Sixers notes, quotes and tidbits: Jerryd Bayless saga lingers into training camp

Sixers notes, quotes and tidbits: Jerryd Bayless saga lingers into training camp

CAMDEN, N.J. — There were 19 players in uniform for the Sixers during Friday’s annual media day and each one strutted through the team’s training facility eager to get the new season underway.

Well, maybe not all of them.

Jerryd Bayless was less than thrilled to be back in the building. The veteran guard found himself glued to the bench for most of last season and now enters the final year of his contract likely staring at a similar fate.

“It’s not a normal situation, that’s for sure. It’s not the easiest,” Bayless said. “This is business. I think sometimes that can get lost in the thought of basketball, but at the end of the day, this is business. I get it. I get it from both sides. I get it from their perspective and I get it from my perspective, so it is what it is.”

Despite not being projected to make an impact on the court, the 30-year-old Bayless doesn’t plan on being a distraction.  

“Truthfully, my relationships within this organization are great,” he said. “There’s obviously been some situations that haven’t gone well, but for the most part, if you go around with all the players and most of the people that are within this organization, I have great relationships. It’s not that Jerryd’s gonna change or I’m gonna change and I’m gonna do something crazy because a lot of these people I really respect.

“My role on this team obviously isn’t where I would want it to be and that’s part of it. It’s part of life. Things don’t always go the way you want them to. We’ll get through it. I’ll get through it and then figure it out.” 

Long time no see
NBA players jet all across the globe when the season ends. That means they don’t get to see teammates much throughout the summer.

It also means guys get set for fun reunions.

That was the case when Joel Embiid ran into fellow center Amir Johnson. Embiid stood off to the side while Johnson answered questions at the podium. Then the All-Star stepped in to whisper something in Johnson’s ear.

“You’ve got to say that again because Jo was just talking s---,” Johnson said with a smile.

The best re-introduction came when T.J. McConnell walked out of a room and spotted Embiid. He bowed and waved his arms up and down to indicate he was not worthy of the All-Star’s presence. 

“As soon as I heard the news, I just thought about two years ago now I remember dunking on him. We actually talked about it when he got the job when I texted him. I just remember dunking on him really bad and I was like that’s crazy. That was two years ago. Two years ago, he was still playing with us and now he’s our GM. Much respect and I was happy for him.”

- Embiid on Elton Brand being named general manager

“I was able to go to Italy. I think it’s a pretty good upgrade from my last honeymoon. Spent about 12 days out there, so it was a pretty life-changing trip for us. A lot of water was drank and pasta.”

- McConnell on taking his wife on vacation after they spent their honeymoon last year in Camden

Fun fact
If you go by the Sixers’ training camp bios packet, veteran forward Wilson Chandler has about as many nicknames as tattoos.

Chandler’s nicknames include “Wil,” “Ill Wil,” “Kill at Wil,” “Wil the Thrill,” “Willie Blanco” and “Willie McFly.”

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There are positive signs, but still glaring issues with Sixers

There are positive signs, but still glaring issues with Sixers

After dropping their second straight game in overtime Friday night in Oklahoma City (see observations), the Sixers at times sounded like a team looking for answers.

More of that is likely struggling to answer questions coming off another brutal loss. They have an idea why they’ve lost five of their last seven after starting their season 5-0. A large part of it is a group with a bunch of new faces that are still figuring each other out. On Friday, fouls were an issue as they allowed the Thunder to attempt 41 free throws.

For a team that has championship aspirations and got off to such a hot start, this isn’t where they expected to be 12 games into the season.

“Obviously we're frustrated,” Tobias Harris said to reporters postgame. “7-5 is not where we want to be. It's early in the season and right now we're going to progress and get better and figure out ways that we can help each other and help our team and go from there. This game is over. Tomorrow, we'll watch film on it, we'll find out which ways that we can better ourselves and be ready for the next game. [We’re] 7-5 right now but ... we'll just go into the next game and be ready to get that win and go from there.”

There are reasons for optimism — with Harris being arguably the biggest.

After missing 23 straight threes and looking lost recently, Harris splashed his first trey of the game and looked like a totally different player. He finished with 21 points on 8 of 16 from the field and 3 of 4 from three. He was much more aggressive and decisive than he’d been in the previous two games.

Josh Richardson, returning to his native Oklahoma, has continued to show signs of improvement. He poured in 28 points, his highest total as a Sixer. More importantly, he’s looked much more comfortable in the offense as he figures out his role.

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons both had their moments. Embiid had a game-high 31 points and Simmons broke out after a quiet first half to play the entire second half.

One of the team’s biggest issues is figuring out the pairing of Embiid and Al Horford. The reality is Horford has never played with a center like Embiid who demands the ball and attention offensively. It’s been an obvious adjustment for Horford, who shot just 5 of 12 Friday and has done most of his damage with Embiid off the floor.

The uncomfortable offensive fit for the entire starting five has been a big reason the Sixers have been involved in so many close games. A familiar theme emerged Friday, as the Sixers held a nine-point advantage with 7:20 to go in the game. Instead of hitting the gas and putting the Thunder away, they gave up a 12-2 run and saw their lead evaporate.

These are talented players that have won in different places. They’re still learning how to win together.

“I was just telling Al about that,” Harris said, “and really it's just I think a matter of right now we are yet to be up like eight points and push that to 15 and really push what we're doing and move forward with that, and really imposing our will and dominating. And that's something that we have to get to and that's something I think we're still learning — how we can do that and how we can make those type of runs. That's something we definitely got to get better at.”

The good news is you see the talent and recognize some of the issues.

And Brett Brown has 70 games to figure it out.

“If you're sick and you don't know why, that's a problem,” Brown said. “We are in a tough spot right now, but it's a long year. I think that it doesn't take much for me to understand where we have to get better. And it's really that simple. If you're scratching your head, sort of confused, then I think we got some problems and that's not what I'm doing. I think the guys understand the areas that matter most that can best impact changing the way things are going and get back on the winning side.”

They know the problems, now they just have to answer the questions.

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Sixers Talk podcast: What went wrong in OKC?

NBCSP/USA Today Images

Sixers Talk podcast: What went wrong in OKC?

Danny Pommells and Paul Hudrick discuss Brett Brown's decision to have Furkan Korkmaz play key minutes in overtime, using more pick-and-rolls with Joel Embiid, and the loss to the Thunder.

• Should Brown have gone to Korkmaz when Tobias Harris fouled out in overtime?

• Do the Sixers need to rework their offense?

• The starting lineup looked good at times, but what went wrong in OKC?

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