4 for 7 shooting from three. He has scored in double digits in his last 35 games leading into the All-Star break. Saric also grabbed three rebounds and dished five assists. 

“I’ve always got the wish or dream in my life one day to be part of something big like this, even if it’s the Rising Stars game,” Saric said of participating in All-Star weekend. “I think it makes my family proud, my friends from my hometown, or all the people who were around me during my [growth as] a basketball player.”

Embiid logged the least playing time of the Sixers’ trio as he prepares to compete in the Taco Bell Skills Challenge Saturday and start in the All-Star Game Sunday. He missed the Sixers’ last game on Wednesday because of right ankle soreness. Embiid scored five points and two rebounds in less than nine minutes. 

“On Sunday, I expect to go harder,” Embiid said (see story). “I’m going for that MVP. Guys better make sure they find me because I’m looking to have a good game.”

Not listed on the box score: Embiid and Simmons going 2 for 2 as roving reporters. Check out their journalistic skills when they got the mic Friday to interview each other (see video).