Simmons: ‘I feel like I’m in a good place’

Ben Simmons returned to Philadelphia for the first time as an active player on Tuesday night, and it appeared it would be an easy night for the Nets as the 76ers were without Joel Embiid, James Harden, and Tyrese Maxey, who were all out due to injuries.

However, Tobias Harris had a game and season-high 24 points, De’Anthony Melton added 22 points, including a career-high tying six threes, and Paul Reed chipped in with season-highs of 19 points and 10 rebounds off the bench as the 76ers defeated the Nets 115-106 at Wells Fargo Center.

Back to Simmons, who had a tremendous all-around game with 11 points, seven rebounds, 11 assists, three steals, and three blocks, he was booed during introductions, and he was booed every time he touched the ball. Last season, he came to Philly as a member of the Nets as he was dealt to Brooklyn before last season’s trade deadline, but he was a spectator due to injury. Throughout that game, he was booed heavily. However, it was not as bad this time.

“I thought it was going to be louder,” Simmons said after the loss.

We all expected more from the Philly faithful, but with Embiid, Harden, and Maxey out, the fans probably did not think Philadelphia had much chance, which may have impacted the crowd’s energy.

The number one overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft has played well in the last three games as he’s averaging 16 points, 7.6 assists, and 9.3 rebounds per contest, and according to him, he’s in a good place.

“I feel like I’m in a good place to come in here and just play basketball,” Simmons said. “I’m happy. I’m doing what I love, so being able to be out there and experience it was amazing. Obviously, we did not get the result that we wanted. It’s frustrating to lose a game like that, but I think it’s a great step forward.”

Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving liked how Simmons handled his return to Philadelphia.

He [Ben Simmons] did pretty good to me,” Durant, who had 20 points, said. “You never know how he really feels about it; you know what I’m saying? Unless you ask him, but he looked solid to me.”

Irving, who had a team-high 23 points, added: “I think he (Ben Simmons) did well. Obviously, we wanted to focus on our team win, but the crowd is not going anywhere, so it’s good to hear their loud voices, hear their boos, and next time hopefully, that motivates us to go out there and get that win a little bit more. We had the lead earlier in the first half, and then we gave it up, so think he did well.”

It appears Simmons is in a better place mentally and physically, and maybe the time away has humbled him, which is always a good thing. In the end, he’s cleared another hurdle. 

Embiid: ‘It’s all about doing whatever it takes to win a championship’

Joel Embiid had a monster game on Sunday night against the Jazz, and the 76ers needed all of it. Embiid scored a career-high 59 points (19-28 FG, 20-24 FT) to go with 11 rebounds, eight assists, and seven blocks as the 76ers defeated the Jazz 105-98 at Wells Fargo Center. 

According to Stathead, Embiid’s 59-point outing is the fifth-highest-scoring game in team history. In addition, he became the first player to reach such totals in the same game since blocked shots became a statistic in 1973-74. 

Embiid scored 26 of the team’s 27 fourth-quarter points and blocked five shots in the quarter. He did it all for Philadelphia.

The points were great, but the blocks and rebounds impressed 76ers head coach Doc Rivers.

I’ve seen guys score a lot of points. I haven’t seen guys score a lot of points, rebound, and then the block shots,” Rivers said after the in. “That was impressive. He was getting everything. I’ve never seen a more dominating performance when you look at both offense and defense.”

Embiid, who had 42 points against the Hawks on Saturday night, has scored 101 points in the last two games. According to the five-time All-Star, it’s all about winning.

“We still have a lot more to accomplish,” he said. “We can talk about whatever tonight, stats and all of that tonight, but that’s not what matters. It’s all about doing whatever it takes to win a championship. That would be the best thing ever. It doesn’t matter if I’m averaging 10 points, 30, or whatever; if we win a championship, that’s all that matters.”

Tyrese Maxey scored 18 points for the 76ers on Sunday night, and what impressed him was seeing Embiid score 59 points on the second half of a back-to-back.

