76ers

Playoffs? Brett Brown remains unfazed with increased expectations on Sixers

Playoffs? Brett Brown remains unfazed with increased expectations on Sixers

CAMDEN, N.J. — The line for the entrance wrapped around the parking lot as approximately 1,000 coaches attended Brett Brown’s third annual Coach the Coaches Clinic on Tuesday night at the Sixers' training complex. 

“You feel like you’re giving back to the game,” Brown said. “On some levels, it’s sort of a responsibility you feel. On another level, I love doing it.” 

Brown opened the free clinic to youth, high school and college coaches. They sat around the Sixers' practice court while Brown led drills, many tailored to the coaches’ previously-submitted inquiries. Justin Anderson, James Blackmon Jr., Robert Covington, Richaun Holmes, T.J. McConnell and Jahlil Okafor volunteered to participate. 

The clinic included live strength and conditioning exercises as well as a dedicated segment on analytics. Brown also took questions from the crowd and infused a lighthearted tone in his responses.

“I’ve had travels called on my kids on the up fake,” one coach said.

“Fair enough," Brown replied with a smile. "We do too.”

The attendance Tuesday nearly doubled that of the previous year. Brown, who is entering his fifth season as the Sixers' head coach, wants to pay it forward to coaches in the Philadelphia basketball community.

“It’s tight,” he said of the local hoops scene. “They are passionate. It’s well-connected. It has incredibly deep roots and incredibly rich history.” 

Brown held the clinic on the same floor where the Sixers have been gathering for workouts ahead of training camp. He refers to his courtside office as his “beachfront property,” where he watches the offseason activity and describes the atmosphere in the gym as “really high-energy.”

“I look at people that are going to be around here for a while,” Brown said. “I look at legitimate talent. I look at this facility. We’ve worked incredibly hard, and everybody knows, to grow a culture and how we do things. … This place is alive and it was in June. … It’s way different than it was in 2013.”

Perhaps Brown will share stories of the coaching in the playoffs at his next clinic. The expectations are high for the Sixers this season. Brown, though, said he isn’t feeling the pressure. He pointed out he has coached into the month of June five times in his NBA career (previously with the Spurs) and is invested in the steps it takes to turn a team into a postseason squad. 

“I’m more concerned about sort of the homework than the exam,” Brown said. “I want to knock out good days. I want to handle things with a playoff mentality and playoff professionalism. … All the things that equal, how do you get where we want to go. I’ve had the privilege of living it so I feel like I can share it and do it. 

“I’m always mindful our guys are ridiculously young and haven’t played with each other. But that’s said with a tremendous amount of excitement and certainly, shouldn’t be heard in any other way.”

The Sixers open training camp on Sept. 26. Their first preseason game is Oct. 4 at home against the Grizzlies.

Source: Sixers will acquire Mike Muscala, send away Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Justin Anderson in 3-team trade

Source: Sixers will acquire Mike Muscala, send away Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Justin Anderson in 3-team trade

The Sixers were involved in a trade with Carmelo Anthony.

Exhale, Sixers fans, Anthony is not coming here. Instead, Anthony is being shipped to the Hawks — who will likely waive the veteran forward — with a 2022 protected first-round pick for point guard Dennis Schroder, according to a report Thursday by ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The Sixers in turn will send Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to the Thunder and Justin Anderson to the Hawks to acquire Atlanta’s Mike Muscala, a source confirmed to NBC Sports Philadelphia's John Clark.

Yahoo! Sports' Shams Charania first reported the Sixers' side of the deal.

The move makes sense for the Sixers on a couple fronts. After missing out on Serbian forward Nemanja Bjelica, who reportedly agreed to a deal with the team and then backed out, Brett Brown gets a player with a similar skill set in Muscala. The former Bucknell star has great size (6-foot-11, 240 pounds) and the ability to shoot (37.8 percent from three for his career).

