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Omari Spellman the latest Villanova Wildcat to leave for 2018 NBA draft

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Omari Spellman the latest Villanova Wildcat to leave for 2018 NBA draft

When Donte DiVincenzo announced Tuesday he was leaving Villanova for the NBA, it wasn’t much of a surprise.

Wednesday’s news that big man Omari Spellman would also be leaving the defending champs will definitely be a shocker to many. In an Instagram post, Spellman announced that he’s leaving the Wildcats after just one season.

My experience in college has by far. more than anything else in my life, shaped me into the young man I am today. I have met friends that I will cherish forever. Villanova University is a very special place, and it holds an even more special place in my heart. And to my teamma- no to my brothers I will love you guys forever. Coach Wright has helped me mature as a man along with some of the best coaches in the country Kyle Neptune, Ashley Howard, George Halcovage, and Mike Nardi. I will forever appreciate everything done for me. To the Nova Nation, thank you for the support and love I have received as a member of the family and community, that is something that I will cherish forever and I know Villanova is a place I can always call home. And last, but probably the most important to me, is my mother away from home, Arleshia Davidson. We share a love and bond that will never be broken. In saying this, I would like to announce that I will forgo my final three years of college eligibility and remain in the NBA Draft! THANK YOU FOR EVERYTHING NOVA NATION!!!

A post shared by Omari Spellman (@omarispellman) on

After missing the 2016-17 season while entrenched in a weird academic eligibility battle, Spellman showed the reason he was a five-star recruit. The redshirt freshman recorded 10.9 points and eight rebounds a night. He also shot an impressive 43 percent on 3.8 threes a game.

Spellman’s skill set should be appealing to NBA teams looking for a stretch four or mobile five. At 6-foot-9 (7-2 wingspan) and 253 pounds, Spellman has an NBA body. He’s a great athlete and an instinctive rebounder who has a shooting touch that extends to the three-point line. The only question may come on the defensive end of the floor when he’s asked to cover quicker stretch fours or true centers.

With his decision to stay in the draft, you have to believe he’s been told he has a chance to go in the first round. If he does, he’ll likely join teammates Mikal Bridges (a projected lottery pick), Jalen Brunson and DiVincenzo as a first-rounder.

The NBA draft takes place on June 21 at Barclays Center in New York.

Sixers sign Jonah Bolden to 4-year contract, trade Richaun Holmes to Suns

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Sixers sign Jonah Bolden to 4-year contract, trade Richaun Holmes to Suns

The Sixers are not quite done making moves this offseason.

The team on Friday sent big man Richaun Holmes to the Suns for cash considerations and signed 2017 second-round pick Jonah Bolden to a four-year deal, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark.

Yahoo! Sports' Shams Charania first reported the trade and Bolden's signing.

With these moves, the Sixers’ roster remains at 15 players, but that could change if the team finds a way to rid themselves of Jerryd Bayless’ contract — say, in a trade with Cleveland (see story).

The writing has been on the wall for Holmes. Now entering his fourth year, the 2015 second-round pick struggled to find a role in Brett Brown’s rotation last season with a healthy Joel Embiid and veteran Amir Johnson in the fold. While he offered energy, athleticism and weakside rim protection off the bench, Holmes lacked discipline defensively, something Brown hasn’t tolerated during his tenure.

Bolden will essentially take Holmes’ spot on the roster as a developmental big. With quicker feet defensively, Bolden has more versatility to guard fours. While his summer league performance was underwhelming offensively, Bolden did impress defensively, especially against No. 1 pick DeAndre Ayton. It’s important to note that the third and fourth years of Bolden’s deal are not guaranteed, according to Derek Bodner of The Athletic.

Drafted by the Sixers out of Bowling Green State, Holmes flashed at times but was only able to get into 48 games this season, averaging 15.5 minutes a contest. He averaged 7.4 points and 4.2 rebounds in 156 career games with the Sixers.

A native Australian, Bolden attended UCLA for one year before heading overseas to play for FMP Beograd of the Adriatic League. As a draft and stash this past season, Bolden played for Maccabi FOX Tel Aviv and tested his skills in the EuroLeague. He averaged 7.2 points and six rebounds in 20.8 minutes a game. He’s shown flashes of a jump shot but shot just 31 percent from three this season abroad and 24 percent in summer league action.

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Sixers' reported interest in Kyle Korver trade may be way out of Jerryd Bayless' contract

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Sixers' reported interest in Kyle Korver trade may be way out of Jerryd Bayless' contract

The Sixers have been searching for a way to end their partnership with Jerryd Bayless for some time now. And while a resolution may finally be coming into shape, it’s far from a sure thing.

The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey first reported Thursday that the Sixers have had discussions with the Cleveland Cavaliers about a trade involving Bayless and Kyle Korver.

However, The New York Times’ Marc Stein added Friday that while a potential deal involving the two sides is “possible” it’s also “far from certain.” 

Bayless has one year remaining on his contract at $8.57 million. 

Korver has two years left on his deal for $7.56 million in 2018-19 and $7.5 million the following season. Of that 2019-20 salary, only $3.44 million is guaranteed if Korver remains on the team after July 7, 2019. The money becomes fully guaranteed after that point. 

Any deal for the Cavaliers to take on Bayless would likely also involve a draft pick going back to Cleveland. The Sixers currently have control of most of their own assets, including six total second-round selections in the next two drafts.

Korver, who spent the first four-plus years of his career with the Sixers, is still getting it done in the NBA at 37 years old. The veteran sharpshooter played in 73 games regular-season games last season for the Cavs and averaged 9.2 points a night on 43.6 percent three-point shooting (sixth-best in the NBA).

Meanwhile, Bayless fell out of the rotation in Year 2 of his three-year, $27 million contract with the Sixers. The 29-year-old guard was a DNP-CD for 39 of the Sixers’ final 40 games, including playoffs, with the lone appearance being a showing for 1:44 in the team’s Game 1 blowout loss to the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals.

In all, Bayless played in just 39 contests and averaged 7.9 points (41.6 percent shooting from the field and 37.0 percent shooting from three-point range).

“It wasn’t easy,” Bayless said during exit interviews of his diminished role as the season went on. “This whole year from an individual standpoint wasn’t the easiest. But, at the same time, when you’re around a group of guys that we had and the success that we had, it made it easier. 

“I’m really grateful that I was able to be a part of this organization this year. We’ll see what happens moving forward.”

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