76ers

NBA Notes: Dwyane Wade officially signs with Cavaliers

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NBA Notes: Dwyane Wade officially signs with Cavaliers

The wake-up calls for Dwyane Wade were coming at 5:45 a.m. for much of the summer. An hour or so later, he and LeBron James would be in the gym together working on their games.

And the chemistry was as good as ever.

"He drives me to want to be better," Wade said.

They'll be grinding together on a daily basis now.

Wade signed a one-year, $2.3 million deal with the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday to reunite with James, with whom he went to four NBA Finals and won two championships in Miami. Wade's deal was finalized quickly after he cleared waivers, which he had to do after getting a buyout from the Chicago Bulls over the weekend.

"I'm all about the challenge," Wade told The Associated Press. "If I didn't want the challenge, I would have stayed in Chicago. But I wanted the challenge of being back on that big stage and playing in those moments and seeing what I've got. So I'm not going to talk about what I've got. I want to go out there and show, when the lights are the brightest and the games are the biggest, that's when I'm alive. And I need that."

He took a hard look at going back to Miami, listened to sales pitches from Paul George and Carmelo Anthony in Oklahoma City, even considered San Antonio and got a call from Golden State.

But in the end, he wanted to play again with James -- someone Wade calls his brother (see full story).

Grizzlies: Forward Green signs multiyear contract
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Grizzlies have signed forward JaMychal Green to a multiyear contract.

Terms of the deal haven't been announced.

Green, 27, is coming off the most productive season of his career. The 6-foot-9 forward averaged 8.9 points, 7.1 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 27.3 minutes in 77 games with the Grizzlies. He made 75 starts.

He has played 179 games in a three-year NBA career with the San Antonio Spurs and Grizzlies. Green has career averages of 7.4 points and 5.4 rebounds.

Green went undrafted after a four-year career at Alabama. He played professionally in the NBA G League and in France before making his NBA debut with San Antonio in January 2015.

Wizards: Kara Lawson to be primary TV analyst this season
WASHINGTON -- Former WNBA and college basketball star Kara Lawson will be the primary television analyst for the Washington Wizards this season.

Comcast SportsNet Mid-Atlantic announced the hiring of Lawson on Wednesday. A longtime ESPN game and studio analyst, Lawson will continue to contribute on that network along with working Wizards games.

Lawson in 2007 became the first female analyst for a nationally televised NBA game. The 36-year-old is a Washington-area native who went to the Final Four three times at the University of Tennessee and won an Olympic gold medal at the 2008 Olympics.

Phil Chenier, who had Lawson's job the past 33 years, will be a second analyst for some games and do pre- and postgame work. Ex-NBA player Drew Gooden also joins the network for some games.

Trainer Drew Hanlen details offseason workouts of Sixers' Markelle Fultz, Joel Embiid

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Trainer Drew Hanlen details offseason workouts of Sixers' Markelle Fultz, Joel Embiid

We’re now deep into the NBA offseason, which means we’ve reached the peak of players showing off their latest workouts on social media.

Unless you’re Markelle Fultz.

The 2017 No. 1 overall pick has mostly kept his sessions with CEO of Pure Sweat Basketball and famed skills coach Drew Hanlen, behind closed doors. 

Hanlen recently joined Alex Kennedy on the HoopsHype podcast and said the silence surrounding Fultz’s training is for a good reason.

“What I can tell you is that he’s doing very well,” Hanlen said. “I think that a lot of people think that we’re hiding him and we’re not hiding him. We’re just being very strategic in what we share because obviously, you don’t want to ever add pressure to a player when you don’t have to. 

“Fans and the media would love to be able to witness every workout of every player that I work with, especially guys like Markelle. All I can say is that it’s going really well and that we’re purposely doing things just to protect him right now. But I think Philly fans will be very excited.”

Meanwhile, Fultz’s Sixers teammate Joel Embiid is on the complete opposite end of the court when it comes to posting his workouts online.

So far this summer, Embiid has shared glimpses of everything from welcoming Orlando Magic draft pick Mo Bamba to the league to trash-talking with Boston Celtics phenom Jayson Tatum. The latest moment included a savage montage of Embiid dunking all over Portland Trail Blazers big man Myers Leonard.

But while Embiid is just being his usual outgoing self for social media, Hanlen made it clear that the All-Star center is putting in real effort to sharpen his craft.

