76ers

NBA Notes: Celtics trade Avery Bradley, pick to Pistons for Marcus Morris

NBA Notes: Celtics trade Avery Bradley, pick to Pistons for Marcus Morris

DETROIT -- One of the biggest questions facing the Detroit Pistons this offseason was what they would do with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.

On Friday, they replaced him.

The Pistons traded forward Marcus Morris to Boston in exchange for guard Avery Bradley and a second-round draft pick in 2019. Bradley's arrival gives the Pistons a replacement for Caldwell-Pope, who had been a restricted free agent. Detroit has now renounced the rights to Caldwell-Pope.

Bradley averaged 16.3 points per game last season for the Celtics, but Boston is adding All-Star forward Gordon Hayward and moving on from Bradley. Morris averaged 14 points for Detroit.

Celtics president of basketball operations Danny Ainge released a statement thanking Bradley for his contributions.

"It's no secret that Avery had been one of my favorite players," Ainge said. "Avery did a lot of the dirty work and often didn't get the recognition that he deserved, but our coaches, staff, his teammates, and our fans who watched him play every night appreciated what a special player and person he is."

Bradley was the longest-tenured member of the Celtics, bridging the gap from the era of Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett and Ray Allen that won the 2008 NBA title. Picked 19th overall in the 2010 draft, he developed into one of the league's best defenders, making the All-Defensive second team in 2013 and first team in 2016.

Detroit, which missed the playoffs last year, can slot Bradley into the backcourt alongside point guard Reggie Jackson. Bradley, who turns 27 in November, is older than the 24-year-old Caldwell-Pope, but he's also been a better shooter from 3-point range, finishing at 39 percent last season.

The Pistons lose Morris, who has been a steady veteran and a mainstay in the starting lineup over the past two seasons. Detroit has another solid wing player in Tobias Harris, and the Pistons drafted sharp-shooting Duke guard Luke Kennard in the first round (see full story).

Pacers: Team adds help to backcourt by signing Collison
INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana Pacers have signed free agent Darren Collison.

Terms of the deal were not released Friday amid reports it is a two-year contract worth $20 million.

The point guard returns to a team he played for from 2010-12. Collison averaged 11.9 points and 5.0 in 139 games during his first stint with the Pacers.

Since being taken with 21st overall pick in the 2009 NBA draft, Collison has career averages of 12.7 points and 4.8 assists.

He joins a backcourt that will be led by Victor Oladipo and Lance Stephenson The Pacers are rebuilding after trading four-time All-Star Paul George to Oklahoma City and losing point guard Jeff Teague in free agency.

Indiana also waived forward Rakeem Christmas.

Hornets: Walker played big role in landing Carter-Williams
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- When All-Star Kemba Walker approached Hornets general manager Rich Cho about signing free agent Michael Carter-Williams, Cho said he couldn't help but lend an ear.

"Anytime your best player is endorsing another player and is excited about acquiring another player you have to listen," Cho said.

The Hornets officially signed Carter-Williams to a one-year, $2.7 million contract on Friday, filling a need at backup point guard behind Walker, who's coming off his best season. The Hornets also envision the 6-foot-6 Carter-Williams playing alongside Walker at times as an off guard in certain situations, similar to how they used Jeremy Lin and Walker together two seasons ago during a run to the playoffs.

Carter-Williams' upside remains a bit of an unknown.

He was named the NBA's rookie of the year in 2014, but has been traded twice since and has struggled at times with injuries.

He hasn't come close to matching the 16.7 points, 6.2 rebounds and 6.3 assists he averaged as a rookie for the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Sixers traded Carter-Williams to Milwaukee midway through his second season. The Bucks later traded him to Chicago where he averaged just 6.6 points last season while starting a career-low 19 games.

Heat: McRoberts shipped to Mavs to free cap space
MIAMI -- The Miami Heat have traded oft-injured forward Josh McRoberts to the Dallas Mavericks for center A.J. Hammons and a 2023 second-round draft pick.

The move frees much-needed salary cap space for Miami, which owed McRoberts just over $6 million for next season. McRoberts was limited to 81 games with the Heat in the last three seasons.

Hammons is set to make $1.3 million.

Both players got to the NBA out of Carmel High in Carmel, Indiana. McRoberts graduated from Carmel; Hammons left there and transferred to Oak Hill in Virginia for his junior and senior seasons.

Dallas would become McRoberts' seventh team. He played for Portland, the Los Angeles Lakers, Orlando, Indiana and Charlotte before Miami (see full story).

Elton Brand should help Sixers fuse new school with old school

Elton Brand should help Sixers fuse new school with old school

CAMDEN, N.J. — Elton Brand was a phenomenal basketball player.

The 1999 No. 1 overall pick played 17 seasons and made two All-Star appearances. He was on the court for the Sixers a little over two years ago. 

