76ers

NBA Notes: Thunder add experience with Raymond Felton, Patrick Patterson signings

NBA Notes: Thunder add experience with Raymond Felton, Patrick Patterson signings

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Raymond Felton and Patrick Patterson have each played in the NBA long enough to appreciate the importance of playing for a team with legitimate title aspirations.

Both believe they found that in Oklahoma City, a point they made clear Tuesday as they were formally introduced by the Thunder.

"The best feeling ever is having a parade," said Felton, a 12-year veteran from North Carolina. "I've never experienced that. I experienced (a title) at the college level but never here in the NBA. I definitely want to do that before I retire from this game."

Oklahoma City is attempting to regain its status as a championship title contender after making a first-round playoff exit in its first season without Kevin Durant, who left for Golden State and helped the Warriors win their second title in three years.

The Thunder acquired forward Paul George from the Indiana Pacers in a blockbuster deal that provides an All-Star teammate for reigning NBA MVP Russell Westbrook. Felton and Patterson bring a combined 19 seasons of NBA experience.

"These guys are veteran guys," Thunder coach Billy Donovan said. "They've played in a lot of games, and a lot of big games. I think them having a great, clear understanding of what goes into winning (and) the sacrifices ... I think that's very, very important" (see full story).

Cavaliers: Team officially signs Jeff Green
CLEVELAND -- The Cleveland Cavaliers have signed veteran forward Jeff Green.

The Cavs announced the move on Tuesday after agreeing to terms on a deal for the veteran's minimum last week. Green averaged 9.2 points and 3.1 rebounds for the Orlando Magic last season and will give the Cavaliers some depth in the frontcourt.

Green turn 31 in August. He has averaged 13.5 points and 4.7 rebounds during his career. Green has appeared in 38 postseason games, most recently with the Clippers in 2015-16.

The No. 5 overall pick by Seattle in 2007 out of Georgetown, Green averaged career lows in points, rebounds and shooting rate (39.4 percent) for the Magic last season.

The Cavaliers will be his sixth NBA team.

Nuggets: 37-year-old Mike Miller waived
DENVER -- The Denver Nuggets have waived 37-year-old shooting guard Mike Miller.

The team announced the news on its Twitter account Tuesday.

Miller played only 20 games last season as he served more of a coaching role from the bench for a Nuggets team that missed out on the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Over his career, Miller also played for Cleveland, Memphis, Miami, Washington, Minnesota and Orlando. He suited up in 1,032 games and averaged 10.6 points.

Miller was the sixth man of the year in 2005-06 while with the Grizzlies. He averaged 13.7 points that season and made 138 3-pointers.

In addition, Miller was named to the All-Rookie team in 2000-01 after being taken with the fifth overall pick by the Magic.

NBA Notes: Bulls' Mirotic suffers broken bones in fight with teammate Portis

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NBA Notes: Bulls' Mirotic suffers broken bones in fight with teammate Portis

CHICAGO -- The Chicago Bulls say forward Nikola Mirotic suffered multiple broken bones in his face as well as a concussion in a fight with teammate Bobby Portis during practice.

The team says Mirotic will likely need surgery and is out indefinitely. They say they are "evaluating disciplinary action" after Tuesday's incident.

Mirotic averaged 10.8 points over his first three seasons with Chicago. A restricted free agent, he signed a two-year contract that could pay as much as $27 million in September. The club holds an option on the second season.

A 2015 first-round pick, Portis has averaged 6.9 points and 5 rebounds.

The Bulls open at Toronto on Thursday. Chicago is rebuilding after trading Jimmy Butler and parting with Dwyane Wade and Rajon Rondo (see full story).

Nuggets: Jefferson reportedly agrees to deal
DENVER -- Michael Malone knows all about Richard Jefferson. Just not Tuesday, with the deal for the veteran forward still waiting on official word.

"Who's Jefferson?" the Denver Nuggets coach coyly said after practice.

