Christ Koumadje

Sixers waive Christ Koumadje, Haywood Highsmith and Isaiah Miles

Sixers waive Christ Koumadje, Haywood Highsmith and Isaiah Miles

Updated: 2:17 p.m.

The Sixers have waived Christ Koumadje, Isaiah Miles and Haywood Highsmith. Those moves leave the team with its regular-season roster of 15 players, with Marial Shayok and Norvel Pelle on two-way contracts.

Because Koumadje, Miles and Highsmith signed Exhibit 10 contracts this summer, they can be incentivized to join the Delaware Blue Coats. Under the terms of an Exhibit 10 deal, a player who is waived can receive a bonus of up to $50,000 if he signs with the team's G-League affiliate and stays there for at least 60 days. 

Koumadje played four years of college basketball at Florida State and stands 7-foot-3 without shoes. He’s seeking to become the first NBA player from the country of Chad. Senior vice president of player personnel Marc Eversley said in June at a pre-draft workout featuring Koumadje that the big man is agile for his size, which Koumadje attributed to playing soccer and running before fully focusing on basketball.

Koumadje has been seen working on his game with 7-foot-2 player development specialist Roy Hibbert. He said at media day that the Sixers’ player development staff has been helping him develop some of the finer points of his offensive game, such as non-dunk finishes near the basket and ball handling.

A 6-foot-4 wing, Highsmith played in 46 games for the Blue Coats last season, averaging 12.2 points, 6.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game. He also played in five games for the Sixers, with the team converting his contract to a two-way deal in January. Highsmith, who was waived by the team this summer to free up the two-way spot used on Pelle before signing his Exhibit 10 deal, played at Division II Wheeling Jesuit University in West Virginia.

Miles played his college basketball much closer to the Wells Fargo Center, at Saint Joseph’s, and is, like Highsmith, a native of Baltimore, Maryland. The 25-year-old was on the Sixers’ summer league teams in 2017-18 and 2018-19, and last played for Limoges CSP in France’s Pro-A league.

Based on what we saw in the preseason, below is a rough, projected depth chart by position. The backup point guard picture isn't yet clear, while several of the players at the shooting guard and small forward spots are interchangeable:

Point guard

Starter: Ben Simmons

Depth: Josh Richardson, Raul Neto/Trey Burke, Shake Milton

Shooting guard

Starter: Josh Richardson

Depth: Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz, Shake Milton, Zhaire Smith, Marial Shayok (Two-way player)

Small forward

Starter: Tobias Harris

Depth: James Ennis, Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz

Power forward

Starter: Al Horford 

Depth: Tobias Harris, Mike Scott, Jonah Bolden 

Center

Starter: Joel Embiid

Depth: Al Horford, Kyle O’Quinn, Jonah Bolden, Ben Simmons, Mike Scott, Norvel Pelle (Two-way player) 

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Sixers sign center Christ Koumadje to partially guaranteed contract

Sixers sign center Christ Koumadje to partially guaranteed contract

Updated: 6:40 p.m.

Elton Brand isn’t messing around when it comes to depth at center.

The Sixers are signing big man Christ Koumadje to an Exhibit 10 contract.

Koumadje, who stands 7-foot-4, is an undrafted rookie out of Florida State. He played with the Sixers’ summer league team in Las Vegas, averaging six points, 5.8 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 13.7 minutes a game. He also had issues with fouls, committing 4.8 a contest — players get 10 fouls in summer league play.

If Koumadje, 23, gets into an NBA game, he will be the first player from the country of Chad in north-central Africa to do so. He’d also be the tallest player in the league — if the Celtics don’t sign the 7-foot-7 Tacko Fall to an NBA deal. There is a possibility that Koumadje is simply an extra camp body and the team is giving him a hard look for its G-League affiliate, the Delaware Blue Coats. 

The contract has an Exhibit 10 attachment. In that instance, the team has the right to convert the contract to a two-way deal. The Sixers already have their two-way spots filled with Marial Shayok and Norvel Pelle, but things can certainly change. If a two-way deal is not offered off the Exhibit 10, the player can be waived and then sign with the team’s G-League affiliate for up to $50,000, more than a general G-League contract.

