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Will Sixers' preseason trip to China have impact on start to regular season?

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Will Sixers' preseason trip to China have impact on start to regular season?

All of the particulars are falling into place for the Sixers’ 2018-19 season.

Their full preseason schedule was officially released Thursday. The team will open at the Wells Fargo Center on Sept. 28 against Australian professional team Melbourne United of the NBL, before a date with the Orlando Magic on Oct. 1. Then the Sixers will travel more than 7,400 miles for two games against the Dallas Mavericks on Oct. 5 and Oct. 8 as part of the NBA China Games to close out exhibition play.

“We pride ourselves on the unique, international culture we have created here in Philadelphia. It is something that we pay close attention to and it resonates throughout our roster, front office and staff,” head coach and interim general manager Brett Brown said when the Sixers’ participation in the China Games was announced in April. “We are excited to bring our team to China in the fall and connect with the truly great fans of a basketball-rich country.”

“Getting a chance to play all over the world has always been a dream of mine and I’m excited to play in China in October,” Ben Simmons said. “I know the fans there are passionate about basketball and I’m really looking forward to the trip to Shanghai and Shenzhen.”

That initial reaction was to be expected by the Sixers. Two games in China will provide the franchise with a great cultural experience and a massive boost in exposure.

The journey will also come at a cost, mainly in the form of rest. Between the games, practices, meet-and-greets, photo ops and more, there will be minimal time for members of the organization to get a break with the real deal getting started a little over one week later on Oct. 16 in Boston.

Just ask last season’s participants.

“It’s a huge problem,” Golden State’s Draymond Green told reporters last year, per USA Today, about the potential risks on the trip as the Warriors played two games against the Minnesota Timberwolves in China. “You kind of take training camp and break it up. It’s not the norm, so I think it’s a humongous problem.

“You start to risk injury and all of those things, so we have a pretty professional team. Guys get their work in, but it’s still nothing like actual practicing and that tempo. It’s more a risk of injury than the season. We’ll figure it out over the season.”

That sentiment wasn’t limited to the players.

“It’s a great trip, a great experience, but this is not the way to prepare for the season,” Warriors head coach Steve Kerr said. “But that’s alright. We’ll have about a week when we get back (before opening against Houston on Oct. 17), and I’m sure we’ll be fine.”

Of course, the Warriors were indeed fine as they won their third championship in four years. But their 2017-18 season didn’t start without a couple of hiccups. After the trip overseas, Golden State returned to the United States and opened the campaign by dropping two of their first three regular-season games.

The Timberwolves stumbled a bit out of the gate as well with three losses in their first five games.

“That’s kind of getting the jet lag out of your body, to really get to move,” T-Wolves All-Star Jimmy Butler said, via Zone Coverage, of the squad’s plan to refresh after the long-distance trip. “We weren’t going very fast at all. It was all about moving around, sweating a little bit and waking the body up.”

With four of their first eight regular-season games on the road, including a pair of back-to-back sets, the Sixers will have to wake up quickly following their excursion to China.

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Sixers' preseason schedule highlighted by 2 games in China against Mavericks

Sixers' preseason schedule highlighted by 2 games in China against Mavericks

This isn't your typical tune-up.

And the Sixers hope it's the start of a special, not-so-typical season.

The team will play half of its upcoming four-game preseason slate overseas.

The Sixers will close their preseason with a trip to China for a pair of exhibition games against No. 3 overall pick Luka Doncic and the Dallas Mavericks as a part of the NBA China Games 2018.

The two teams will first square off at the Mercedes-Benz Arena in Shanghai on Friday, Oct. 5, at 7:30 a.m. and then again at the Shenzhen Universiade Center in Shenzhen on Monday, Oct. 8, at 8 a.m. Broadcast information for those games is TBD.

This will be first time in Sixers franchise history that the team will be playing in China.

Before their trip to China, the Sixers will play two games at the Wells Fargo Center. First, they'll welcome the NBL's Melbourne United on Friday, Sept. 28 (7 p.m./NBCSP+), and then No. 6 overall pick Mo Bamba and the Orlando Magic on Monday, Oct. 1 (7 p.m/NBCSP).

The Sixers kick off their regular season on the NBA's opening night against the Celtics in Boston on Wednesday, Oct. 16 (8 p.m./TNT). Their home opener is two nights later against the Bulls on Friday, Oct. 18 (7 p.m./TNT).

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Joel Embiid wants to know if LeBron James is having second thoughts

Joel Embiid wants to know if LeBron James is having second thoughts

Having second thoughts, LeBron?

LeBron James shook up the basketball world on Sunday when he spurned the Sixers and Cavaliers to strike a four-year, $153.3 million contract with the Lakers.

While the decision was bound to create major buzz around the league, it was never going to shift the balance of power at the top of the NBA. The Golden State Warriors still hold the crown until someone proves otherwise.

And they don’t plan on giving it up easily.

According to reports, free-agent big man DeMarcus Cousins reached a one-year deal with the Warriors for $5.3 million.

No, that’s not a joke. The team that has won three out of the last four championships added a four-time All-Star who could have received a max contract elsewhere.

That got Sixers center Joel Embiid to thinking about James potentially reversing course on his Hollywood story.

Embiid is referring to the summer of 2015 when Jordan agreed to a long-term deal with the Dallas Mavericks only to change his mind and bolt back to L.A. All it took was Jordan’s Clippers teammates locking him in a house for some in-person coaxing and a bunch of emojis on Twitter.

Well, with the NBA's moratorium period not ending until 12:01 p.m. on July 6, Embiid and the Sixers still have some time to change James’ mind.

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