76ers

Sixers' Ersan Ilyasova reportedly agrees to return to Bucks on free-agent deal

uspresswire-sixers-ersan-ilyasova.jpg
USA Today Images

Sixers' Ersan Ilyasova reportedly agrees to return to Bucks on free-agent deal

With all of the talk about who the Sixers could gain in free agency, overlooked was a discussion about which players they could lose from the roster.

It didn’t take long for the first one to get pulled away. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, veteran forward Ersan Ilyasova has agreed to a three-year, $21 million deal with the Milwaukee Bucks. 

Ilyasova spent the first seven seasons of his NBA career with the Bucks before bouncing around the league the past few years.

The Sixers really found their rhythm once Ilyasova rejoined the team for his second stint last season after reaching a buyout with the Atlanta Hawks. Including the playoffs, the Sixers posted a 25-8 record once Ilyasova came aboard on March 1.

Now the Sixers will attempt to replace his 10.8 points, 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game off the bench. Not to mention his league-leading total for charges taken.

Shortly after the news of Ilyasova's departure broke, the Sixers reportedly lost another of their free agents. Wojnarowski reported that Marco Belinelli has agreed to a two-year, $12 million deal with the Spurs (see story).

More on the Sixers

Sixers 106, Heat 102: Boban Marjanovic, Tobias Harris lead way in win

Sixers 106, Heat 102: Boban Marjanovic, Tobias Harris lead way in win

BOX SCORE

The Tobi and Bobi show has officially launched in Philadelphia.

The duo led the Joel Embiid-less Sixers to a 106-102 win over the Miami Heat at Wells Fargo Center on Thursday night.

The victory puts the Sixers at 24-7 at home and 38-21 overall.

Here are observations from the win.

• With Embiid out, Boban Marjanovic got the start and the Sixers didn’t miss a beat early. Marjanovic was a perfect 4 of 4 from the field for a game-high 11 points in the first quarter.

Aside from being a massive human, Marjanovic is actually pretty damn skilled. He has excellent touch around the basket and even a little extended.

His passing is also impressive. He’s excellent at finding cutters. He’s also an exceptional screener and roller.

You could make the argument he was the Sixers' best player, finishing with 19 points and 12 rebounds. Like Embiid, he does have his issues with ball security. He had five turnovers. The team also certainly missed Embiid's presence on defense.

• The Jimmy Butler at point guard experiment is still intriguing. There are times when Butler just sort of blends in offensively because of the firepower the Sixers now have. Playing the one allows Butler to get the ball in his hands early in the possession.

He’s also an underrated playmaker that takes care of the basketball. When the playoffs arrive, we should see more of Butler at the point — maybe with Ben Simmons playing a more traditional four.

Simmons will still have the ability to grab the ball off the rim and do his thing in transition, like on this play to Butler.

Butler was clearly the focal point of the offense, posting 18 points (5 of 14), six assists and six rebounds.

• Good thing Elton Brand got this Tobias Harris guy. Harris showed off his versatile offensive game once again. He was just 4 of 11 from the field and 1 of 5 from three for 12 points through three quarters. He then made an effort to attack more off the dribble and look for shots around the rim. That led to a 4 of 4, 11-point fourth quarter. Shooters shoot and Harris continued to do so even when he struggled early. He finished with a game-high 23 points and 11 rebounds.

• The substitutions were interesting Thursday and they’ll likely continue to be as Brett Brown figures out his playoff rotation.

Simmons was again out with the first wave of subs along with JJ Redick. That means Brown wanted to take a look at the Simmons-Redick pairing, which didn’t work out too well offensively with Jonah Bolden, Jonathon Simmons and Mike Scott rounding out the five on the floor.

Brown went with a Simmons-Harris pairing in the second half, which seemed to fare slightly better, but not much.

Simmons in general struggled in the first half (2 of 6, seven points), but looked much better in the second, getting more post touches against some of the Heat's smaller defenders. He recorded 21 points, seven rebounds and four assists. 

When Miami went small with Kelly Olynyk at the five, it allowed Brown to use Simmons as a five and have T.J. McConnell run the point with Marjanovic on the bench. That lineup is the one that got the Sixers back in front in the fourth quarter for good.

• The bench as a whole didn’t produce a ton, combining for just 12 points, but two guys stood out.

McConnell provided his typical energy and mid-range shooting. He made a very T.J. McConnell play, fronting Dwyane Wade and forcing an errant pass. As the ball was about to go out of bounds, McConnell saved it and it led to a Harris layup. As long as Brown picks his matchups with McConnell wisely, he can provide plenty.

The other reserve that stood out was Jonathon Simmons. Simmons is a legitimate NBA perimeter defender. He hasn't been a very good shooter throughout his NBA career, but he does have a little game off the dribble. He had a nice baseline drive and dunk late in the first half.

• Thursday was Dwyane Wade’s final regular season game in Philadelphia. They played a video featuring Sixers legend Allen Iverson honoring him. The Wells Fargo Center crowd cheered after the video ... but booed when he actually checked into the game. Never change, Philly.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Sixers vs. Heat: 3 storylines to watch and how to live stream the game

Sixers vs. Heat: 3 storylines to watch and how to live stream the game

Fresh off the All-Star break, the Sixers (37-21) look to build on their 23-7 home record Thursday at Wells Fargo Center (23-7) against the Miami Heat (26-30).

Here are the essentials:

• When: 7 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 6:30 p.m.
• Where: Wells Fargo Center 
• Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And here are three storylines to watch:

No Jo Jo

On Wednesday, we found out that Joel Embiid has been dealing with left knee soreness for a few weeks now. Despite an MRI revealing no structural damage, the plan, for precautionary reasons, is to sit him out for approximately one week, at which point he will be re-evaluated. Brett Brown says that Boban Marjanovic will start in Embiid's place, and Jonah Bolden will likely regain some of the minutes that he’s lost since the Tobias Harris trade. Though Marjanovic is certainly capable of sliding into Embiid’s starting spot, look out for Miami to run quick-hitting pick and rolls to take advantage of Marjanovic’s slower foot speed.  

Who will step up?

Even without Embiid in the lineup, the Sixers have four guys in their starting lineup averaging at least 16.0 points per game. No other team has more than three players averaging 16-plus. That means business as usual in terms of normal play and flow, and taking advantage of the amount of dribble-out players they now have. But, if it comes down to crunch time, without Embiid, who steps up? Brown says he thinks it will be Jimmy Butler. Look out for that Harris-Butler two-man game.

Butler and Dwyane Wade

Speaking of Butler, he’ll have the chance to go up against one of his good friends tonight in Dwyane Wade, who also happens to be averaging 14.0 points and 4.3 assists off the bench in his 15th season.  Butler and Wade (both Marquette guys) played together in Chicago, where Butler says they trained and vacationed together. They also like to give each other a hard time, so watch out for when they’re both on the floor together.

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers