76ers

NBA Notes: Clippers acquire Danilo Gallinari in 3-team trade

NBA Notes: Clippers acquire Danilo Gallinari in 3-team trade

DENVER -- The Los Angeles Clippers acquired sharp-shooting forward Danilo Gallinari from Denver as part of a three-team trade that also involved Atlanta on Thursday.

In the swap, Los Angeles sent Jamal Crawford, Diamond Stone, cash considerations and a protected 2018 first-round pick to the Hawks. The Nuggets receive a 2019 second-round pick from Atlanta.

Gallinari joins a Clippers team that recently traded Chris Paul to Houston, but agreed to a five-year deal with Blake Griffin. They also have DeAndre Jordan in the frontcourt.

The 28-year-old Gallinari was originally selected by New York with the sixth overall pick in 2008. He wound up in Denver as part of the blockbuster deal in February 2011 that sent Carmelo Anthony to the Knicks.

A fan favorite, Gallinari averaged 16.2 points and made 535 3-pointers for the Nuggets. He missed the 2013-14 season as he recovered from a torn left ACL.

"Danilo has been a special player for the Nuggets organization as well as a prominent figure in the Denver community for the last six years," said Tim Connelly, the president of basketball operations for Denver. "He was a consummate professional throughout his time with us and we want to wish him all the best as he begins this new chapter" (see full story).

Mavericks: Nowitzki agrees on 2-year, $10 million deal
DALLAS -- A person with knowledge of the agreement says the Dallas Mavericks and Dirk Nowitzki have agreed on a two-year, $10 million deal that assures a 20th season for the star forward.

The second year of the contract carries a team option, the person told The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the team hasn't announced the deal. The 39-year-old Nowitzki is set to join Kobe Bryant of the Los Angeles Lakers as the only players to spend 20 seasons with one franchise.

The deal is similar to the one the Mavs and Nowitzki reached last year, although for significantly less money. Last year's contract was for two years and $50 million, and the club declined the option before free agency opened this year (see full story).

Knicks: Hardaway Jr. inks $71 million offer sheet
NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks are trying to bring back Tim Hardaway Jr.

The Knicks signed the guard to a four-year, $71 million offer sheet Thursday, agent Mark Bartelstein said.

Hardaway is a restricted free agent, so the Atlanta Hawks will have two days to match the offer.

The deal was first reported by ESPN.

Hardaway was a first-round pick of the Knicks who spent two seasons in New York before they traded him to Atlanta for the rights to point guard Jerian Grant. The Knicks later dealt Grant to Chicago in a trade for Derrick Rose.

Hardaway struggled early in Atlanta but played well last season, averaging 14.5 points.

Pacers: Team says George deal was best for future
INDIANAPOLIS -- Kevin Pritchard struggled to make the deal.

Eventually, he figured dealing Paul George was the best way to protect the Indiana Pacers.

On Thursday, Pritchard finally made the blockbuster trade official by announcing the four-time All-Star was heading to Oklahoma City in exchange for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis.

"It was difficult both on a personal and professional level," Pritchard said in a statement issued by the team. "Everyone here knows what Paul meant to this franchise; he was both a tremendous human being as well as player here for seven years. We thank Paul and his family for their contributions to the Pacers and wish him well."

George essentially forced the move when word leaked that he intended to leave the team as a free agent next summer just before the NBA draft.

That disclosure put the Pacers in a bind: Build around George for one final run at an NBA title, lose their star player and get nothing in return or shop George for the best deal they could find with his public plans hurting his trade value. Pritchard called the news a "gut punch" during last month's draft. He hasn't spoken to reporters since then, but under NBA rules the deal could be announced Thursday.

"We feel very strongly about the potential Victor and Domantas bring to our team and what they mean for the future of the franchise," Pritchard said. "Both are highly competitive, highly skilled and both are winners. That is why both were lottery picks. That is why we sought them out to be part of this deal" (see full story).

Grizzlies: Team to retire Randolph’s No. 50
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Grizzlies are planning to retire the No. 50 jersey worn by Zach Randolph, who is leaving the team after eight seasons to sign with the Sacramento Kings.

In a tweet on the Grizzlies' official account , majority owner Robert Pera says that No. 50 "will never be worn by another member of the Memphis Grizzlies." Pera also thanks Randolph for helping "turn a lottery team into a perennial playoff contender" and helping "make a basketball team a model of community service."

Randolph, a free agent, is joining former Grizzlies coach Dave Joerger at Sacramento. He agreed to a two-year, $24 million deal.

Randolph, who helped Memphis earn seven straight playoff appearances , will become the first player to have his number retired by the Grizzlies.

Joel Embiid thinks his minutes restriction is 'f---ing BS'

Joel Embiid thinks his minutes restriction is 'f---ing BS'

CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid is letting it be known he is unhappy about his minute restrictions to start the season.

