76ers

Report: Nerlens Noel and Mavericks not getting far in contract talks

Report: Nerlens Noel and Mavericks not getting far in contract talks

Former Sixer Nerlens Noel is reportedly unhappy with the offers he's received so far from the Dallas Mavericks.

The restricted free-agent center's agent, Happy Walters, said Dallas has "yet to come up with a realistic contract offer," per the Dallas News.

The Sixers traded Noel to the Mavericks at the trade deadline for swingman Justin Anderson, veteran big man Andrew Bogut (who was immediately bought out) and a heavily-protected 2017 first-round pick that conveyed to two second-round selections. 

Earlier this summer before free agency began, a report claimed that multiple teams were prepared to offer Noel a max contract. The Mavericks would have the chance to match any offer. Now, most teams have their rosters close to set and a good chunk of their free agency money spent. Noel has most likely missed his opportunity to cash in this offseason, and a lucrative long-term deal might be out of the question for now. 

The Sixers shipped Noel to Dallas to avoid the scenario that never panned out. It was unlikely they would have been able to afford a long-term deal with the 23-year-old and elected to fetch a return while they could.

"The situation with Nerlens, him being an RFA certainly affected how people approached that type of player," Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said after the trade. "It was more or less the case that concern with how that contract might look in the future was a concern and [caused] apprehension."

During his 22-game stint with Dallas, Noel averaged 8.5 points, 6.8 rebounds, 1.1 blocks and 1.0 assist in 22 minutes per game. With the Sixers, Noel averaged 10.2 points, 7.5 rebounds, 1.7 steals and 1.6 blocks in 171 games.

Noel was originally drafted No. 6 overall out of Kentucky by the New Orleans Pelicans in 2013. He was acquired in a draft night trade along with a protected first-round pick (which would eventually turn into Elfrid Payton, which would eventually turn into Dario Saric and the Sixers' getting one of their own picks back) for guard Jrue Holiday and a second-round pick.

Ben Simmons takes 4 families on holiday shopping spree

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Photo courtesy of Sixers' Twitter account

Ben Simmons takes 4 families on holiday shopping spree

Four families gathered in a roped-off waiting area adorned with Sixers decor inside of a Philadelphia Target store. They were told they were getting a surprise Thursday evening, but they didn't know who or what until a car pulled up outside ... and Ben Simmons walked through the door.

Simmons gave each family a $1,000 shopping spree right then and there. The room erupted in cheer.

"Beautiful," a mother exclaimed at the news. One child put his head in his hands in disbelief when he saw Simmons. Another said, "This is the best day ever."

"It's one of those things I always wanted to do growing up," Simmons, who came up with the idea for the shopping trip on his own, said. "It's the perfect time, season of giving. It just means a lot for me to be able to do this for some families."

The towering 6-foot-10 point guard walked through the store on Monument Road with each family and helped them choose their gifts along the way. 

They headed straight to the toy section, where the children piled in Legos, dolls and anything else that grabbed their attention. Then it was on to electronics. One child filled his cart with video games and a gaming system. Another family selected a television and soundbar. 

Shopping carts accumulated quickly as the kids ran in and out of aisles with bright smiles on their faces.

"Seeing them pick out what they want, not having to worry about it, I think that was the biggest thing," Simmons said. "It was a great time. I had a lot of fun, can't wait to do it next year."

The recipients were selected through Unity in the Community, a nonprofit organization based in South Philadelphia. Each had been through tough times in the past year and this trip helped to put the happy in their holidays.

"They can enjoy it now," Simmons said. "It's great for them to have no worries, especially on Christmas."

Best of NBA: LeBron James triple-double lifts Cavaliers over Lakers

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USA Today Images

Best of NBA: LeBron James triple-double lifts Cavaliers over Lakers

CLEVELAND -- LeBron James recorded his 59th career triple-double in front of Lonzo Ball and his brothers, Kevin Love scored 28 points and the Cleveland Cavaliers won for the 16th time in 17 games, 121-112 over the Los Angeles Lakers on Thursday night.

James finished with 25 points, 12 rebounds and 12 assists to move a tie with Larry Bird for sixth place on the career triple-doubles list. He also put the Lakers away with a dunk and short runner in the final two minutes.

Love scored 13 in the third quarter, when the Cavs opened an 11-point lead on the way to their 10th straight home win. Jose Calderon added a season-high 17 points for Cleveland.

Brandon Ingram scored 26 for the Lakers and Ball had 13 points, 10 assists and eight rebounds.

It was the first on-court meeting between James and Ball, the Lakers' highly touted rookie whose outspoken father LaVar has brought both attention and animosity toward his son.

LaVar Ball, who did not attend the game, launched his "Big Baller Brand" to promote his three talented sons. James gave them an in-person lesson in the business of basketball (see full recap).

Lee, Knicks top Nets after Porzingis exits
NEW YORK -- Courtney Lee scored 18 of his 27 points in the second half, Michael Beasley added 15, and the New York Knicks held on to beat the Brooklyn Nets 111-104 on Thursday night after losing star forward Kristaps Porzingis to a sore left knee early in the second half.

Porzingis motioned to the bench with 9:25 remaining in the third quarter after contesting a shot made by Brooklyn's Rondae Hollis-Jefferson. The Knicks' leading scorer had scored 13 points in nearly 18 minutes in the first half.

Enes Kanter had 13 points and nine rebounds for the Knicks, who earned just their second road victory of the season. Their only other one was Oct. 29 at Cleveland.

Spencer Dinwiddie had 26 points for the Nets, who have dropped the first two games to their city rivals. Hollis-Jefferson added 25 points on 10-for-16 shooting and Caris LeVert added 15 (see full recap).

Drummond helps Pistons snap 7-game skid
ATLANTA -- Andre Drummond had 12 points, 19 rebounds and a career-high nine assists, Tobias Harris added 19 points and the Detroit Pistons snapped a seven-game slide with a 105-91 victory over the NBA-worst Atlanta Hawks on Thursday night.

Avery Bradley finished with 18 points and Langston Galloway scored 17 as Detroit won for the first time since beating Phoenix on Nov. 29.

Ersan Ilyasova had 23 points, John Collins scored 15 and Dennis Schroder had 10 assists for Atlanta, which dropped to 6-22 and has lost three in a row.

The Pistons never trailed after Galloway's 3-pointer early in the second quarter. They led by 13 at halftime when Galloway hit a 20-footer in the closing seconds and went up by 22 on Reggie Bullock's floater midway through the third.

Detroit recovered from a 103-84 home loss Tuesday to Denver, a performance coach Stan Van Gundy called one of the worst "I've ever had to coach" in over 850 career games (see full recap).