Report: Sixers interested in Kawhi Leonard

Report: Sixers interested in Kawhi Leonard

The Sixers aren't making any secrets about it: they're going big-game hunting in hopes of adding a third star. 

So ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski's report Wednesday that the Sixers, in addition to the Lakers, are interested in Spurs forward Kawhi Leonard doesn't come as a surprise. Wojnarowski noted that the Sixers have both the assets to trade for Leonard and the potential cap space to sign him outright next summer.

But what's most notable about the report is there's still a chance the Sixers won't even have an opportunity to acquire Leonard. 

The Spurs turned down an offer for Leonard from the Celtics in February and "remain resistant" to trading their superstar forward, per Wojnarowski. Head coach Gregg Popovich and Leonard are expected to meet "sooner than later" to see if repairs can be made to the relationship between the Spurs and their franchise player following a dramatic 2017-18 season. Battling a right quad injury Leonard only played nine games, didn't allow the Spurs to handle his medical and rehab treatment, and left the team completely in March.

Should the Spurs feel the relationship can be salvaged, they can offer Leonard a supermax contract worth $219 million and "indications are, yes, Leonard and his group want that offer."

It wouldn't be crazy if the Spurs preferred Leonard play next season before putting that offer on the table, but with that avenue comes the risk of losing a top-five player for nothing. There's no guarantee Leonard will requalify for the supermax (he would have to make an All-NBA team or win MVP/Defensive Player of the Year) or still accept it next summer when he can opt out of the final year of his current deal to become an unrestricted free agent.

But if the Popovich-Leonard meeting goes well and the Spurs feel encouraged enough to offer the supermax, that'll be one less star on the board for the Sixers, who right now have a two-year window where they can readily access max cap space (see story). And if they miss on LeBron James and Paul George this summer, then the only stars projected to hit the open market in 2019 would be Kyrie Irving (more likely than not to stay in Boston), Klay Thompson (likely to stay in Golden State) and Jimmy Butler.

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3 takeaways from Sixers media day: Joel Embiid a Sixer for life?

3 takeaways from Sixers media day: Joel Embiid a Sixer for life?

CAMDEN, N.J. — The Sixers were back at the practice facility Friday for their first day of school, and while media day is a formality for many, there’s still plenty to take away.

Joel is still Joel

At one point, Amir Johnson had to ask a reporter to repeat a question because Joel Embiid was "talking [expletive]" in his ear. At another point, Markelle Fultz had to keep re-dunking a chicken nugget into dipping sauce, while reading promotional marketing, because Embiid (who didn’t want to wait his turn in the hall) kept interrupting. 

At another point, Embiid gave high praise to Elton Brand, by reminding everyone that he dunked on him "really bad" two years ago.

But above all else, Embiid said he wants to be a Sixer for life.

“This is the place I want to be for the rest of my career,” he said.

Boston series still hurts, and that's a good thing

Embiid said he watched every game from the playoffs twice and watched the last game "a lot," mentioning that layup he missed to tie the game. “It was painful,” Embiid said, but it also made him more focused going into the summer. 

Robert Covington said players went "overboard" (in a good way) with their summer workouts because of that Boston series (see story).

“It helped in every aspect," he said, "because we got a bitter taste in our mouth and it was a good lesson for us.”

Even Wilson Chandler, who watched the series as a member of the Denver Nuggets last season, said he felt that the Sixers should have beaten Boston in the second round last year.

Fultz having the 'yips' is a bit of a touchy subject

It must’ve been a strange year for the former Sixers rookie — to go from No. 1 pick to reading stories about "The Mystery of Markelle Fultz" and questioning whether you’d ever get back to the player you knew you could be. And then, as you’re trying to get back to that player (and doing three-a-day workouts), your trainer mentions that you had a case of the "yips," while on a podcast, and the talk starts all over again.

Fultz has since said that he spoke with his trainer, Drew Hanlen, about what he described as a "misterm of words," and wants to set the record straight (see story)

“What happened last year was an injury," Fultz said. "Let me get that straight. It was an injury that happened that didn’t allow me to go through the certain paths that I need to shoot the ball.”

And soon, we’ll all get to see.

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Sixers round out training camp roster with Emeka Okafor

Sixers round out training camp roster with Emeka Okafor

Before the Sixers tip off the 2018-19 season with practice Saturday, the team made one more addition to the roster.

It brought back Okafor.

Sorry, not that one. The Sixers signed Emeka Okafor, who spent the 2017-18 training camp and preseason with the squad. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.

Okafor rounds out the Sixers’ training camp roster to 20 players.

After being waived last preseason, Okafor latched on with the Sixers’ Gatorade League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats (then the 87ers). The No. 2 pick of the 2004 draft played 26 games for Delaware before making the leap back to regular-season NBA action with the New Orleans Pelicans. Okafor also played 26 games for the Pelicans (19 starts) and averaged 4.4 points, 4.6 rebounds and 1.0 block in 13.6 minutes per game.

The 35-year-old had previously been out of the league for four years while recovering from a severe neck injury.

Coincidentally, Okafor, who was cut by the Pelicans earlier this week, will likely his minutes in New Orleans taken over by former Sixer Jahlil Okafor.

The Sixers’ full training camp roster is below:

Jerryd Bayless, G, 6-3/210
Jonah Bolden, F, 6-10/220
Anthony Brown, G/F, 6-7/225
Wilson Chandler, F, 6-9/225
Robert Covington, F, 6-9/225
Joel Embiid, C, 7-0/260
Markelle Fultz, G, 6-4/200 
Demetrius Jackson, G, 6-1/200
Amir Johnson, F/C, 6-9/240
Furkan Korkmaz, G/F, 6-7/185
T.J. McConnell, G, 6-2/190
Shake Milton, G, 6-6/205 
Mike Muscala, F/C, 6-11/240
Emeka Okafor, C, 6-10/255
Norvel Pelle, C, 6-11/215
JJ Redick, G, 6-4/195
Dario Saric, F, 6-10/250
Landry Shamet, G, 6-5/190
Ben Simmons, G/F, 6-10/230
Zhaire Smith, G, 6-4/200

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