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Talks on adding 18th roster spot reportedly at stalemate

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The 76ers pulled off an impressive victory over the Lakers, which leads Michael Smith and Michael Holley to examine Philly's season outlook and Joel Embiid's ceiling.

Much as the surge of new coronavirus cases nationally have slowed — they are still too high, but the surge has subsided, at least temporarily — the number of NBA players testing positive has slowed: There was just one last week.

Maybe that takes some of the pressure off the need to add an 18th roster spot to teams. Those talks, which started a few weeks back, have stalled out over the type of player contract, reports Marc Stein of the New York Times.

This season’s hard capped teams include the Lakers, Clippers, Bucks, Jazz, Nuggets, Celtics — teams with title aspirations (and expecting to make deep playoffs runs). Their opponents are loath to give these teams an advantage, especially since veteran stars who could help would flock to the contenders.

Some NBA general managers had pushed for larger rosters before the season, knowing they would need bodies and flexibility, but settled on the standard 15-man roster with expanded use of two two-way players.

Philadelphia coach Doc Rivers noted that while adding a roster spot may allow more games to get played, this is still adding an end-of-the-bench fringe NBA player — it’s not likely to change winning and losing. The players on the roster now will be key to that.