They discuss Joel Embiid’s dominance, Ben Simmons’ rookie season, the Embiid/Simmons/Covington trio, Markelle Fultz’s place with the team and much more.
Philadelphia Sixers Wiretap
Joel Embiid is not concerned that his trolling and trash talk will make him a target of other players.
Embiid had a recent run-in with Donovan Mitchell and Kyle Kuzma attempted to dunk on him last week.
“Oh, no,” Embiid quickly answered. “I’m not worried about that. I mean, if those guys, they want to get their feelings hurt, if they’re not strong mentally, that’s not my fault. I think when it comes down to it, if we’ve all got to square up, I mean, I’m 7-foot-2 and I’m a big dude. So I don’t think you want to try me. And I’m African, too.”
Embiid has one of the NBA's most prominent social media presences.
Markelle Fultz is making progress with his shoulder injury but will miss another two to three weeks.
Fultz was examined Sunday by Dr. Ben Kibler, the medical director of the Shoulder Center of Kentucky at the Lexington Clinic, for soreness and scapular muscle imbalance in his right shoulder.
Fultz's soreness is dissipating and the muscle balance is improving.
Fultz will continue with physiotherapy and begin progressing toward full basketball activities.
Fultz played in four games before he was shut down.
Joel Embiid's 46-point, 15-rebound, seven-assist, seven-block game is the first such line in NBA history. The NBA didn't record blocks before 73-74.
"It feels great. I love L.A. I love the Staples Center, so I wanted to come out here and put on a show and I did," Embiid said after the 76ers defeated the Lakers 115-109.
"Too bad there wasn't any trash-talker out there," he said with a smile. "But I still had fun and I got going. I just wanted to be aggressive. That's my new mentality. I can't wait to keep the same momentum."
Embiid went 14-for-20 from the field.
"Joel is special in so many ways," Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo told ESPN. "When he does finally round himself out into complete shape -- he's still catching up to a slow start to the season where he wasn't with us in September -- but everything that's now happening and coming together for him is a function of him building. We've been building him up for what he's doing now, but he's still not at 100 percent. Once he is there, it's going to be very, very encouraging."
Robert Covington and the Philadelphia 76ers are finalizing a four-year, $62 million extension.
The deal will include a $15 million renegotiation bump on Covington's $1.57 million salary this season, plus an additional four years that'll keep Covington under contract through the 2021-22 season.
The balloon payment on the 2017-18 season allows the team increased salary cap space and payroll flexibility for upcoming season.
Covington could have become an unrestricted free agent this offseason.
Covington has become one of the NBA's best three-and-D wings.
While the Philadelphia 76ers have turned the corner towards playing competitive basketball, Brett Brown realizes the team still has a long ways to go after four seasons of struggles.
“Whatever you’re going to write, I hope you make this the loudest," said Brown. "Make it bold. I don’t feel even close to any notion that we’ve arrived. I’m so numb to what we’ve gone through. I just walk and see straight. I don’t get too high. I don’t get too low. I really mean it. It’s not a throwaway line. It’s true. I’m hardened and numb. I’m just doing my job. It’s like, head down, ass up. I’m just moving forward.”
While the 76ers were sacrificing the short-term for the long-term, Brown experienced that in a different way on the sidelines.
“I’m mindful of the years it’s taken,” said Brown.
"He kept that team together and our spirits high,” said Nerlens Noel.
Brett Brown believes Ben Simmons benefited from sitting out his rookie season due to foot surgery as Joel Embiid did after missing what would have been his first two NBA seasons.
“I think the fact that they sat out and got older and bigger and stronger and I think smarter, how could that had not helped them?” said Brown of both Simmons and Embiid “Could they had jumped into the league and done what they are doing? I think they are better off for it.”
Simmons spent a lot of time studying video of point guards with Brown.
“I think it definitely helped,” he said. “But you cannot compare it to actually playing. I think I’ve learned more actually being on the court and playing and seeing different teams and sets and watching.
“But it did pay off being able to watch and learn the game.”
The Philadelphia 76ers are resting Joel Embiid as they begin a West Coast road trip.
Embiid has averaged 27.6 minutes and played in eight of nine games.
The reason Embiid is sitting on Tuesday is due to "load management."
"I follow the instruction of our medical people, and there is completely a thought-out plan why this plan has been recommended," Brett Brown said Monday at the Sixers' practice facility in Camden, New Jersey. "If it requires more information, they will be the ones to explain why they decided to make this recommendation."
The Sixers have won four straight games for the first time since January.
"That means we're growing and we're learning," Embiid said.
The Boston Celtics have long had interest in trading for Jahlil Okafor but view him as more of a project player than an immediate contributor.
Boston is unwilling to trade a first round pick to the 76ers for Okafor, who had his 18-19 rookie scale option declined.
Okafor is seeking a buyout from the 76ers as they continue to seek an asset in return for him on the trade market.
Okafor is out of the 76ers' rotation.
The Philadelphia 76ers continue to seek a trade of Jahlil Okafor after declining their team option on his contract for the 18-19 season.
Bryan Colangelo has remained determined to find an Okafor trade that will bring the Sixers back an asset. The 76ers' ultimate deal point could be centered on future second round draft picks.
The Phoenix Suns have some level of interest in trading for Okafor, especially after their expected trade of Eric Bledsoe.
Okafor has been unable to win minutes in Brett Brown's rotation.