“Our big three things this summer, No. 1 was just low-post dominance,” Hanlen said. “Obviously he was really good in the mid-post last season, but when you look at the game where he had like 46 points, the Lakers game, and the game before when I think he had [32] against the Clippers, he was a bully down low. Our first thing is just becoming a bully on the block.

“Our second thing is being able to consistently make threes. When he’s making threes at a high clip, no one in the NBA can guard him. It just stretches the floor out so much and it opens up driving room.

“No. 3 is playing on the perimeter slash taking care of the ball. We noticed that he turned the ball over too much (3.7 turnovers per game) and most of those turnovers came from drives on the perimeter or drives from facing up in the triple threat in the mid-post. So our third thing is just being able to make plays while facing up. That means tightening your handle, making more plays off the bounce, changing directions and adding some kind of face-up moves so he can be better in that category as well.”

Hanlen touched on a bunch of other topics, including how his team is trying to model Bamba’s offensive game after Embiid and which player he would really like to work with in the gym. Check out the full podcast right here.

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Sixers put bench under construction, but is second unit now any better?

Sixers put bench under construction, but is second unit now any better?

After a relatively quiet offseason, the Sixers’ roster has suddenly turned into musical chairs over the past few days.

In are Mike Muscala and Jonah Bolden. Out are Justin Anderson, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot and Richaun Holmes.

Not exactly earth-shattering moves, but moves nonetheless.

Of course, all of those changes were directed at the Sixers’ bench. That’s because the team already has one of the best starting rotations in the entire NBA. The Sixers’ five-man combination of Ben Simmons, JJ Redick, Robert Covington, Dario Saric and Joel Embiid was plus-21.4 points per 100 possessions in 600 minutes of action together last season.

The reserves were a different story. The Sixers’ bench was among the league’s worst scoring-wise in 2017-18 before buyout veterans Marco Belinelli and Ersan Ilyasova pumped life into the group. With that duo on the squad, the Sixers posted a 20-3 record to close out the regular season and made quick work of the Miami Heat in the first round of the playoffs.

Those results changed against the Boston Celtics in the Eastern Conference semifinals. The Sixers’ bench was exposed defensively and smothered on offense in the five-game series.

“I’ve said on record, and I’ll say it again, I believe that anything that kind of matters, you’re probably going to bump into the Celtics,” Brett Brown said during the Sixers’ exit interviews. “So they’re always going to be sort of on our mind in relation to how do you compete with them?”

Competing with the Celtics and beating them are two very different things.

Did the Sixers’ tinkering with their bench put them any closer to knocking off their longtime rival? That’s a tough one to answer right now.

Despite shipping away Anderson, Luwawu-Cabarrot and Holmes, you can argue that the Sixers’ second unit will still be more athletic next season. A fully healthy Markelle Fultz will likely start out as the sixth man, and we know he’s got some incredible bounce to his game. Zhaire Smith already gave a glimpse of what type of athlete he is during summer league. And while 31 years old, Wilson Chandler can still rise up to throw it down.

Defensively is where that athleticism should really shine for the latter two. The rookie Smith has continually said defense is his best skill as he was named to the Big 12 All-Defensive team during his lone season at Texas Tech. Chandler possesses the ability to defend both forward spots and takes pride on that end of the floor.

Meanwhile, Muscala and Bolden aren't anywhere near leapers of Holmes' caliber. However, they are still bigger bodies that have the ability to move their feet to keep up with their man. That’s in addition to known hustlers T.J. McConnell and Amir Johnson putting forth their maximum effort guarding opponents.

But is that enough when a healthy Celtics team gets its projected roster back and rolls out a reserve lineup of Terry Rozier, Marcus Smart, Semi Ojeleye, Marcus Morris and Aron Baynes?

If the Sixers are unable to contain Boston’s talented starters and deep reserve blend, they might really run into problems trying to keep pace with offense of their own now that they lack a serious three-point threat outside of Redick. Belinelli and Ilyasova, who both departed moments into free agency, gave the team a one-two punch off the bench that could drain shots from anywhere. Now the only serviceable shooter in a backup role is the 6-foot-11, 240-pound Muscala (a career 37.8 percent shooter from long range). Kyle Korver, anyone?

The bench reset was necessary if the Sixers planned on getting to the next level. Is it enough to put them on the same level as the Celtics or will they remain green with envy?

We’ll see.

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