76ers

NBA Notes: Nick Young to remain out west, join reigning champs Golden State

NBA Notes: Nick Young to remain out west, join reigning champs Golden State

OAKLAND, Calif. -- Veteran guard Nick Young is getting a new start with Golden State, agreeing to a $5.2 million, one-year contract Wednesday with the champion Warriors.

Young's agent, Mark Bartelstein, confirmed the deal in a message to The Associated Press. Warriors general manager Bob Myers also said the team would finalize a contract with Young once the free agency moratorium period concludes Thursday.

In addition, forward Omri Casspi is joining the Warriors on a $2,106,470, one-year contract, a person with direct knowledge of the deal said Wednesday, speaking on condition of anonymity because it hadn't been announced. This will be the 29-year-old Casspi's sixth team as he enters his ninth NBA season, including two separate stints in Northern California with the Sacramento Kings. He played for Sacramento, New Orleans and Minnesota last season, averaging 5.2 points and 3.1 rebounds in 17.9 minutes.

Golden State's familiar-looking roster is taking shape. Two-time MVP Stephen Curry is back on a record $201 million, five-year contract; NBA Finals MVP Kevin Durant agreed Monday to a deal for approximately $53 million over the next two years; 2015 Finals MVP Andre Iguodala got a three-year contract with $48 million guaranteed; fellow key reserves Shaun Livingston for $24 million and three years, and David West on a one-year deal for the veteran minimum $2.3 million.

The 32-year-old Young last month declined the player option in his contract for next season with the Los Angeles Lakers, which would have paid him more than $5.6 million, and became a free agent. He had said in April that it was "60/40" he would leave the Lakers -- preferring to be part of a playoff team (see full story).

Heat: Waiters agrees on new deal to stay with team
MIAMI -- A person with knowledge of the situation says Dion Waiters is staying in Miami and has agreed on a new four-year, $52 million contract with the Heat.

The person spoke to The Associated Press Wednesday on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot be finalized before Thursday, under league rules.

Waiters averaged 15.8 points in 46 games last season for the Heat. He was a significant part of how Miami turned its season around after an 11-30 start, going 30-11 in the second half.

The Heat were 27-19 when Waiters played, 14-22 when he did not.

Waiters missed Miami's last 13 games with a badly sprained ankle, and the Heat wound up losing a tiebreaker for the final Eastern Conference playoff spot. He played for $2.9 million last season.

Nets: Porter agrees to sign offer sheet, which Wizards can match
NEW YORK -- Following his best NBA season, Otto Porter Jr. has a big offer to join the Brooklyn Nets. It appears he'll be staying right where he is in Washington.

Porter has agreed to sign an offer sheet with the Nets, a person with knowledge of the details told The Associated Press on Wednesday. The Wizards plan to match the offer and keep Porter, according to the person who spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because contracts can't be signed until Thursday.

The Vertical first reported that Porter had agreed to sign a four-year, $106 million offer sheet with the Nets. Under NBA rules, the Wizards would then have two days to match the offer since Porter is a restricted free agent.

Porter finished fourth in voting for Most Improved Player last season after averaging 13.4 points and shooting 43.4 percent from 3-point range, fourth-best in the league. The No. 3 pick in the 2013 draft from Georgetown was one of the keys to a Washington team that reached the second round of the playoffs.

The Nets tried the restricted offer route twice last summer and fell short both times. Portland matched the Nets' offer to Allen Crabbe and Miami did the same with Tyler Johnson (see full story).

Knicks: 1st-round pick Ntilikina signs rookie contract
NEW YORK -- The New York Knicks have signed first-round draft pick Frank Ntilikina.

The Knicks announced the deal Thursday with the No. 8 overall selection.

The 6-foot-5 French guard is playing for New York's summer league team in Orlando, Florida.

Born in Belgium, the 18-year-old Ntilikina averaged 5.1 points, 2.1 rebounds, 1.4 assists and 18.5 minutes in 31 games last season for Strasbourg in the French Pro A league.

Joel Embiid disappointed Brett Brown has him on another minutes limit

Joel Embiid disappointed Brett Brown has him on another minutes limit

CAMDEN, N.J. — Joel Embiid would like to play 48 minutes every game. The Sixers are looking at a maximum of 20 for opening night.

"I don't really know if there's a solid number," Brett Brown said Monday after practice. "I can tell if you were to choose a number, it's somewhere in the teens."