“He’s [Joel Embiid] a soldier,” Maxey said. “He was coming in saying his shoulder was hurting and stuff like that. For him to go out there and play and give it his all is huge. It’s huge for this team and huge for this organization. Your best player, after a 42-point performance last night on a back-to-back, he comes out here and dominates again. Has 59-points and seven blocks and ten boards, and eight assists. Just his presence was really good tonight. He made shots. He made free throws. He’s just good at basketball. It’s that simple.”

This was an exceptional performance by Embiid, but again, most importantly, the 76ers got two big wins over the weekend to even their record at 7-7. It’s still early, but this would be a good time for Philly to start stringing together some wins.

76ers exercise team options on Maxey, Springer

The Philadelphia 76ers have exercised the fourth-year contract option for Tyrese Maxey and the third-year contract option for Jaden Springer; both will take effect for the 2023-24 season, the team announced Sunday.  

Maxey played in 75 games (74 starts) in his second NBA season in 2021-22, upping his scoring average from 8.0 to 17.5 while shooting .485 from the floor. The third-year guard’s points-per-game increase ranked as the largest among second-year players last season, while his .427 mark from three-point range was third in the NBA. Maxey reached the 20-point mark on 25 occasions, including five games of 30-plus points. 

After seven games this season, Maxey is averaging 22.6 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 3.4 assists per contest on .504 shooting (.468 3FG).

Originally selected by the 76ers with the No. 21 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft out of Kentucky, the 21-year-old has been impressive, and at some point, there could be a max contract in his future.

The 20-year-old Springer, who was selected 28th overall in the 2021 NBA Draft, has played mainly in the G League, where he played in 19 career G League games (18 starts) for the Delaware Blue Coats, averaging 14.9 points, 4.7 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.5 steals in 26.8 minutes per contest. Springer helped lead Delaware to its second consecutive appearance in the G League Finals. 

Named to the 2021-22 Southeastern Conference All-Freshman Team during his lone collegiate season at Tennessee, Springer led the Volunteers in scoring (12.5 ppg), three-point percentage (.435 3FG), and free throws made (81). 

76ers begin season in Boston, battle Knicks on Christmas Day

For the first time since 2019, the Philadelphia 76ers will play on Christmas Day as they travel to Madison Square Garden to battle the Knicks, the team announced Wednesday.

Philadelphia will tip off the NBA season against the Boston Celtics at TD Garden on Tuesday, Oct. 18, in what will serve as the league’s first game of the new campaign.

The 76ers will be on national television 34 times next season.   

Philly’s home opener will be against the Milwaukee Bucks on Thursday, Oct. 20. In addition, Ben Simmons and the Nets come to Philly on November 22, which should be a lot of fun.

Five of its first seven games are coming against 2021-22 playoff qualifiers. The 76ers will also conclude the regular season with 12 consecutive matchups against playoff teams from the previous year.

Schedule Notes:

  • The NBA announced that no games will be played on Election Day, Tuesday, Nov. 8, 2022, in an effort to focus on promoting and encouraging fans to make a plan to vote during midterm elections.

  • Philadelphia will host the defending champion Golden State Warriors on Friday, Dec. 16 (7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN).

  • The 76ers will have 17 weekend games (nine Fridays, five Saturdays, three Sundays) at The Center.

  • Philadelphia is slated for 13 sets back-to-back games, four of which will come on the road in March.

  • Also in March, Philadelphia will have 12 away games, marking the most games away from The Center for a single month this season.

  • Philadelphia’s longest road trip of the season runs eight days and five games in length from Jan. 14-21. This includes games against Utah (Saturday, Jan. 14, 10 p.m. ET), the Los Angeles Lakers (Sunday, Jan. 15, 9:30 p.m. ET, NBA TV), the LA Clippers (Tuesday, Jan. 17, 10 p.m. ET, TNT), Portland (Thursday, Jan. 19, 10 p.m., ET), and Sacramento (Saturday, Jan. 21, 10 p.m. ET).

