76ers

Sixers won't convert Norvel Pelle's two-way deal before deadline

Sixers won't convert Norvel Pelle's two-way deal before deadline

The Sixers are keeping Norvel Pelle around ... for now.

The team will not convert the 26-year-old center to an NBA contract, a team source tells NBC Sports Philadelphia. The Sixers are opting for flexibility ahead of the Feb. 6 trade deadline. If the team were to create space for Pelle by waiving a player on a minimum deal, Pelle's full NBA contract could complicate the salary cap situation in a possible trade.

With the 45 NBA days Pelle was allowed to spend under his two-way deal nearly up and Jan. 15 marking the final day players can sign two-way contracts, there appeared to be some urgency to make a decision. Instead, the team will be mindful of the remaining days on his deal. He's expected to be in the lineup Wednesday night. 

The team is still open to converting Pelle's deal. If they choose to do so after the deadline, they can't sign another two-way player unless a player on a two-way deal with another team is waived. They could also trade for a player on a two-way contract.

Pelle, a G League First Team All-Defense selection last season with the Delaware Blue Coats, has impressed with a high-energy, fearless brand of rim protection. Brett Brown has compared his skills to those of former Sixer Nerlens Noel and the Rockets’ Clint Capela. 

Look at what he can do,” Brown said Friday. “Just zoom into what is his skill set. What is his NBA skill set? And let’s start with here’s a rim protector, and then go to offense and say here’s a roller. Those two things are quite valuable. And he’s quite different to our team. Then you get into OK, who’s going to run the pick-and-roll with him? You’ve got Ben [Simmons] and [Josh Richardson] that are exceptional at doing that. You’ve got Norvel rolling behind that, you can see why we would look at him as, ‘That’s a young prospect that interests us a lot.’ I thought he was excellent tonight.

With Joel Embiid out because of a torn ligament in the ring finger of his left hand, Pelle has recently received the backup center minutes over veteran Kyle O’Quinn. In 11 NBA games, he’s averaged 2.7 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.

He never played college basketball because of eligibility problems and ventured to Italy, Lebanon, Taiwan and the G League before signing his two-way deal with the Sixers in July.

“It’s just knowing that this opportunity is once in a lifetime,” Pelle told NBC Sports Philadelphia on Dec. 14 after a three-block night vs. the Pelicans. “I worked hard to get here and I can’t mess up. So, just getting the jitters out — obviously there are going to be jitters regardless, but just meditating and staying positive throughout the whole thing.”

NBC Sports Philadelphia's Paul Hudrick contributed reporting to this story.

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Sixers Home School: Allen Iverson's 55-point playoff performance is worth reliving

Sixers Home School: Allen Iverson's 55-point playoff performance is worth reliving

There's a lot of home schooling going on right now, so why not use some of this time to learn more about the history of your favorite teams? In this edition of Sixers Home School, we look back at the night Allen Iverson set a Sixers single-game playoff scoring record. 

Allen Iverson wasn’t known for being efficient, but he sure was in the opening game of the 2003 playoffs.

He scored 55 points against the Hornets on 21 for 32 shooting (10 of 11 from the foul line), and also had eight assists, four rebounds and two steals. It’s tied for the sixth-most points ever in an NBA playoff game and is still the most by a Sixer — Wilt Chamberlain scored 56 in 1962 as a member of the Philadelphia Warriors. It doesn’t look like a record that will be broken anytime soon, with no player on the current Sixers roster ever having scored more than 49 points (Joel Embiid) in an NBA game. 

Let’s highlight six plays from the video above: 

At the 1:50 mark, Iverson finds a trailing Keith Van Horn, who knocks down a three-pointer. That would be the only three a Sixer besides Iverson made in the game. The other Sixers combined to shoot 15 for 45 (33.3 percent), and that mark was boosted by a 6-for-9 performance by Aaron McKie off the bench. This is a game the Sixers would have lost if Iverson was anything other than great. 

''I didn't know what it would take for us to win,'' Iverson told reporters. ''Just playing the game like it was my last, that's the only thing I thought about and the only thing I think about before every game.'' 

3:58: Just listen to the “Ohhh!” from the crowd as Iverson dishes a leaping behind-the-back pass to Tyrone Hill, then waits a couple of seconds before finding Hill for a dunk. The fans were entranced.

4:10: The simplicity here catches your eye, and it’s familiar to anyone who watched Iverson in his prime on the Sixers. End of the quarter, give him a ball screen, let him go to work. He does just that, sinking a contested long two. Though he’d probably be pushed to shoot less of these kind of shots if he played in the modern NBA, his ability to use a screen and make something happen would be valuable in any era. 

9:06: Iverson played off the defense’s expectations and took advantage of the attention he received very well. Here, McKie loops up to the top of the key and Iverson almost looks like he’s a high school football star again for a second, juking Stacey Augmon. With Augmon expecting him to move toward the baseline off Kenny Thomas’ screen, Iverson instead darts down the lane and lays it in off McKie's pass. 

10:01: Marv Albert exclaims “What a move!” here, and he’s not wrong. With that said, notice how Iverson, after rejecting Van Horn’s screen, gives Augmon a little shove with his left arm to create space. Though he was at least half a foot shorter than Augmon, the skinny Iverson was excellent at shielding off defenders and even pushing them out of his air space when he thought he could get away with it. 

11:14: The Sixers are up six up with 17.9 seconds to go — it’s clear they’re going to win the game at this point. Iverson has just scored points 54 and 55 by driving past former teammate George Lynch and floating the ball in over P.J. Brown off his right foot. He closes his eyes, raises his arms, puts a hand to his ear and proudly displays the "Sixers" logo on his chest. Though the Sixers would ultimately fall in the next round to the Pistons, losing Game 6 in overtime, this was the kind of night that made you believe Iverson could again carry the Sixers on a deep run. 

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Al Horford makes a donation for coronavirus relief in Dominican Republic, regions where he's played in United States

Al Horford makes a donation for coronavirus relief in Dominican Republic, regions where he's played in United States

Al Horford has donated $500,000 to support coronavirus relief in the Dominican Republic, as well as in each region of the United States where he's played for a team, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Horford’s father Tito was the first Dominican-born NBA player, and Al was born in the country. The family later moved to Michigan, where Horford attended Grand Ledge High School. He went to the University of Florida and has played for three NBA cities — Atlanta, Boston and Philadelphia. 

Several other members of the Sixers organization have also made charitable donations during the coronavirus pandemic. Joel Embiid has pledged to donate $500,000 to COV-19 medical relief efforts. Ben Simmons launched “The Philly Pledge,” an initiative which encourages donations to Philabundance and the PHL COVID-19 Fund that’s received support from a wide range of Philadelphia athletes, among them teammates Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris, Norvel Pelle and Marial Shayok. 

Sixers managing partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer have made several donations related to coronavirus relief, including to Philabundance and to CHOP and Cooper Hospital.

Limited partner Michael Rubin aims to have his company Fanatics produce a million masks and gowns for hospital and emergency healthcare workers. 

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