76ers

Despite report, Sixers have not inquired about Hawks guard Jeremy Lin, per team source

Despite report, Sixers have not inquired about Hawks guard Jeremy Lin, per team source

With the trade deadline fast approaching and the Sixers in desperate need of bench help, the rumors are bound to start flying.

On Saturday, a report surfaced that the Sixers have “inquired” about Hawks guard Jeremy Lin. While Lin makes sense as a player that can create off the dribble and make shots, the report is not true, a team source tells NBC Sports Philadelphia.

Though Lin would provide an immediate scoring punch to the team’s bench, the defensive end of the floor is where the Sixers have had their biggest issues. A large part of that is having to rely on young players like Furkan Korkmaz and Landry Shamet to guard elite perimeter scorers.

Brett Brown has openly acknowledged this to be the team’s most glaring need.

“A perimeter defensive player interests me the most,” Brown said back on Dec. 21. “If you box me in, I’ll give you that answer.”

Lin, 30, would offer more in the way of NBA experience, but defense is certainly not his strength. 

Another issue could be Lin’s contract. He arrived in Atlanta via trade this offseason from Brooklyn. The Nets inked Lin to a three-year, $36 million deal back in 2016. While it’s an expiring contract, his cap number is $12,516,746 for the 2018-19 season. 

That would be tough for the Sixers to make the salaries match unless they give up on a struggling Wilson Chandler or an ailing Markelle Fultz. Neither of those deals likely helps the Sixers in the short or long term because of Chandler's defensive versatility and Fultz being just 20 years old.

The team will certainly look at internal options for its bench like Fultz and 2018 first-round pick Zhaire Smith, but it’s doubtful that GM Elton Brand will sit on his hands. With an open roster spot as a result of the Jimmy Butler deal, Brand has mentioned he’ll be patient in filling it.

“Despite what's been reported, we're going to take our time and evaluate the landscape,” he said following Butler’s introductory press conference. “We feel like we can actually add an important piece with that roster spot, so we're not in a rush. Nothing is imminent right now, but we think we can use that to do some real damage and help our team.”

So definitely look for Brand and company to be active before the Feb. 7 trade deadline and ensuing buyout market. Just don’t expect Linsanity to be coming to Philadelphia — at least not as of now.

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Why it makes sense that Kyle Korver signed with Bucks over Sixers

Why it makes sense that Kyle Korver signed with Bucks over Sixers

Sixers fans hoping for a Kyle Korver reunion got disappointing news Saturday afternoon.

The veteran sharpshooter is reportedly signing a deal with the Milwaukee Bucks, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Korver’s decision was down to the Bucks and the Sixers. Ultimately, Korver chose the Bucks because of his relationship with head coach Mike Budenholzer. It makes sense. Korver enjoyed the best stretch of his career in four-plus seasons with the Atlanta Hawks, including his only All-Star appearance. The 2014-15 Hawks, which featured Sixers general manager Elton Brand and forward Mike Scott, won 60 games and got to the Eastern Conference Finals.

While the Sixers could’ve used Korver’s shooting to help space the floor, he’s 38 years old  — he’ll turn 39 in March — and would’ve occupied the team’s 14th roster spot. It’s a slight disappointment, but not a huge concern. With all things even between the Sixers and Bucks as far as both teams’ ability to contend, Korver chose to play for his former coach.

The veteran free agent pool is getting thinner, but there are a couple guys that might be able to help. Iman Shumpert is a veteran wing with championship experience. Shaun Livingston has even more of that experience from his time with the Warriors. Thabo Sefolosha is a 3-and-D type that is used to fitting into roles on winning teams.

The Sixers on Friday signed 7-foot-4 center Christ Koumadje to an Exhibit 10 deal, which we explained here. Koumadje is more likely getting a look for the Delaware Blue Coats than anything. The team has the minimum 13 players signed to guaranteed NBA deals. The maximum is 15.

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Sixers sign center Christ Koumadje to partially guaranteed contract

Sixers sign center Christ Koumadje to partially guaranteed contract

Updated: 6:40 p.m.

Elton Brand isn’t messing around when it comes to depth at center.

The Sixers are signing big man Christ Koumadje to an Exhibit 10 contract.

Koumadje, who stands 7-foot-4, is an undrafted rookie out of Florida State. He played with the Sixers’ summer league team in Las Vegas, averaging six points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 13.7 minutes a game. He also had issues with fouls, committing 4.8 a contest — players get 10 fouls in summer league play.

If Koumadje, 23, gets into an NBA game, he will be the first player from the country of Chad in north-central Africa to do so. He’d also be the tallest player in the league — if the Celtics don’t sign the 7-foot-7 Tacko Fall to an NBA deal. There is a possibility that Koumadje is simply an extra camp body and the team is giving him a hard look for its G-League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats. 

The contract has an Exhibit 10 attachment. In that instance, the team has the right to convert the contract to a two-way deal. The Sixers already have their two-way spots filled with Marial Shayok and Norvel Pelle, but things can certainly change. If a two-way deal is not offered off the Exhibit 10, the player can be waived and then sign with the team’s G-League affiliate for up to $50,000, more than a general G-League contract.

Brand already made it a point to increase the depth behind Joel Embiid, signing veterans Al Horford and Kyle O’Quinn.

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