Jefferson will join the Nuggets on a one-year deal, a person with knowledge of the negotiations confirmed to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the agreement hasn't been disclosed by the team. ESPN first reported the deal, which it said is worth $2.3 million.

After weeks of fine-tuning his roster through training camp and the preseason, Malone suddenly has to juggle things around. Not that he minds carving out minutes for a player he can't even name just yet. Jefferson adds another leadership presence to a young, playoff-hopeful roster (see full story).

Jazz: Timeline unknown for injured Exum
SALT LAKE CITY -- Dante Exum knew he had a significant injury the moment he awkwardly hit the floor during a preseason game against the Suns on Oct. 6. The diagnosis was a separated shoulder, and the Jazz guard and the team took the next 10 days to decide what to do.

Exum saw three doctors and spoke to several more before deciding to have a surgery on Oct. 24 that will keep him out for an unknown amount of time.

"Even just walking back (to the locker room), obviously I was frustrated," Exum said. "Everything was going through my head. I remember just looking up at everybody and they were just speechless. Didn't know what to say. A lot of people within the Jazz organization know how hard I've worked to get to the point I was. To get an injury like that and the way it took place just sucked."

There were non-surgical options for Exum, but the decision was made in his long-term interest after talking to family, his agent and the organization. That, however, complicates things in the short term financially. The 2014 No. 5 overall pick was hoping to have a breakout year as a restricted free agent.

Exploring the Sixers' 3 options to back up Joel Embiid

Exploring the Sixers' 3 options to back up Joel Embiid

Joel Embiid will be restricted to fewer than 20 minutes early in the season, that much is known (see story). How Brett Brown fills the remainder of the minutes at the center position remains to be seen.

Brown has three healthy big men he can play behind Embiid: Amir Johnson, Jahlil Okafor and Dario Saric. Richaun Holmes, an early candidate for backup minutes, is sidelined by a fractured wrist.

“Even without Richaun, you like the depth and versatility, the variety that is available to me at the five,” Brown said Tuesday. 

Each player is unique in their skill sets and experience levels. There’s the proven veteran in Johnson, the undersized center in Saric, and the sometime-starter-sometime-reserve-sometime-DNP in Okafor. 

Let’s take a look at Brown’s options and why he may lean toward one player over another. 

Okafor
Okafor finds himself in another season of uncertainty. The third-year Sixer still doesn’t have a consistent role in the rotation. In the past, his biggest opportunity for minutes has come when Embiid is out for the entire game. Could the slimmed-down Okafor return to the starting lineup when Embiid doesn’t play? The Sixers face their first set of consecutive games of the season on Saturday. 

Brown on Okafor 
“[His role is] evolving … it’s always fluid. There are times we’ll assess Joel, say, in a back-to-back situation that might free something up. We have one in Toronto coming up. … We all respect his attitude and we respect his body. I think he’s had a good preseason.”

Johnson
The 30-year-old Johnson gives the Sixers a veteran presence and assuring presence on the court. He started in 77 of his 80 games for the Celtics last season and will be an in-game leader for younger players like Markelle Fultz in the second unit. 

Brown on Johnson
“He started for a really good team last year. He’s been in the league for a while. He’s a great pickup. Bryan (Colangelo) did a really great job of signing him. He’s good people.” 

Saric
At 6-foot-10, 223 pounds, Saric is the most unlikely candidate of the three backups. Brown has seen enough from Saric in the NBA and internationally, though, to feel confident in shifting him from the four to the five. Saric showed he can hold his own against traditional bigs when he shot 5 for 8 against the Nets in the preseason. 

Brown on Saric
“He’s stronger than you think. He’s been used to guarding behind people over in Europe on switch outs with four-five pick-and-rolls. … He gives up some weight, he gives up some height. But the trade-off might be he pulls them out and makes threes like he did against (Timofey) Mozgov. You weigh it all up. It’s a little bit unconventional but it is there in our arsenal if we choose to go there.”