76ers

NBA trade rumors: Sixers are reportedly interested in Davis Bertans, but is a deal doable?

NBA trade rumors: Sixers are reportedly interested in Davis Bertans, but is a deal doable?

The Sixers are 25th in the NBA in three-point attempts per game, 12th in three-point percentage and suffered their worst shooting performance of the season Saturday in Dallas. Outside shooting is an obvious need ahead of the Feb. 6 trade deadline.

They’ve already been linked to several players who could help in that department, including the Pistons’ Langston Galloway and Luke Kennard.

Another player the team reportedly has interest in is known as "The Latvian Laser,” the Wizards’ Davis Bertans.

NBC Sports Washington’s Chase Hughes reported the Sixers have “emerged as suitors for Bertans’ services,” along with the Hawks, Lakers, Celtics and Nuggets. The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor also reported the Sixers have expressed interest in Bertans. 

The 6-foot-10 forward is back after a nine-game absence because of a right quad injury he sustained on Dec. 21 in Philadelphia. He’d been having an elite shooting season up until that injury and is sixth in three-point percentage with a 43.6 percent clip (minimum 100 attempts) and 12th in three-point attempts per game (8.6).

Wizards general manager Tommy Sheppard said in December that the team intends to re-sign Bertans, who will be a free agent after this season. According to Hughes, however, the Wizards are still taking calls. 

On the latest Sixers Talk podcast, NBC Sports Philadelphia’s Paul Hudrick explained why Bertans would be, in his mind, close to an ideal trade target for the Sixers. He recalled Bertans' 25-point performance on Dec. 5 vs. the Sixers.

He would be way up there,” Hudrick said. “I don’t know what [the Sixers] could give the Wizards that they would want to make it happen. But here’s the thing with Bertans: You saw that game they played against the Sixers — he single-handedly won them that game. Yeah, they turned [Joel Embiid] and [Ben Simmons] over a lot, but that is game-changing shooting. Imagine if they had him on Saturday against the Mavs and he has that kind of game — they blow the Mavs out because that is game-changing shotmaking.

It might be challenging for the Sixers to make an offer for Bertans that is both fair and attractive to the Wizards. Bertans has a $7 million salary this season, meaning the Sixers would likely need to send Washington multiple bench players.

The 13-26 Wizards also might desire a draft pick(s). The Sixers technically own a 2020 first-round pick acquired in the Markelle Fultz trade, but it’s protected 1-20 and will convey as second-round selections in 2022 and 2023 if Oklahoma City doesn’t finish with a top-10 regular-season record. Unless they somehow miss the playoffs, the Sixers will be giving their own 2020 first-rounder to the Nets. 



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Sixers at Knicks: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

Sixers at Knicks: 3 storylines to watch and how to stream the game

The 27-16 Sixers begin a three-game road trip Saturday night against the 11-31 New York Knicks.

Here are the essentials:

When: 7:30 ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 7 p.m.
Where: Madison Square Garden 
Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia Plus
Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And here are three storylines to watch: 

Campaigning for Simmons 

Despite posting 20 points, 11 rebounds and seven assists in addition to playing smothering second-half defense, Ben Simmons might have been a bit overshadowed Friday night by Furkan Korkmaz’s career-high 24 points.

Brett Brown didn’t want that to happen.

How can we not recognize Ben Simmons' defense? After the first timeout in the third period, are you serious? He was just the adult in the room defensively. He's a physical presence by a lot when you watch him play defense. I thought he changed the game. How can he not be a First Team, All-League defensive player? I don't know.

A great chance to win on the road

The Sixers are 20-2 at Wells Fargo Center and 7-14 on the road. Simmons doesn’t know why there’s such a disparity. 

“If I knew the answer I’d probably fix it on the road,” he said Friday.

A game against the Knicks presents the Sixers with a strong opportunity to win away from home for the first time since Dec. 23. The Knicks are 6-14 at Madison Square Garden.

“At the end of the day, it comes down to playing defense, locking in from the first to the fourth quarter, and keeping that mentality and not letting up,” Simmons said. “Just staying locked in to that team game and playing defense.”