  • The 76ers’ longest homestand of 2022-23 is seven games over 15 days from Dec. 9-23. This stretch includes games against the Lakers (Friday, Dec. 9, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), Hornets (Sunday, Dec. 11, 6 p.m. ET), Kings (Tuesday, Dec. 13, 7 p.m. ET), Warriors (Friday, Dec. 16, 7:30 p.m. ET, ESPN), Raptors (Monday, Dec. 19, 7 p.m. ET), Pistons (Wednesday, Dec. 21, 7 p.m. ET), and Clippers (Friday, Dec. 23, 7 p.m. ET).22-23_ScheduleRelease

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NBA unveils schedule for 2022-23 regular season

On Wednesday, the NBA released its complete game schedule for the 2022-23 regular season.  

The 77th NBA regular season will tip off on Oct. 18, 2022, and conclude on April 9, 2023. The 2023 NBA Play-In Tournament will take place from April 11-14, followed by the start of the 2023 NBA Playoffs on April 15.

Game 1 of the 2023 NBA Finals is scheduled to be played on June 1.

Opening Night

The regular season will begin on Oct. 18 with a doubleheader on TNT. In the first game, the Philadelphia 76ers will visit the reigning Eastern Conference champion Boston Celtics (7:30 p.m. ET). In the second game, the defending NBA champion Golden State Warriors will receive their championship rings before hosting the Los Angeles Lakers (10 p.m. ET).

Christmas Day

Five games will be played on Christmas Day for the 15th year in a row, with ESPN or ABC televising each matchup. 

NBA on Christmas Day will tip off on ESPN as the Knicks host the 76ers (noon ET).

The next three games will air on both ESPN and ABC, with the Lakers visiting the Mavericks (2:30 p.m. ET).

The Celtics will host the Bucks in a 2022 Eastern Conference Semifinals rematch (5 p.m. ET).

The Grizzlies make their Christmas Day debut when they visit the Warriors in a 2022 Western Conference Semifinals rematch (8 p.m. ET). 

The Christmas Day schedule will conclude with the Nuggets meeting the Suns in Denver on ESPN (10:30 p.m. ET).

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

TNT will present a doubleheader as part of Martin Luther King Jr. Day on Jan. 16. In the first game, the Atlanta Hawks will host the Heat in a rematch of a 2022 Eastern Conference First Round series (3:30 p.m. ET). In the second game, the teams with the two best records in the 2021-22 regular season will meet when the Suns (NBA-best 64-18 last season) visit the Grizzlies (56-26 last season) at 6 p.m. ET, marking Memphis’ 21st annual Martin Luther King Jr. Day Celebration Game.

NBA TV will also televise two games on Martin Luther King Jr. Day, with the Celtics visiting the Charlotte Hornets (1 p.m. ET) and the Lakers hosting the Houston Rockets (10:30 p.m. ET).

Election Day

As Election Day approaches, the NBA and its teams will continue to encourage fans to make a plan to vote and participate in the civic process. New this season, all 30 teams will play on Monday, Nov. 7, on the day before Election Day, when the NBA will help promote voter participation.

NBA Rivals Week

Classic and budding rivalries between teams and players will take center stage for NBA Rivals Week during the week of Jan. 23. A new highlight of the regular-season schedule, NBA Rivals Week, will feature 11 nationally televised games across four networks over five days from Jan. 24–28. Rivalries will be the focus of all nine games across TNT, ESPN, and ABC that week, in addition to two games on NBA TV.

The complete game and broadcast schedule for NBA Rivals Week, which will include four rematches from the 2022 NBA Playoffs, is available here.

2022 NBA Finals Rematches

The Warriors and Celtics will meet for the first time since the 2022 NBA Finals on Dec. 10 in San Francisco on ABC (8:30 p.m. ET), the first of seven regular-season games on Saturday nights at 8:30 p.m. ET on ABC.

The second and final regular-season matchup between the two defending conference champions will occur on Jan. 19 in Boston on TNT (7:30 p.m. ET).

Final Day of Regular Season

All 30 teams will play on the final day of the regular season(April 9). The seven games between Eastern Conference teams and the one interconference game (Rockets at Washington Wizards) will begin at 1 p.m. ET, and the seven games between Western Conference teams will start at 3:30 p.m. ET. ESPN will televise a doubleheader, with the matchups to be determined at a later date.

