T.J. Warren

Sixers-Suns observations: A real letdown at home

Sixers-Suns observations: A real letdown at home


The Sixers haven’t had an outing like this in a while, a letdown game, especially on their home court. 

The Suns came into the Wells Fargo Center and took this one, 115-101, on Monday night. The last time the Sixers lost to a sub-.500 team was nearly a month ago to the Kings. 

But there is more to the Suns’ rocky record: there is Devin Booker. The Suns’ high-scoring guard dropped a season-high 46 points in their ninth win of the season. Booker, coming off a 38-point performance against the Celtics, started off 2 for 11 in the first quarter and then exploded after finding a rhythm. 

• Ben Simmons played through the flu. He didn’t think he would be able to play, staying in bed until noon with a 7 p.m. tipoff. Still, Brett Brown started Simmons and the rookie ended up performing better than most of the Sixers. Simmons had 20 points, eight rebounds, seven assists and six steals in 36 minutes. 

"Honestly, not great," Simmons said of how he felt. "But I played, so if I didn't play then you'd know something's wrong."

• JJ Redick (25 points) tried to shoot the Sixers back into the game. After going 0 for 5 from long range through three quarters, he dropped 13 points in the fourth. The Sixers cut the deficit to five with 4:49 to go, but the Suns stepped on the gas to close it out with a 16-3 run. 

• Joel Embiid demolished two of Alex Len’s shot attempts with a pair of massive blocks. He had yet another double-double with 22 points and 12 rebounds in 34 minutes. 

• Robert Covington is back in a shooting skid. He went 2 for 10 from three-point range in 34 minutes. 

• The Suns entered the game 8-16, last in points allowed (115.8), tied for third-highest opponent three-point shooting percentage (38.4), and fifth highest in opponent field goal percentage (47.1). The Sixers shot just 23.3 percent from three. 

• Josh Jackson had been in the mix of draft prospects when the Sixers had the third pick (pre-Celtics trade). The Suns ended up selecting Jackson fourth overall. The rookie showed his athleticism and speed. He isn’t putting up massive numbers off the bench (seven points, three rebounds), but played with high energy and feistiness trying to pick off steals. 

• The Sixers shot a perfect 16 for 16 from the line but gave up 22 points off 14 turnovers. 

• Injury/inactive update: T.J. McConnell (left shoulder), Justin Anderson (left leg) and Markelle Fultz (right shoulder) were out. Jahlil Okafor was inactive, as was Furkan Korkmaz who is on a G League assignment. Brandon Knight (left ACL), Davon Reed (left meniscus) and Alan Williams (right meniscus) were sidelined for the Suns.

• Amir Johnson and Tyson Chandler battled like it was 2006. The bigs have been in the league since 2005 and 2001, respectively. 

• Allen Iverson and former Eagle Brian Westbrook were at the game. Westbrook spoke to the Sixers during training camp as well. 

NBA Notes: Dwyane Wade to reportedly join Cavs, reunite with LeBron James

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NBA Notes: Dwyane Wade to reportedly join Cavs, reunite with LeBron James

CLEVELAND -- Together again: LeBron and D-Wade. Just like old times.

Dwyane Wade has decided to sign with the Cleveland Cavaliers and reunite with LeBron James, a person familiar with the situation told the Associated Press on Tuesday night.

Wade is expected to clear waivers on Wednesday and then join the Cavs, according to the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal cannot be completed until the 12-time All-Star goes through the waiver process.

In Cleveland, Wade will be reunited with James, his close friend, former Miami teammate and a player he confided in before signing with his hometown Chicago Bulls last year.

Wade and James won two NBA titles together during four seasons with the Heat and will now chase another one with the Cavs, who have been revamped after losing to Golden State in last season's Finals.

On Monday, James said he would love to play with Wade again.

"He brings another championship pedigree, championship DNA," James said at Cleveland's media day. "He brings another player to the team who can get guys involved, can make plays and also has a great basketball mind. ... I hope we can bring him here. I would love to have him" (see full story).

Suns: Warren signs 4-year, $50 million extension
PHOENIX -- T.J. Warren has signed a $50 million, four-year contract extension with the Phoenix Suns.

The 6-foot-8 forward, nicknamed "Tony Buckets" by teammates, is entering his fourth NBA season. He averaged career highs of 14.4 points and 5.1 rebounds over 66 games last season. After the All-Star break, he averaged 17.6 points and shot 56 percent from the field.

The team announced the deal Tuesday.

Warren was the 17th overall pick out of North Carolina State in the 2014 draft after earning ACC player of the year honors and breaking the school's season scoring record, set 39 years earlier by David Thompson.

Suns general manager Ryan McDonough says Warren has improved every year and is expected to continue his development as he approaches his prime.

Thunder: GM Presti evolves, surrounds Westbrook with stars
OKLAHOMA CITY -- Sam Presti has evolved with the times.

Oklahoma City's general manager is perhaps best known for drafting Kevin Durant, James Harden and Russell Westbrook. Over the years, instead of adding big-name free agents and making blockbuster trades, he has added relatively inexpensive players around his stars and built through the draft.

His plans have mostly worked. The Thunder have played in the Western Conference Finals four times and the NBA Finals once since Presti took the job in 2007, and both Durant and Westbrook have won MVP awards.

Not everything has been rosy. Presti couldn't work out a contract extension with Harden in 2012. And last year, Durant left Oklahoma City for Golden State. Durant recently criticized Thunder management for failing to put the right players around him to compete for a title.

In a perfectly timed move, Presti shook the NBA by trading for 10-time All-Star Carmelo Anthony. The Thunder already had traded for four-time All-Star Paul George in the offseason. With the addition of the kind of talent Durant so desperately wanted in Oklahoma City, it appears Presti has turned over a new leaf. The man who always has focused on the process has shifted gears and built a super team in a matter of months (see full story).