When the team named Brand their GM, it seemed like an odd fit. On the court, former NBA player and Philly native Malik Rose referred to Brand as an “old school Chevy.”

Now, Brand is charged with leading an NBA team in 2018. And not just any NBA team, but one that’s had a heavy focus on analytics, starting with former GM Sam Hinkie and “The Process.” 

“Analytics is a great tool,” Brand said Thursday at his introductory press conference at the team’s practice facility. “We’ve built one of the strongest analytical departments in the league in my opinion. But I’ll bring the human side. I’ll bring the 17 years of evaluating talent and being on the court to add to the analytics.”

This makes a ton of sense. With Brand’s promotion to GM, Alex Rucker took his former position as executive VP of basketball operations. Rucker’s most recent position was senior VP of analytics and strategy. 

With Brand embracing the analytical side of things, the Sixers appear to have an ideal front office situation. Everyone surrounding Brand will be able to provide him with all of the data that is out there when it comes to personnel decisions. Brand will then be able to couple that research with years of basketball experience.

“I’m not old school and trying to fight that and say, ‘let me pick with my gut,’” Brand said. “I think those little nuances, with the way the game is trending, I’m on top of that. I think I have the pulse of that.”

Brand was named the GM of the Delaware Blue Coats, the team’s G-League affiliate, just this past season. So it’s a quite a leap to go from that position to running an NBA franchise. 

He’ll rely heavily on the experience of people like assistant GM Ned Cohen and senior VP of player personnel Marc Eversley. After all, that group has led the way since Bryan Colangelo was relieved of his duties and head coach Brett Brown was given the interim GM title. 

But don’t expect Brand to simply just be the face of the franchise. Sure, that is part of his appeal after the unceremonious departures of Hinkie and Colangelo, but make no mistake, Brand will have the “loudest voice off the court,” according to managing partner Josh Harris.

Brand will bring his wealth of experience on the court into the front office. That’s another reason the Sixers hired him: his ability to relate to players as a former player himself. Joel Embiid, Markelle Fultz, Robert Covington and T.J. McConnel were among the players in attendance during his introductory press conference. 

But expect Brand to mix his old school approach with today’s way of thinking.

“In the parlance of basketball ops,” Harris said, “he’s a new school Tesla.”

More on the Sixers

We finally have footage of Markelle Fultz's rebuilt jump shot

theplayerstribune_facebookwatch_markelle_fultz.png
The Players Triune/Facebook Watch

We finally have footage of Markelle Fultz's rebuilt jump shot

No more cryptic Instagram posts. No more Zapruder-type videos.

On Thursday, Markelle Fultz gave us a glimpse of his much-anticipated jumper via an interview with the Denver Nuggets’ Isaiah Thomas for The Player’s Tribune.

The biggest takeaway? What a huge improvement from anything we saw last season.

It’s certainly encouraging, but there are still things we need to see. All of those shots were set shots off the catch. We still need to see him shooting off the dribble, at the free throw line and in game situations.

During an almost 20-minutes conversation with I.T., Fultz talked about the injury that affected his shot. He dealt with a scapular muscle imbalance, which was finally diagnosed in late October after a weird start to the season.

The biggest question involving Fultz is whether the shot change caused the injury or the change occurred because of the injury. Fultz gave a clear answer.

“There was a lot of things going about changing shots and all this, but there was an injury there,” Fultz said. “For me, I’m a hooper so I was like ‘this ain’t going to stop me.’ Once I realized I really couldn’t do stuff to my full capacity, I was like ‘it really is something’ so I had to find out what it was and we did that throughout the season.

“It took a long time, which people really didn’t understand. They thought I was just being soft but it was really an injury. And now I got a chance to just sit down and pick apart all these doctors – we figured it out and I’ve been back to work this summer and everything’s even better than what it was.”

Fultz was the No. 1 overall pick in 2017 and for good reason. He had a stellar one-and-done season with Washington. The Sixers traded up to acquire the rights to select Fultz, primarily because of his fit with Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. Part of that fit centered around Fultz’s jumper.

When Fultz got hurt, all of that changed. He played in just 14 games and struggled in his limited playoff action. The team won 52 games and a playoff series with him mostly as a spectator.

Now fully healthy, Fultz has spent the summer in L.A. working with training guru Drew Hanlen, who’s worked with Embiid and Jayson Tatum, among others. The work appears to be paying off.

“Sixers fans are gonna get somebody that’s going to come in and play hard,” Fultz said. “I think I’m going to be that guy that’s going to be able to create shots for himself and his teammates. That guy at the end of the game when you need a bucket – you don’t really have to call a play. I’m going to get out there on defense. Most people don’t know I like to block shots so I’m going to be a big point guard out there.”

You can check out the full video here.

More on the Sixers