The rivalry between the Sixers and Celtics has been dormant for a while now.
But with the Sixers now boasting a budding roster full of top-level draft picks and the Celtics adding All-Star Gordon Hayward to a team that was the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference, things could heat back up between the two teams in 2017-18.
Get your popcorn ready … and your passports?
According to a report Wednesday from Steve Bulpett of the Boston Herald, the Sixers and Celtics will face off at London's O2 Arena on Jan. 11, 2018.
“The Celtics-Philadelphia matchup will be a regular season affair — not an exhibition — and will be a 76ers home game,” Bulpett writes. “That means Philly fans will have one fewer opportunity to see Jayson Tatum and Markelle Fultz, the third and first overall picks from last month’s draft, respectively, involved in the major pre-draft trade between the clubs.”
The NBA will release its official schedule later this summer.
The Sixers-Celtics matchup would be part of the league’s Global Games initiative. Last season, the NBA held three games outside of the United States — two in Mexico City and one in London.
The Sixers have made a historic hire in their scouting department.
The team has hired former WNBA star Lindsey Harding as a full-time scout starting next season.
"I think when you have this goal in mind, your gender shouldn't even matter," Harding told ESPN’s Ramona Shelbourne. "It should be about if you can do it, if you're good, you're experienced, if you know what you're doing and what you're talking about."
Harding, a Duke product and the No. 1 overall pick in 2007 WNBA draft, is just the second woman to be hired by an NBA team as a scout after a career in the WNBA. Jenny Boucek, who is now an assistant coach with the Dallas Mavericks, was the first former WNBA player to be hired as a scout back in 2006 by the Seattle SuperSonics. Becky Hammon, one of Harding's former opponents who urged Harding to pursue this path, was hired as an assistant coach with the San Antonio Spurs in 2014. Hammon has since been interviewed for the Milwaukee Bucks' GM job and been promoted to Gregg Popovich's top assistant.
Harding completed the NBA's Basketball Operations Associates Program last season after retiring in 2017. The 34-year-old guard spent nine seasons in the WNBA and represented Belarus in the 2016 Olympics in Rio.
"Lindsey has quickly become one of the game's bright young minds in basketball operations," Sixers head coach and interim GM Brett Brown said to Shelbourne. "Having graduated from the NBA's Basketball Operations Associates Program last season, Lindsey is applying the same grit and basketball IQ she used as a player in her move to the front office. We look forward to the work Lindsey will do to help grow our program and further solidify a culture of winning.
"It's no secret how much I value the culture we've built in Philadelphia and how much a family-like atmosphere means to our program. Lindsey is a leader, and she is a welcomed addition to the 76ers family. I look forward to working with her."
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Joel Embiid didn’t wait long to share his expectations for next season.
“This is my first year going into a summer healthy and I’m excited about it. I feel like next year is definitely going to be a type of MVP season for me,” Embiid said during the Sixers’ exit interviews just one day after being eliminated from the playoffs.
The summer months haven’t done much to curb the All-Star center’s enthusiasm.
“I want to win the MVP because if I play better I think the stats show that my team plays better too,” Embiid said during an interview with KweséESPN prior to this month’s NBA Africa Game. “That’s the goal. I’ve got to set the bar high if you want to go somewhere.”
You can’t blame the man for being confident in himself. And now Embiid even has the support of a former colorful NBA player in his own right.
Metta World Peace (or Tru Warier or The Panda’s Friend or Ron Artest) sent out a simple tweet earlier this week.
That’s about as cut and dry as you can get. Although World Peace did have another hot take this week that might call his crystal ball skills into question.
Whoa. You lost us on that one, World Peace.
Embiid has a much better chance at earning MVP honors than those two teams (mainly the Knicks) have of reaching the Eastern Conference finals. In Bovada's MVP odds released this week, the center came in at 16/1 (seventh best) to win the award.
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