76ers

NBA Notes: Knicks-Rockets still talking Carmelo Anthony trade, but no deal imminent

NBA Notes: Knicks-Rockets still talking Carmelo Anthony trade, but no deal imminent

NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks and Houston Rockets are still trying to work out a deal involving Carmelo Anthony, though it may take some time -- if it happens.

The teams continue to talk about a trade but no deal is imminent, said a person familiar with the situation. The person said Anthony has told the Knicks he would accept a move to the Rockets but the teams are still trying to find a trade that works for both sides. The person spoke to The Associated Press Thursday on condition of anonymity because the talks between the teams remain private.

Anthony has a no-trade clause and would have to agree to any deal. He has told the Knicks he would waive it to go to Houston or Cleveland.

The Knicks have been trying to trade the All-Star forward but finding a deal is difficult. Anthony is 33 and still has two years and $54 million remaining on his contract, and teams have been hesitant to engage New York on talks knowing Anthony could block a deal.

He had long maintained he wanted to remain in New York, but Houston became attractive to him after acquiring his close friend Chris Paul from the Clippers in a trade. The Rockets are scheduled to introduce Paul at a press conference Friday (see full story).

Nuggets: Team officially announces Millsap signing
DENVER -- The Denver Nuggets announced the signing of four-time All-Star Paul Millsap.

A highly coveted free agent, the former Atlanta forward agreed to a three-year deal worth $90 million. He will hold a news conference Thursday in a suburb of Denver where he spent a dozen years as a kid before returning to Louisiana for high school and college.

The 32-year-old Millsap gives the youthful Nuggets a proven veteran to pair with budding star Nikola Jokic. Millsap averaged a career-high 18.1 points last season with 7.7 rebounds and 3.7 assists.

Denver (40-42) improved by seven games this year but still missed the playoffs for a fourth straight season. Millsap's presence helps the Nuggets remain in the playoff conversation even in the ultra-competitive Western Conference.

Wizards: Team matches Nets’ offer sheet for Porter
WASHINGTON -- The Washington Wizards have matched the Brooklyn Nets' $106 million, four-year offer sheet to keep forward Otto Porter.

General manager Ernie Grunfeld announced the move Thursday. Under NBA rules, the Wizards had two days to match Brooklyn's offer sheet for the 24-year-old restricted free agent.

Porter becomes Washington's highest-paid player for the time being, ahead of guards Bradley Beal and John Wall. He set career highs with 13.4 points, 6.4 rebounds, 1.5 steals and shooting and 3-point percentages of .516 and .434 last season, his fourth as a professional.

The Wizards drafted Porter third overall in 2013 out of Georgetown. Grunfeld said Porter, who has averaged 9.3 points a game in his career, has developed into a vital part of the team's young core (see full story).

Jazz: 3 free agents added, Diaw released
SALT LAKE CITY -- A person with direct knowledge of the deals says the Utah Jazz have reached agreements to sign free agents Thabo Sefolosha, Jonas Jerebko and Ekpe Udoh. The Jazz also released Boris Diaw, whose 2017-18 salary would have been guaranteed Saturday.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday because the moves had not been officially announced.

Sefolosha heads to Utah after three seasons with the Atlanta Hawks. The 2006 No. 13 overall pick averaged 7.2 points, 4.4 rebounds and shot 34.2 percent from 3-point range last season.

Jerebko spent the last two seasons with the Celtics and averaged 3.8 points and 3.5 rebounds last year.

Udoh spent the last two seasons in Turkey, where he won a Euroleague championship with Fenerbahce. Udoh was the No. 6 overall NBA pick in 2010.

Sixers refuse to look at silver lining from season-opening loss

Sixers refuse to look at silver lining from season-opening loss

BOX SCORE

WASHINGTON — In years past, overcoming a 12-point deficit and trailing a playoff-contending team by just two points with a minute to go would be considered an “A for effort” for the Sixers

If they held their own against a more experienced team and didn’t get dominated by John Wall, a 120-115 loss on the road wasn’t really that bad … was it?

Not this season.

The Sixers are in a new phase, one with actual pieces versus promising potential. With that comes higher expectations to win, and it starts in the locker room after the first game. 

“I don’t like taking positives from losses,” JJ Redick said. “We need to clean up a lot of stuff. We need to be better. It takes a lot to win in this league. We need to figure that out, and we will. We are good enough to do that.” 

The Sixers were in Wednesday's game until the end (see observations). They withstood the combined 53 points from Wall and Bradley Beal with a 29-point performance by Robert Covington and double-doubles from Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons (see studs, duds, more).

The team acknowledged it had a chance to win. Yes, there were encouraging moments. No, they weren’t hanging their heads and writing off the season after opening night. 

At the same time, they are not ignoring the missteps that landed them in the loss column. Those are the turning points to learn from this season. 

The Sixers gave up just three points off four turnovers in the first half. The second half was a different story: 20 points off 13 turnovers. Down two points late in the fourth, the Sixers committed a pair of turnovers in a span of 30 seconds that hindered them from closing the gap. Those errors have been a focal point of conversation among the players. 

“Too many turnovers. That's big,” Embiid said (more on him here). “That's been the talk in the locker room. Got to work on that.”

The Sixers have one day of practice before facing the Celtics and Raptors in back-to-back games. It's just a small taste of what's to come in a stacked schedule over the first two months of the season. The attitude is be good enough to win, not good enough to compete. 

“We’re not going to try to lose this season and take a bunch of positives from that,” Redick said. “We’re trying to win. We’re trying to be in the playoffs this year. That’s got to be the mindset.”

Joel Embiid 'surprised' by amount of playing time in Sixers' opener

Joel Embiid 'surprised' by amount of playing time in Sixers' opener

WASHINGTON — In the end, Joel Embiid’s playing time was a non-issue.

After days of frustration leading up to opening night, Embiid played just three seconds shy of 27 minutes against the Wizards. That far surpassed the 16 minutes he anticipated a day earlier on Tuesday (see story)

“I was surprised,” Embiid said following the Sixers’ 120-115 loss on Wednesday night (see observations). “I was expecting way less than that, but it just shows you they trust me.”

Brett Brown had maintained Embiid’s minutes were going to be more flexible than last year and he wasn’t locked into a specific number by the medical staff. Initially, Brown projected Embiid would play somewhere in the teens, but the game presented an opportunity for him to log more. 

Embiid had played 21:38 through three quarters and it seemed, based on last season, he was done for the night. The coaching staff calculated Embiid had over 20 minutes to rest between the third and the fourth quarters, so Brown put him back into the game with just over five minutes to play. He finished the game with 18 points, 13 rebounds, three assists, a block and four turnovers (see highlights).

“It’s a range,” Brown said. “It’s more of a plan that we have this year than a restriction. When you look at and you feel the flow of the game, that’s where the variables come in.”

Embiid wants open lines of communication between him and the medical staff — for him to know what its planning and for him to be honest about how he is feeling.

“It’s on me to not lie to them and tell them how my body feels when I’m tired,” Embiid said. “At some point through the game I was tired and I told them to take me out.”

Embiid is ready for a new outlook on his availability moving forward. 

“We’ve got to stop calling it 'minutes restrictions,'" Embiid said. "There’s a plan with that — it’s just go out and play. If you’re tired, get out because injuries happen more often when you’re tired.”