"That's f---ing BS," he said after practice Tuesday. "I wish I was playing more minutes. I think I'm ready for more than I don't know whatever number they have."

The Sixers are eyeing 16 minutes for Embiid on opening night on Wednesday. He played nearly 15 minutes in his two preseason games and feels he can handle more, adding his previously-injured left knee and ankle "felt great." 

He has expressed his feelings to the team. 

"I always think I have a voice so I'm sure they're listening to what I have to say too," he said. "But they're making a decision based on what they think. But I think that's BS."

Embiid's desire to play more minutes likely will be an ongoing situation this season, or at least early on. He expected to be cleared for 24 minutes at this point. (In comparison, he logged 22:25 last opening night.) Embiid feels the best way to get his body in game shape is to actually be in the game, not training on a cardio machine. 

"I think the concept of minute restrictions is kind of complicated," Embiid said. "I don't think there should ever be minute restrictions. I think it should always be about how my body feels and how it's reacting." 

The Sixers, however, are continuing to proceed with caution with the injury-prone big man. After missing his first two years because of his foot, he underwent season-ending knee surgery in March. Embiid also sprained his left ankle in the preseason finale. He has not played in a regular-season game since Jan. 27. 

Add that to the fact Embiid is a centerpiece of their future after inking him to a five-year, $146.5 contract extension last week.

"They know that I'm frustrated, but once again you've got to trust the doctors," Embiid said. "They care about me. It's all about the long-term view." 

The coaching staff is faced with the tricky task of managing Embiid's allotted minutes over a 48-minute span. Brett Brown is considering using up his playing time in the first half instead of spacing it out to have him available in the fourth quarter. 

Embiid estimates if he started the third, as an example, he would be resting for 16 minutes before he got the nod late in the final quarter. He said that is "tough" on both his body and on the coaches. Brown agrees after trying to balance his playing time last season. 

"You think it's smart to save four minutes to end a game with him, but the canyons in between where he just sits there and sits there and then he's got to come in and save the day, I don't know if I like that," Brett Brown said. 

"It's on my mind, do we just spend our money and we'll get you more money the next game and so on, and just play him regularly and grow it from that base versus he sits forever and then he's just got to come in and save the day. Or oops, it goes to overtime and, 'Sorry, you can't play against Memphis in overtime.'"

The Sixers will have to balance the medical staff's minute guidelines with Embiid's intense desire to be on the court and the team's record. They are looking to make a significant push in the win column, and Embiid is the driving force behind that jump.

"I think this is a big year for the whole team and me personally," Embiid said. "I feel like I've got something to prove, too. So I want to be out there with my teammates and win some games."

If it were Embiid's call, he would play until he didn't feel like he could anymore. It's not up to him, though. And so there's just one thing left for him to do.

"Like I always say," he said, "you've got to trust the process."

Banged-up Markelle Fultz is latest chapter in Sixers' painful rookie history

Banged-up Markelle Fultz is latest chapter in Sixers' painful rookie history

CAMDEN, N.J. — Brett Brown has been here before. The scenario isn’t as drastic as in the past, but it’s familiar nonetheless: starting the season with an injured rookie for the fifth straight year.

Markelle Fultz will begin his first NBA season dealing with ongoing right shoulder and right knee soreness. The No. 1 pick is expected to play on opening night Wednesday, but will come off the bench after appearing in only two preseason games. 

Brown has learned to manage this type of situation after years of experience. Nerlens Noel missed Brown’s entire first season because of an ACL injury. Joel Embiid sat out the following two seasons with foot injuries. Ben Simmons suffered a season-ending foot fracture in last year’s training camp. 

The biggest lesson? 

“To go slow,” Brown said. “To not put them in a position where it’s going to produce some difficult times.” 

Fultz was likely to be a starter when the Sixers traded up to draft him first overall in June. The 19-year-old guard hasn’t had that much experience since then thanks to injuries in both summer league and preseason. 

The Sixers face John Wall, Kyrie Irving and Kyle Lowry in the first three games alone. That would be a tall defensive task if Fultz were to start. 

“This league is driven by men, this league is driven by veterans,” Brown said. “To just put him in that environment is just, I think, poor coaching and I’m not doing it.”

Just as Simmons took advice from Embiid during his injury, he is offering words of wisdom to Fultz.

“[You’ve] got to to take your time and you definitely have to take care of your body,” Simmons said. “Put your body first. There’s no need to rush.”

The Sixers have the backcourt depth to adjust without Fultz in the starting lineup. They have been turning to veteran Jerryd Bayless at shooting guard alongside Simmons, their intended backcourt pairing last season. 

In the meantime, Brown will balance Fultz’s health, his growth as an NBA player, and the team’s success. 

“The end game needs to be developing Markelle Fultz," Brown said.