Schedule Highlights

All 30 teams are scheduled to make at least one appearance on TNT or ESPN in the 2022-23 regular season. The NBA on TNT, ESPN, ABC, and NBA TV will present flexible scheduling throughout the regular season to provide the most compelling matchups to a national audience.

The 2023 NBA All-Star weekend will be Feb. 17-19 in Salt Lake City.

The complete schedule is available below:

2022-23-NBA-Schedule-By-Date-8-17-22

 

76ers announce preseason schedule

The Philadelphia 76ers announced their 2022 preseason schedule on Friday, featuring four exhibition games.

The slate begins when the 76ers travel to Brooklyn on Monday, Oct.3, to take on Ben Simmons and the Nets at Barclays Center. 

The team then returns home to face Cleveland on Wednesday, Oct. 5, which will be followed by a second meeting with the Cavaliers at 7 p.m. ET on Monday, Oct. 10, on the road at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. 

Philadelphia’s preseason slate wraps up at home against the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday, Oct. 12.

The 76ers, led by Joel Embiid, re-signed James Harden, added Danuel House, P.J. Tucker, and D’Anthony Melton in the offseason. Philly hopes to make it to the Eastern Conference finals and NBA Finals for the first time since 2001.

76ers’ Harden: ‘This is where I want to win, and I think we have the pieces to accomplish that goal’

On Wednesday, the Philadelphia 76ers made it official as they announced the re-signing of James Harden.

According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, it’s a two-year deal worth $68.6 million with a player option in Year 2. Harden took a pay cut after opting out of his contract, which would have paid him $47 million next season. With the pay cut, Philadelphia was able to add P.J. Tucker and Danuel House in free agency. In addition, they acquired De’Anthony Melton in a draft-day trade with the Grizzlies.

Harden, who was acquired by the 76ers as part of a five-player trade with the Nets in February, averaged 22.0 points (.410 FG, .330 3FG, .877 FT), 7.7 rebounds, 10.3 assists, 1.3 steals, and 37.2 minutes in 65 games played (all starts) between Brooklyn and Philadelphia.

In 21 games with the 76ers, he averaged 21.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 10.3 assists per contest in 21 games. Also, last season, the 13-year veteran was named to the NBA’s 75th Anniversary Team.

“This is where I want to be. This is where I want to win, and I think we have the pieces to accomplish that goal,” Harden said via a press release announcing the move. “From my first day with the 76ers organization, the team and the fans have helped me feel at home here in Philadelphia. I’m excited to build off of last season, and I can’t wait to get out on the court with the guys and start this journey.”   

76ers head coach Doc Rivers added: “I couldn’t be happier with James’ decision to commit to our organization. Over the last two years, we have taken major steps toward our ultimate goal of becoming champions,” said 76ers Head Coach Doc Rivers. “James shares our drive to win a title, and he believes being a 76er gives him the best opportunity to do that. Together, we will work tirelessly to achieve our goal.”  

Before last season with the Nets and 76ers, Harden spent parts of nine seasons (2012-21) with the Rockets. During that time, Harden was named the 2017-18 NBA MVP after leading the NBA in points per game (30.4) and finishing third in assists (8.8). The 10-time All-Star was also among the top-three vote-getters for the award each season from 2016-20. 

“James Harden is one of the greatest players in NBA history and a future Hall of Famer,” said 76ers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey. “His mission is to win an NBA title, and we’re thrilled that he will continue that journey here in Philadelphia… I believe we’ve only scratched the surface of what’s possible in his partnership with Joel and this talented roster.”  

76ers to build new arena in Center City Philadelphia

Josh Harris and David Blitzer, Managing Partners of the Philadelphia 76ers, announced Thursday morning the creation of a new development company, 76 Devcorp, responsible for developing the future home of the Philadelphia 76ers, which will be called 76 Place.

