Dallas Mavericks

NBA free agency rumors: Boban Marjanovic to sign deal with Dallas Mavericks

NBA free agency rumors: Boban Marjanovic to sign deal with Dallas Mavericks

The Tobi and Bobi Show will not get another season together in Philadelphia.

Boban Marjanovic is finalizing a deal with the Dallas Mavericks, the New York Times' Marc Stein reports.

The enormous and charismatic center came to the Sixers from the Los Angeles Clippers along with Mike Scott and best friend Tobias Harris. Marjanovic actually received the most significant playing time of his NBA career in 22 regular season games with the Sixers. He served as Joel Embiid’s backup through the team’s first-round series against the Brooklyn Nets. He was actually quite effective until the Toronto Raptors essentially played him off the court.

Standing at 7-foot-3, Marjanovic has always struggled to stay with quicker and more athletic centers, but he is incredibly skilled for a player of his stature. The 30-year-old Serbian enters his fifth NBA season and will join his fifth team after stints with the San Antonio Spurs, Detroit Pistons, Clippers and Sixers.

He also provided Sixers fans with plenty of fun moments and recently starred in the movie John Wick: Chapter 3 — Parabellum. 

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Sixers' bench still 'a legitimate question' with playoffs looming

Sixers' bench still 'a legitimate question' with playoffs looming

If there’s one thing the Philadelphia media can count on with Brett Brown, it’s that he’ll always give a thoughtful response.

Whatever question you ask, whether it’s something he’s answered a million times or a flat out bad question, Brown will give a detailed answer.

But after a reporter in Dallas on Monday asked Brown about the Sixers’ depth following a 122-102 loss to the Mavericks at American Airlines Center (see observations), the head coach was short and sweet.

“I think it’s a legitimate question.”

That’s it. No elaboration — just a nod to the reporter and on to the next question.

Brown didn’t say any more and he didn’t have to. With no Joel Embiid and no Jimmy Butler, this seemed like a good opportunity for some of the Sixers’ reserves to step up against the Luka Doncic-less Mavs.

Instead, the bench was outscored, 62-28, and fill-in starters Jonah Bolden and James Ennis combined to go 2 of 12 from the field for six points. 

The performance was particularly disappointing for Bolden, who shined in the team’s win in Minnesota. With the backup center role still a question mark for the playoffs, Bolden failed to seize another opportunity Monday and is still entrenched in a battle with veteran Boban Marjanovic for minutes.

It looks like Ennis will be the first wing off the bench come postseason. He’s been up and down since his arrival at the trade deadline and has recently been dealing with a bruised quad that caused him to miss two games. The Sixers need him to play strong perimeter defense and hit open threes — neither of which he was able to do Monday.

Even Mike Scott, who’s been a solid contributor and has basically taken over as the Sixers’ sixth man since coming over from the Clippers, struggled in Dallas. He went just 1 of 5 from the field and 0 of 4 from three. 

T.J. McConnell was the lone bright spot off the bench with 15 points in 17 minutes. The backup point guard is what he is. He can give you a spark for 10-15 minutes a game and be lethal in the midrange. He’ll also struggle to defend bigger and/or quicker guards.

At this point, there isn’t much Brown or the Sixers can do to remedy their situation. Jonathon Simmons couldn’t show enough to stay in the rotation. Amir Johnson isn’t the same player he was last season. Furkan Korkmaz is coming back from an injury and quite frankly hasn’t been that effective when healthy. Rookie Zhaire Smith has just missed too much time to be asked to have a role in the playoffs. Two-way rookie Shake Milton won’t be eligible for the playoffs and also had his issues against the Mavericks. 

If Brown decides to roll with a nine-man rotation in the playoffs, you’re looking at Scott, Ennis, McConnell and some combination of Bolden and Marjanovic as the reserves. Because of how elite the starting unit is, you won’t need much from those players. If they can give the Sixers 10 solid minutes a game each, they’ll be fine.

But can they do that? Even the usually meticulous Brown doesn’t have an answer.

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Sixers at Mavericks: 3 storylines to watch and how to live stream the game

Sixers at Mavericks: 3 storylines to watch and how to live stream the game

The Sixers (49-27) are in Dallas to take on the Mavericks (30-46) in their final matchup of the season. The Sixers are without Joel Embiid (load management) and Jimmy Butler (back tightness). Jonah Bolden and James Ennis III are expected to start in their places.

Here are the essentials for tonight's game:

• When: 8:30 p.m. ET with Sixers Pregame Live at 7:30 p.m.
• Where: Wells Fargo Center 
• Broadcast: NBC Sports Philadelphia
• Live stream: NBCSportsPhiladelphia.com and the NBC Sports MyTeams app

And here are three storylines to watch:

The rookie impressing

Bolden had an impressive performance filling in for Embiid against the Minnesota Timberwolves Saturday night, finishing with a career-high 19 points, including five three-pointers, to go along with his eight rebounds. Between Boban Marjanovic, Amir Johnson and Bolden, the Sixers are still trying to figure out what to do with Embiid’s backup minutes come playoff time, but if Bolden can continue to play like he did the other night, signs would point to seeing Bolden in the playoffs.

From deep

The Sixers have done a solid job shooting the three-ball over the past two games, averaging 48.2 percent, and Brett Brown says he wants there to be an even bigger focus on shooting the three. He wants his players hunting threes and continuously respacing the floor. And in a game like tonight against a Mavericks team that is averaging nearly 40 three-point attempts per game over the last two months, that becomes even more important.

Last time seeing Dirk

Though Dirk Nowitzki’s retirement hasn’t been made official, tonight will likely be the last time we see the Sixers match up against him. I’m reminded of this past All-Star game when Dirk hit a three with Ben Simmons guarding him, and Nowitzki yelled out, "Thanks kid!" (for letting him shoot). So just sit back and enjoy ... 

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