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
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.”