76ers

NBA free agency: After bizarre confusion, sign-and-trade with Jimmy Butler and Josh Richardson is a done deal, team source confirms

NBA free agency: After bizarre confusion, sign-and-trade with Jimmy Butler and Josh Richardson is a done deal, team source confirms

Jimmy Butler is headed to Miami and Josh Richardson will join the Sixers. We can now say that sentence with a little more confidence than we could in the early hours of Monday morning.

It's a bizarre story, perhaps even weirder than the December 2018 trade that reportedly fell apart because of confusion regarding whether Dillon Brooks or MarShon Brooks was involved. 

According to the New York Times' Marc Stein, the Mavericks originally thought they were receiving Derrick Jones Jr. and Kelly Olynyk from Miami in a three-team sign-and-trade, with the Sixers getting Richardson and the Heat adding Butler. Sounds simple enough.

However, Stein reports the Heat were not willing to give up Jones and said they needed to include Goran Dragic in the deal for salary-matching purposes. Dragic and Jones are much more difficult names to confuse than Brooks and Brooks.

Miami finally completed the deal late Monday afternoon, a team source confirmed. ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe first reported the new deal, which includes the Clippers and Trail Blazers. Wojnarowski and Lowe report Portland's Maurice Harkless is headed to the Clippers, Miami's Hassan Whiteside is moving to Portland, while Miami is sending a future first-round pick to the Blazers.

The only change of note for the Sixers is that the team is sending 2017 second-round pick Mathias Lessort to Los Angeles, a team source confirmed. The Inquirer's Keith Pompey first reported Lessort's inclusion in the revised deal. A French big man, the 23-year-old Lessort averaged 8.8 points and 5.4 rebounds last season for Unicaja Málaga in Spain's Liga ACB. The prospects of him ever playing for the Sixers seemed very slim.

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Sixers Talk podcast: Brett Brown isn't sharing dessert with haters

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NBC Sports Philadelphia/USA Today Images

Sixers Talk podcast: Brett Brown isn't sharing dessert with haters

On the Sixers Talk podcast, Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick discuss how great James Ennis and Matisse Thybulle have been off the bench, Pacers assistant coach Dan Burke's comments about Joel Embiid and more.

• What to make of Matisse Thybulle's role so far this season.

• How good has James Ennis been early on this season?

• Brett Brown made light of Dan Burke's comments. Is there anything to look into there?

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'Hot guy' James Ennis oozing confidence for Sixers

'Hot guy' James Ennis oozing confidence for Sixers

CAMDEN, N.J. — James Ennis came over to his media availability after practice Tuesday with a little extra pep in his step.

And why not?

He’s playing arguably the best basketball of his NBA career and doing so for a team that wants to compete for an NBA title. Ennis has been on a torrid shooting pace, hitting 50 percent of his threes (17 of 34) over the last 11 games.

“So I'm considered a ‘hot guy’ now,” Ennis said, “so a lot of guys are flying at me, so I have to put the ball on the ground and I can definitely get to the lane a lot easier now.”

The term “hot guy” is what you think: Opposing teams will have him on the scouting report as a player they need to keep tabs on beyond the arc. That’s led to Ennis’ defenders having more aggressive and, at times, reckless closeouts, opening things up for him to drive.

It’s a label Ennis is clearly enjoying.

“Definitely. I want to be known as a ‘hot guy,’ [that's why] I wanna knock down shots,” Ennis said. “I can get people with my shot fake now, 'cause I'm a ‘hot guy.’”

This is a man simply oozing with confidence right now.

It hasn’t always been easy for Ennis in his professional basketball career. After being drafted in the second round by the Hawks in the 2013 NBA draft, his rights were traded to the Heat. Ennis decided instead to play overseas in Australia. After a stint in Puerto Rico, Ennis joined Miami and began his NBA journey.

The bouncing around continued as Ennis had stops in Memphis, New Orleans, Memphis (again), Detroit and Houston before landing in Philly. After coming over at the trade deadline from the Rockets, Ennis was a big part of the Sixers’ rotation into the postseason. There was clearly a mutual interest in bringing Ennis back this offseason.

His head coach, who knows plenty about basketball in Australia, was asked if he’s seen a swagger to Ennis lately.

“It seems so. I guess there is. And good for him,” Brett Brown said. “He's a great story. We all kind of follow his career and he too, has an Australian experience in Perth, a great part of Australia on the Indian Ocean, sort of all on the western side of the country all by itself. And he's come from sort of hidden with Miami and then went overseas and had a taste with Houston. And now here he is with us and he's having a hell of a year, and he has been shooting the ball well, and I think he's been playing pretty good defense.”

At one point in Monday night’s win over the Jazz, Ennis nailed a three on the wing and was also fouled. Much to the delight of the crowd, Ennis began doing pushups. 

Is that a new celebration?

“I did them back in Australia, but it was nothing,” Ennis said. “I just did it because it was an and-one. I just wanted to show my strength a little bit.”

Unfortunately, Ennis missed the ensuing free throw. He admitted he may have been a little too amped from his on-court workout.

“I did miss, long. So I think it did affect me a little bit, so I probably won't be doing no pushups before my free throws next time.”

Brown was jokingly asked if Ennis would face any discipline for the pushup celebration.

“I’ll have to think about it,” Brown said.

It would probably take a lot more than that to bring this "hot guy" down right now.

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