Embiid was hoping for more playing time on Wednesday against the Wizards, his first regular-season game since Jan. 27 (left knee surgery).

"I didn't know about that, but that's very disappointing," Embiid said Monday of the minutes restriction. "I feel great and hopefully that changes based on today's practice and tomorrow's practice."

The Sixers are being cautious with Embiid, who has both a lengthy history of injuries and a massive new contract extension. He clocked 15 minutes in both of his preseason games last week. Embiid felt he could have played twice as many minutes.

While the Sixers aren't ready to go as high as 30 minutes yet, they could exercise some wiggle room based on the flow of the game.

"There will be some minutes restrictions, but it's also a judgment of how is the game being played, not just looking at rote, rigid number," Brown said.

The NBA's new timeout rules could impact Embiid's playing time. The updated format changes include a decrease in the maximum number of timeouts allowed (18 to 14), 75-second team timeouts and fewer timeouts in the final minutes of the game. 

"One of the things that we're doing this year unlike previous years is there's a little bit of a looseness in relation to it doesn't have to be rigid if the game didn't dictate some track meet," Brown said. "This is like I'm coaching in the London Olympic Games again. The game moves. I can have guys at a scorers table for two minutes with no stoppage. So sometimes the torrid pace of a game doesn't favor Jo where you go flying up and down."

In addition to individual games, it remains to be seen if Embiid will be cleared this season for back-to-backs. The Sixers face their first set of consecutive games this Friday and Saturday against the Celtics at home and the Raptors in Toronto.

Markelle Fultz likely to start season on bench for Sixers

Markelle Fultz likely to start season on bench for Sixers

CAMDEN, N.J. — Brett Brown likely will bring Markelle Fultz in off the bench to start the season. 

The No. 1 pick missed the majority of the preseason because of soreness in his right knee and right shoulder. Fultz played a total of 47 minutes over just two games. He practiced Sunday.

When asked if Fultz will start, Brown said “I don’t believe so” and noted the lack of in-game experience. The Sixers face the Wizards’ dangerous backcourt of John Wall and Bradley Beal in the regular season opener Wednesday. 

“He hasn’t played much basketball in preseason,” Brown said Sunday. “He’s been out for a while. He hasn’t been with our group. I think the decision like, do you put him into the fire right away and have him play against starting NBA defensive players, especially with the little foundation that he has? I don’t think that’s smart.”

Fultz, last season’s Pac-12 leading scorer, struggled offensively in the preseason games in which he did play. He shot 2 for 13 from the field (0 for 3 from three) and scored four points in the opener against the Grizzlies. Facing the Celtics, he scored 12 points off of 5 for 11 shooting from the field (no three-point attempts).

“At the end of the day, I want to do whatever I’ve got to do to help my team win,” Fultz said. “So if that’s coming off the bench, I’m fine with that. Just contribute any ways I can.”

All the while, the change in his shot form has been in the spotlight. He missed the second preseason game against the Celtics because of shoulder soreness. He previously described the injury as ongoing and did not point to a specific moment of injury (see story). Fultz was sidelined for the final two preseason games with right knee soreness.

“My shoulder is bothering me, so that’s the reason my shot’s like that,” Fultz said. “At the end of the day, I’m not going use that as an excuse, like I said before. But my shoulder is the main reason why my shot’s doing that.”

The Sixers traded up to draft Fultz first overall largely because of his ability to complement Ben Simmons off the ball. The pair hasn’t played together much since then, though. Jerryd Bayless started four of the five preseason games at shooting guard alongside Simmons.

“You have a plan in your head. It’s deviated from the summer, lots of it because of his injuries and lack of availability,” Brown said. “But we’ll all sort of see how I use him and how he uses himself. It will all be driven out of, how do we develop him and still win games?”

Fultz’s role could change throughout the season. The Sixers will work through his minutes, guard pairings and ball-handling responsibilities. These considerations will be based on Fultz’s health, matchups and the availability of his teammates, all the while trying to be successful. 

“The balance of development and winning is a slippery slope because he hasn’t played basketball and he’s really had an erratic preseason,” Brown said. “How we are fair in delivering him to an NBA court and situations that I put him in and volume of minutes he gets with the notion he’s the first player chosen, we understand the microscope, the pedestal that he is on. But the reality with all those other things that I just said are also my responsibility to figure it all out. Ultimately, you’ve got play and develop him and take some hits so that he can grow with us.”