It also makes sense from a roster standpoint. The team had a bit of a logjam on the wing and had 16 players for 15 roster spots. By losing two players and getting only one back, the Sixers are now at 15 players under contract. That also includes Jerryd Bayless, who will likely be bought out or stretched, but does not include 2017 second-round pick Jonah Bolden or 2018 second-round pick Shake Milton.

Muscala had a career year for the lowly Hawks. He averaged 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds in 20 minutes a game — all career marks. He also hit 37.1 percent of his threes on 3.2 attempts. A second-round pick by the Mavericks in 2013, Muscala has spent all five of his NBA seasons in Atlanta.

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Sixers fans need to relax about team's offseason

Sixers fans need to relax about team's offseason

Here’s a brief message that some Sixers fans can use right now: relax.

Remember that you have a team with two budding superstars that reached the Eastern Conference semifinals just last season and should only be headed upward from here.

Sure, there’s going to be some level of disappointment when Brett Brown proclaimed the Sixers were going “star hunting” this summer only to come up empty on the free-agent market outside of re-signing their own players.

But, more than anything, how things transpired for the Sixers over the past few weeks should let you know that much more goes into landing a free agent than simply basketball.

Look at the first major domino to fall in free agency, Paul George. The five-time All-Star didn’t hesitate to make his decision and announced he was rejoining the Oklahoma City Thunder at a Russell Westbrook party shortly after midnight on July 1.

Despite the Sixers being in the mix for George, the Thunder always had the upper hand. The Thunder had George in the fold for a full year after acquiring him from Indiana last summer and used every day to convince him OKC was the right place to move forward.

“They honestly check the boxes where I needed those boxes to be checked from what a player wants and needs out of a front office, out of a medical group, out of teammates, out of coaching staff,” George said during exit interviews. “I mean, honestly, they can't say it anymore [than] that. They checked the boxes on what needs to be checked.”

Even with George on the market, the Sixers always had their top focus on the biggest available fish in the game: LeBron James. They even secured a meeting with James’ camp, albeit only with agent Rich Paul and not the three-time champion himself. 

Still, the Sixers, with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid leading the way, were serious contenders for James as Paul confirmed.

"The teams that he looked at, he looked at for guys like Ben Simmons,” Paul, who is also Simmons’ agent, said on NBA TV during a summer league game. “There's a reason why he looked at Philadelphia, but ultimately he chose the Lakers.”

And what ultimately made James join the Lakers, no matter what his representatives say to the contrary, had little to do with basketball. James has turned himself into an entertainment mogul, so who better to learn from than Magic Johnson? 

After all, King James reportedly already had dinner in Los Angeles last week with Al Pacino and Leonardo DiCaprio

We all love Philadelphia, but those types of Hollywood power brokers aren’t exactly making reservations for restaurants on Broad Street.

So the Sixers swung and missed on George for familiarity and James for off-court opportunities. 

Perhaps you can swallow missing out on two of the game’s best players, but now role players are spurning the franchise too? That’s enough to push a Sixers fan over the edge … until you dig a little bit deeper.

Nemanja Bjelica had his qualifying offer with the Minnesota Timberwolves rescinded and immediately jumped to the best situation for him when he reportedly agreed to a one-year deal with the Sixers.

However, Bjelica informed the team he was backing out of the deal and returning to Europe. That was until fellow Serbian and Kings general manager, Vlade Divac, came calling. Now the two sides are apparently deep in discussion on a multi-year contract.

Once you push through the initial wave of confusion, you find out that Bjelica simply didn’t want to move his family to Philadelphia for a year and be back on the hunt next summer. He was seeking what most of us do in a new job, which is stability. 

While that may seem a bit unreasonable for an NBA reserve big man, you can’t blame a guy for trying. And now it appears he may find some of what he desired in Sacramento.

Back here in Philadelphia, the Sixers are surely second-guessing what happened to their star hunt this offseason. While it came up empty-handed, the Sixers — and their fans — have to understand that so much more factors into securing a free agent than what actually takes place on the court and is not a red flag on the franchise.

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