76ers

NBA Notes: Isaiah Thomas says being traded by Celtics 'still hurts'

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NBA Notes: Isaiah Thomas says being traded by Celtics 'still hurts'

BOSTON -- Isaiah Thomas' two sons had different reactions to his trade from the Celtics to the Cavaliers.

His older son, James, is excited that his dad will get to play alongside LeBron James. Thomas' younger son, Jaiden, had fallen in love with Boston and was afraid that Cleveland won't have any skate parks.

Thomas said in a 3,500-word post on The Players Tribune that he himself was also of two minds about the deal that sent him to the Cavaliers, along with two other players and a first-round draft pick, for fellow All-Star point guard Kyrie Irving.

He says hearing about the trade in a call from Celtics boss Danny Ainge "still hurts." But he's also excited about playing with James, a four-time MVP, and Kevin Love, a former AAU teammate . Thomas says he won't have to worry about being double- or triple-teamed any more.

Says Thomas: "You are not going to want to mess with the Cavs this year" (see full story).

Pacers: Owner denies report about possibly suing Lakers
INDIANAPOLIS -- Indiana Pacers owner Herb Simon is denying a report that the team might sue the Los Angeles Lakers for tampering with Paul George.

The NBA fined the Lakers $500,000 last week for violating league rules and there was a report that the Pacers were considering legal action, too.

In a statement issued Wednesday, Simon said the Pacers agreed with the league's decision and that the team simply wanted to move on.

Indiana traded George to Oklahoma City for Victor Oladipo and Domantas Sabonis after George's camp let it be known that the four-time All-Star intended to sign as a free agent with the Lakers in July 2018.

Simon acknowledged those sentiments put Indiana "in a tough position" but the Pacers acquired two good players.

Hawks: Team signs 3 players to contracts
ATLANTA -- The Atlanta Hawks have signed guards Quinn Cook and Josh Maggette and forward Tyler Cavanaugh.

Cook, from Duke, played five games with Dallas and nine games with New Orleans as a rookie last season. He averaged 5.6 points and 1.9 assists.

Cook is a two-time All-Star in the NBA G League. He was the 2016 G League Rookie of the Year.

Magette signed a two-way contract that will allow him to primarily play for the team's NBA G League affiliate, the Erie BayHawks, while also spending up to 45 days with Atlanta.

Magette spent time during the 2016 preseason with the Hawks and was part of the team's summer league roster this year.

Cavanaugh also played for Atlanta's summer league team this season.

Cavaliers: Plans for $140M arena makeover renewed
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers are reviving a $140 million renovation of Quicken Loans Arena just over a week after the project was scrapped.

The team announced Wednesday it'll also extend its lease at the facility for seven extra years, until 2034.

The Cavaliers, who won the 2016 NBA title, hoped to upgrade the 22-year-old downtown arena with more dining spaces and a glass exterior but had faced opposition from community groups objecting to the use of taxpayer money.

The Cavaliers canceled the renovation on Aug. 28 after a referendum petition submitted by the Greater Cleveland Congregations, a religious coalition, gained more than 13,000 valid signatures and threatened to delay the project.

But the coalition withdrew the petition after county officials cut a deal and promised to look into constructing two mental health and substance abuse clinics, allowing renovation plans to move forward again. The Cavaliers will fund half the project as previously planned, while the other half will come from public funding.

Other groups opposed to the project say they weren't consulted before the petition was withdrawn.

"This isn't what the majority of Cleveland citizens wanted," said Steve Holecko, of the Cuyahoga County Progressive Caucus, which has been leading the fight to stop the renovation. "This is corporate welfare at its worst" (see full story).

With Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons set to debut, John Wall and Bradley Beal recall their early days

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With Markelle Fultz and Ben Simmons set to debut, John Wall and Bradley Beal recall their early days

The Sixers will have two No. 1 overall picks make their NBA debuts on Wednesday night in Markelle Fultz (2017) and Ben Simmons (2016). They are in for a challenge with the Wizards, one of the best teams in basketball, and with guards John Wall and Bradley Beal.

Wall and Beal know that challenge well. They were both top draft picks in their own right, Wall the first pick in 2010 and Beal the third pick in 2012. They can recall in specifics their first games in the NBA and how humbling they were.

"My first game, I was going against Dwight Howard. It was fun," Wall said. "There was a lot of pressure. There were a lot of people talking."

It's often said that the point guard position is as deep as it's ever been nowadays. The last three MVP awards have gone to point guards, for instance.

There were some good ones back in 2010, too.

"I remember in a five-game span I played like [Rajon] Rondo, Derrick Rose here and then I went out west and played Steve Nash, Chris Paul and Russell [Westbrook]," Wall said. "I don't think it's gotten any harder than it was back then in 2010 with those five guys. You kind of understand what those guys are about when you get to see it firsthand and play against them."

Beal vividly remembers going up against the LeBron James-led Miami Heat as a 19-year-old. It wasn't easy.

"It was the Heat when they had [Dwyane Wade] and LeBron on the same team. That's when D-Wade was electrifying. He still had his quickness. He was strong as I don't know what and I was a baby at that time," he said.

"For me, it was like I was in awe because those are the guys I grew up watching and I was a fan of. Now I'm playing against them and I can't be a fan of them. It was amazing to play against them, but also an eye-opener like, I need to get better."

Now it's Fultz and Simmons' turn to see what matching up with NBA superstars is like and don't expect Wall or Beal to take it easy on them.

"I'm a competitive person, so I'm not going to back down from any challenge," Wall said.

Joel Embiid to start Sixers' season opener, but how much will he play?

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Joel Embiid to start Sixers' season opener, but how much will he play?

WASHINGTON — The first starting lineup of the Sixers' 2017-18 season will be Ben Simmons, Jerryd Bayless, JJ Redick, Robert Covington and Joel Embiid.

Brown is sticking with the group that closed out preseason competition. That group has a balance of veterans and young talent, including Simmons making his NBA debut after missing all of last season with a foot injury.

"It helps a lot (starting together in the preseason) because you're learning guys and how they move and how they play," Simmons said. "I think we have a pretty good connection going into tonight's game and it's only going to get better."

Embiid will be under a minutes restriction but Brown does not have a definitive number. The big man previously said he expected to play 16 minutes. Embiid was the last one to leave the court at the conclusion of shootaround. 

"There's a range that we'll work with," Brown said. "We're going to feel it together. We'll play Joel within some parameters and go from that base." 

Markelle Fultz also will make his NBA debut. The No. 1 pick, who has battled right knee and shoulder soreness, will come off the bench in front of his hometown crowd. 

"I'm excited," Fultz said. "It's anything you can wish for."