76ers

Sixers reportedly have interest in Carmelo Anthony

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Sixers reportedly have interest in Carmelo Anthony

There was a time when Carmelo Anthony was great at basketball.

Coming off an NCAA title with Syracuse, Anthony was drafted third overall by the Nuggets and went on to score at least 20 points a game in 13 straight seasons.

That was until last year, when he averaged 16.2 points a game playing third fiddle to Russell Westbrook and Paul George with the Thunder. He shot just 40 percent from the field and 35 percent from three (6.1 attempts a game). 

So why on earth would the Sixers — as was reported by The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor — be interested in the 34-year-old forward?

That’s a great question. One I don’t really have an answer to.

First of all, the Sixers’ roster is pretty much set. In fact, they have too many players currently signed for the 2018-19 season. They also have virtually no cap space, meaning 'Melo would have to sign for the minimum. This is the same dude that literally laughed when he was asked if he’d be willing to come off the bench in Oklahoma City. Now he’s going to be willing to take the vet minimum to come here? 

Secondly, the Rockets are without a doubt the most logical destination (Banana Boat Team!). They’re also tight on cap space, but if you’re Anthony, Houston represents a better scenario if he’s interested in winning. It already has James Harden and Chris Paul and took the defending champs to seven games in the Western Conference Finals. The signing of 'Melo wouldn’t make the Sixers favorites to win the East, so why not join up with your old buddy Paul and try to take down the Warriors?

Then there’s fit. At this point in his career, Anthony is a stretch four and no longer a wing. So where does he fit in with Dario Saric, and the recently-acquired Wilson Chandler and Nemanja Bjelica? As mentioned earlier, Anthony is coming off the least efficient — and the worst shooting — season of his career. How much would he add to the team’s core of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons?

And 'Melo doesn’t exactly seem like the mentoring type. He seems like the kind of guy that would be more concerned about his minutes and shots than about taking Markelle Fultz under his wing. I could be wrong and maybe 'Melo does just that, relating to Fultz about the pressure of being a high pick. I just don’t see it.

With all that said, there’s value in taking a shot on a former NBA scoring champ. He can create his own shot, something the Sixers seriously lack. And maybe he would play nice and help some of the team’s young pieces take their game to the next level. Would it be worth kicking the tires on? Possibly. 

But in the end, the cons seem to strongly outweigh the pros. The Sixers need more scoring, but they’re better served betting on Fultz to make a leap in Year 2 and for Embiid and Simmons to take their game to another level.

Let 'Melo stay out West and Trust the Process.

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Sixers Talk podcast: Ben Simmons' recent play; Kobe Bryant's legacy

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Sixers Talk podcast: Ben Simmons' recent play; Kobe Bryant's legacy

On the latest Sixers Talk podcast presented by Wilmington University, Amy Fadool and Paul Hudrick discuss how great Ben Simmons has been during Joel Embiid's absence as well as Kobe Bryant's legacy.

• Simmons has been on another level, but how will it look when Embiid returns?

• Could Matisse Thybulle make an All-Defensive team as a rookie?

• Discussing the tragic death of Kobe Bryant and his daughter Gianna, and our best memories of the Philly native.

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Tobias Harris remembers his hero Kobe Bryant

Tobias Harris remembers his hero Kobe Bryant

CAMDEN, N.J. — Sneaker choice is a big deal for NBA players. There’s Nike, Jordan, Under Armor, Adidas. If you go through the Sixers’ locker room, there’s a decent mix. While guys may stick to a brand, they don’t all necessarily stick with one style or a signature player shoe.

If you go to Tobias Harris’ locker, it’s the same every time: He’s wearing a version of the Nike Mambas.

The entire basketball world was shaken with the news that NBA great Kobe Bryant and his 13-year-old daughter Gianna were among nine people killed Sunday in a helicopter crash in Calabassas, California.

“He was my hero as a kid,” Harris said. “Hearing about him getting up at 6 in the morning to go work out and being the first in the gym, those things inspired me as a player coming up. I really try to model my work ethic after a guy like Kobe. It’s sad news to hear. … I heard the news and just really couldn’t believe it.”

Harris and Al Horford spoke, along with head coach Brett Brown and GM Elton Brand, at the team's practice facility Monday. 

A veteran in his ninth season, Harris’ career intersected with Bryant for a couple years. As a kid, Harris grew up rooting for those Lakers teams led by Bryant and Shaquille O’Neal. Even then, Harris said he was modeling his work ethic after Bryant's.

While he played against him a couple times during his career, Harris got an extraordinary opportunity during this past offseason.

This summer I got to go out to L.A. with a group of 15 guys and we were working out two-a-days,” Harris said. “During those two-a-days, I got a chance to talk to him, communicate with him and pick his brain on some different things basketball wise. That for me was like a dream come true, being able to get lessons from Kobe — that was once in a lifetime. And those dialogues, those communications, I’ll never forget.

Despite Bryant's untimely death, the league made the decision to carry out its slate of games Sunday. It was an emotional night around the NBA as teams and players honored the future Hall of Famer in a variety of ways.

The Sixers have a game to play Tuesday night against the Golden State Warriors. In the city where Bryant was born, it’s sure to be an emotional night. Harris said the team has discussed ways to honor Bryant but didn’t divulge them Monday.

While the emotions will still likely be raw, Harris will look to getting to play the game he loves as therapy.

A lot of emotions overweigh a lot of things,” Harris said. “Basketball has always been a peaceful place for me. Even being out there today and practicing, it was kind of relaxing to just get out there and compete, and I believe it was probably the exact same way for Kobe. Just to be able to go out there and be around teammates and use that competitive fire. … It’s always good to play the game and love the game on top of that stuff off the court.

Like so many other players already have, Harris will likely have a message and show of respect for Bryant on whichever style of Mambas he’ll be wearing.

And he’ll carry the memories of the past summer and the conversations he shared with Bryant.

“He was telling me he pulls for the Lakers heavy, but he was telling me, ‘Man, I love Philly. Philly’s my home,’ that’s what he told me. I knew he was watching the game, us vs. the Lakers [on Saturday], and I knew he was impressed with our play. … The whole timeline is surreal to me.”

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