Matt Haughton

Sixers officially sign Marco Belinelli

Sixers officially sign Marco Belinelli

Brett Brown has watched 107 different players check into a game for him as head coach of the Sixers.

One more newcomer can’t hurt.

The Sixers are hoping for a boost to their bench after officially signing veteran guard Marco Belinelli on Monday. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Belinelli cleared waivers after reaching a buyout agreement with the Atlanta Hawks on Friday over the $6.6 million he was owed in the final year of his contract. He will wear No. 18 and be available for tonight's game against the Knicks, but Brown said pregame that he does not plan to use him.

So, why the Sixers for Belinelli?

"Because I trust the process," he said Monday. "I think I was lucky to watch a couple games of other teams, Philly, too. I think [the Sixers] play really well, play together on offense and defense. I really trust this kind of thing. Opportunity to help this team make a run for the playoffs. It’s going to be good for me, so I’m really happy."

The 11th-year veteran averaged 11.4 points per game on 41.1 percent shooting from the field and 37.2 percent from three-point range with the Hawks this season. For his career, Belinelli has averaged 9.8 points a night.

Those numbers may not seem eye-popping, but they will be a welcomed sight for a Sixers team that didn’t make a move at last week’s trade deadline. That’s because the Sixers’ reserves rank near the bottom of the NBA in several offensive categories, including points per game (26th), field goals made (26th), three-pointers made (29th) and three-point percentage (29th).

"It can help a lot. We can have another shooter coming off of that unit to allow us to space the floor even more than what we already do," Robert Covington said Monday. "With the rotations, teams have got to sit up here and play us just as hard as they've got to play the first unit. Can't really sit back and kind of sag the way a lot of teams do at times. Now with Marco, he's going to space the floor and then it's just like another JJ (Redick). Teams are going to run him offline and then it's going to help put them in scramble mode."

Fultz hopes 'long journey' leads back to square 1

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Fultz hopes 'long journey' leads back to square 1

Markelle Fultz hasn’t played in an NBA game since Oct. 23.

For those of you keeping track at home, that’s 106 days since the No. 1 overall pick suited up for the Sixers.

If you think you’ve been discouraged by Fultz’s season to this point, just imagine how he feels.

“It’s very frustrating,” Fultz said to former NBA player Caron Butler during TNT’s broadcast of the Sixers’ 115-102 win over the Wizards on Tuesday. “I want to be out there real bad, competing with my team. It’s been tough really, but at the end of the day I know it’s going to make me better.”

Things can’t get much worse for Fultz. 

The 19-year-old guard struggled through the first week of the season as he battled a right shoulder injury. The Sixers eventually shut him down indefinitely as they sought answers for his ailment.

Fultz visited specialists and underwent various treatment methods to help get him back. He was cleared to begin a reintegration to training and practice with the Sixers on Jan. 2, but has still not been given the green light for game action.

“It’s been a long journey just trying to relearn it,” Fultz said of his shot mechanics. “I’m just going through it. I want to go back out there as quick as I can, but it’s been a slow process.”

The Sixers know all about trusting the process, and Fultz is glad that fans have stuck with him throughout his own path back to the court.

“I just want to let them know thank you for all the support, all the love,” he said. “Can’t wait to get back out there and support them and play my hardest for them.”

Joel Embiid adds to packed All-Star weekend

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Joel Embiid adds to packed All-Star weekend

All-Star weekend is shaping up to be a busy one for Joel Embiid.

Already selected as a starter in the All-Star Game and a player in the Mtn Dew Kickstart Rising Stars, Embiid was announced on Thursday night as a participant in the Taco Bells Skills Challenge.

Embiid was set to participate in the event last season before sitting out the All-Star festivities with a left knee injury.

The competition, which will be held on All-Star Saturday Night for the 16th time, is a three-round obstacle course that tests dribbling, passing, agility and three-point-shooting. It features a head-to-head, bracket-style tournament format.

Embiid will try to become the third straight big man to take home the crown after New York’s Kristaps Porzingis and Minnesota’s Karl-Anthony Towns won in 2017 and 2016, respectively.

The other participants include Porzingis, Boston’s Al Horford, Chicago’s Lauri Markkanen, Utah’s Donovan Mitchell, Denver’s Jamal Murray and L.A.’s Lou Williams and Brooklyn's Spencer Dinwiddie.