Brand already made it a point to increase the depth behind Joel Embiid, signing veterans Al Horford and Kyle O’Quinn.

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NBA summer league: Alley-oops aplenty from Zhaire Smith and Norvel Pelle as Sixers hold on to win opener

usa_zhaire_smith_summer_league_philadelphia_sixers.jpg
USA Today Images/Stephen R. Sylvanie

NBA summer league: Alley-oops aplenty from Zhaire Smith and Norvel Pelle as Sixers hold on to win opener

For the time being, we mostly have to rely on our imagination in projecting what the Sixers will look like in 2019-20.

However, we now have some idea — albeit, a very limited one — of what the Sixers will have in a few young members of their bench after the team’s first summer league game.

They beat the Bucks on Friday in Las Vegas, 107-106, holding off a late run from Milwaukee. The Sixers won despite turning the ball over twice in a panicky final 20 seconds. Sterling Brown's heave from near half court at the buzzer would have given Milwaukee a wild win.

Here are observations on the team’s opening game: 

• The Sixers’ first two baskets were high on the sensational scale.

Shake Milton got the assist on both, the first a fast-break alley-oop to Zhaire Smith, the second a lob to big man Norvel Pelle. The Sixers’ center, who recently received a two-way contract, added a second dunk about a minute later off a wraparound pass from Smith.

 

It sure didn’t take long to be reminded that several of the Sixers’ young players are standout athletes.

• Smith’s first-quarter alley-oop was not a fluke — he added a spectacular one in the second quarter and a reverse alley-oop late in the third.

The 20-year-old had 10 points on 5 of 8 shooting, five assists and two turnovers. Outside of the dunks, Smith’s passing and his decision-making in the pick-and-roll were positives Friday.

• Summer league games are often very disjointed, a product of throwing a collection of players with just a few days of practice together out onto the court. But, when Milton was on the floor, the Sixers’ offense had some semblance of cohesion. The second-year guard played under control and pushed the pace when appropriate.

Unfortunately for Milton, he just couldn’t get his jumper to fall Friday. He finished with 15 points on 2 for 14 shooting, seven assists and four turnovers. 

• The Sixers’ defense, anchored by Pelle and 7-foot-4 Christ Koumadje, played well overall.

It helps to have strong individual defenders in Smith and Matisse Thybulle, but Pelle and Koumadje’s communication and ability to deter penetration were also noticeable. The two were, however, overzealous — to say the least — in their efforts to protect the rim, combining for 16 fouls.

Pelle had 12 points, seven rebounds, three blocks and two steals. He committed nine fouls (you foul out after 10 in summer league).

• Koumadje is an intriguing prospect. He’s agile for his height, has a solid sense for team defense and rolled well to the rim on a couple of occasions. His size also allowed him to throw down five dunks.

Like with 7-foot-3 Boban Marjanovic, stepping out to defend centers with shooting range and switching onto guards are issues.

In 14 minutes, Koumadje had 11 points, seven rebounds, five blocks and seven fouls.

With Pelle already locked into a two-way contract, it would be surprising if the Sixers gave the other spot to Koumadje. He would, however, make sense as an early pick in the G League draft for the Delaware Blue Coats. 

• Thybulle said Monday that his main goal in summer league was to get comfortable. He seemed to still be adjusting to the pro game and a return to man-to-man defense Friday after playing zone for the past two seasons at the University of Washington. The 6-foot-5 wing gambled often on defense and had four turnovers. He fouled the Bucks' Daulton Hommes on a three-pointer with 19.5 seconds remaining and the Sixers leading by four points.

That said, there were numerous positives for Thybulle, including a spot-up three-pointer from the left wing in the second quarter, three steals and several sharp close-outs on Bucks shooters.

• While it was not a major revelation, Marial Shayok, the No. 54 pick in this year’s draft, gave a glimpse of his skill navigating around screens and scoring off the dribble. Shayok had a team-high 19 points in 21 minutes, including a number of important baskets in the fourth quarter, and made 3 of 6 shots from three-point range.

Another shooter, Terry Harris — Tobias Harris' younger brother — did not see the floor Friday.

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