The Sixers beat the Knicks in New York on Nov. 29 without Al Horford, Josh Richardson and Kyle O’Quinn, coming back from a 16-point second-quarter deficit. All three of those players should be available tonight, while Joel Embiid is set to miss his sixth straight game after having surgery last Friday for a torn ligament in the ring finger on his left hand. Knicks rookie RJ Barrett is out with a sprained right ankle. 

Not so fast … 

We all expected the Sixers to play at a quicker pace in the absence of Embiid. So far, though, that hasn’t been the case.

The team’s 95.8 pace since the Boston game last Thursday is 29th in the NBA. 

They have, however, taken better care of the ball since Embiid’s injury, turning it over only 11 times per game, tied for best in the league. 

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Furkan Korkmaz sparks sudden blaze, then leaps over logic

Furkan Korkmaz sparks sudden blaze, then leaps over logic

There came a point Friday night during Furkan Korkmaz’s career-best 24-point performance when everyone at Wells Fargo Center seemed to collectively shrug and say, “Sure. Why not?”

Korkmaz had already flashed his trademark skill, hitting four three-pointers in under two minutes during a sudden blaze at the end of the third quarter.

With a little less than seven minutes to go in the Sixers’ 100-89 win, he stared down Bulls center Cristiano Felicio. The 22-year-old then crossed Felicio over, blew past him, dunked and let out an exultant scream. 

“At that time of the game, I was really feeling it,” Korkmaz said. “I got that confidence. When I saw the open lane, I just took off. I was also not expecting that, but I just dunked it. That was a good moment.”

Korkmaz wasn’t done, though. He missed a well-earned heat check on the Sixers’ next possession, but dropped in a floater shortly after. And, just to confirm that it was indeed his night, he took a charge on Bulls star Zach LaVine. 

Which play did he enjoy more?

“It’s a tough question, but I think I would say the dunk,” Korkmaz said honestly.

This isn’t the first time Korkmaz has changed a game this season with his shotmaking. He had nine key fourth-quarter points Wednesday vs. Brooklyn, blew up the Bucks’ zone in the third quarter on Christmas and made the game-winning three on Nov. 2 in Portland.

The Sixers declined Korkmaz’s third-year option last year, then let him sit on the free-agent market until July 25. Though they billed him as a young, promising player, their actions suggested Korkmaz was not a prominent part of their plans. He appeared to be on the fringe of the rotation.

Brett Brown hasn’t passed up many chances to laud Korkmaz, and he had a great opportunity Friday.

It’s really quite a — to say it's incredible would be too dramatic — but it's a heck of a story, isn't it? Just where he was and where he is. For us to see him — and he's young, can't forget his birth certificate — for us to see him come in and do JJ [Redick]-like stuff and have that type of a bomber, that was different. … We ran probably, I don't know, five plays in a row going to him. 

“I had flashbacks of JJ. We jumped into JJ's package and he changed the game. He gave us a spark and whether it was a three ball — I don't remember JJ dunking like that … but the long shot and just like bam, bam, bam — quick points, buckets — fueled our defense.

While Korkmaz deserves credit for translating his hypothetical value as a shooter into real contributions this year — he’s made 71 threes, tied with Tobias Harris for most on the team, and converted 39 percent — he will probably not maintain Friday's euphoric high. 

He’s devoted time and energy to improving his defense, but the question of whether he’ll be able to hold his own in the playoffs remains open and valid. If he’s not sinking shots, his impact tends to not be positive. Any moves the Sixers make before the Feb. 6 trade deadline could shift his role, too.

But, for the time being, he is playing with an apparently limitless self-belief.

“As a player you just need to get that confidence,” he said. “When you start to feel good on the court and also your teammates see that, your coaching staff sees that — I think today everybody saw that I was feeling it — and I knew that I had to shoot those looks. I just take the open shots, that’s all I do.”

Brown is clearly relishing in Korkmaz’s success.

“He's quality people,” Brown said. “He's a genuine person and you're proud of that, too. Good things happen to good people ... He's put in the time and to his credit, he came in and changed the landscape of an NBA game. And he did it quite emphatically. It wasn't like it was swept under the carpet. He did it where ESPN and all of us and his teammates, probably more importantly, felt his success.”

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