According to the team, the new, privately-funded arena is anticipated to cost approximately $1.3 billion, and the arena is expected to be completed in time for the 2031-2032 NBA season.

The 76ers evaluated a few potential sites before determining Fashion District Philadelphia as its preferred location. The site was selected primarily due to it being the most transit-rich location in all of Philadelphia, the ability to redevelop an existing commercial space, and the opportunity to play a role in the continued revitalization of Center City.  

Led by Philadelphia business leader David Adelman, in partnership with Harris Blitzer Sports Entertainment (HBSE), the Development Corporation is pursuing a privately-funded, purpose-built sports and entertainment arena, 76 Place, that will be located on a portion of the current site of Fashion District Philadelphia and serve as an anchor to Center City.  

“The Philadelphia 76ers are a storied Philadelphia institution with a proven track record of investing in their community,” Harris said. “That’s why we’re committed to building a world-class home in the heart of the City and creating a privately-funded arena that strengthens ties within the local community through investments that prioritize equity, inclusivity, and accessibility.”

Adelman, the CEO of Campus Apartments, Co-Founder of FS Investments, and Founder of Darco Capital, was appointed Chairman of the new development company with a mandate to locate, design, and develop a destination. 

“The Philadelphia 76ers’ extensive evaluation of potential sites for an arena over the past two years culminates today with plans to pursue the Fashion District Philadelphia site as the proposed new home of the team,” said Adelman. “The chosen location is a key step in the process of developing a destination that provides Center City and surrounding communities with an economic engine generating activity through 76ers and youth games, concerts, events, and more.” 

A Center City arena would look fantastic, and 76ers fans around the Philadelphia area should be happy about the possibilities. 

Map of Arena’s location

James Harden’s new contract is a win for 76ers

James Harden is returning to the Philadelphia 76ers, which is not a surprise. However, the deal he signed to return to the 76ers is a surprise.

According to the The Athletic’s Shams Charania, Harden is taking a $15 million pay cut for next season that allowed Philadelphia to elevate its roster — with the sole focus on a championship run in 2023. Harden opted out of his $47 million player option and now plans to sign a new two-year deal with a player option in the second year of the contract.

With the pay cut, Harden will make around $32 million next season, and if he plays well, he can simply opt-out after the season and negotiate a new contract with the 76ers or somewhere else.

This move shows two things; Harden is serious about trying to win a championship in Philly as they added P.J. Tucker and Danuel House thus far in free agency and acquired De’Anthony Melton in a draft-day trade with the Grizzlies.

Secondly, Harden is betting himself. The 13-year veteran wants to show that he can still play at an elite level. With the 76ers, he averaged 21.0 points, 7.7 rebounds, and 10.3 assists per contest in 21 games, but at times, he seemed to have a difficult time getting his own shot at a high level. However, this offseason, it appears Harden is putting in the work to be in better shape.

In the end, it’s all good news for the 76ers.

Harden, a three-time NBA scoring champion (2018-20) is one of four players in league history to have multiple seasons averaging at least 20 points, five rebounds and 10 assists. He’s in the midst of the third such season of his career. The only other players to do so more than once are Russell Westbrook (five times) and Hall of Famers Magic Johnson (three times) and Oscar Robertson (five times).

Spurs’ Popovich on return of Brett Brown: I’m thrilled to be able to hire such a good coach, human being, and dinner partner’

A familiar face has returned to San Antonio as the Spurs added former 76ers head coach Brett Brown as an assistant coach, the team announced Thursday.

Brown joins Mitch Johnson and Matt Nielsen on head coach Gregg Popovich’s staff.

“I’m thrilled to be able to hire such a good coach, human being, and dinner partner,” said Popovich via a press release from the team.

Before leading the 76ers, the 61-year-old Brown served as an assistant coach on Popovich’s staff in San Antonio for 11 seasons from 2002-13. He was a member of the Spurs organization for their first four championship seasons (1999, 2003, 2005, and 2007).  

Brown originally joined the Spurs as a member of their basketball operations department in 1998-99 but left after the season to become the Head Coach of the Sydney Kings of the Australian National Basketball League (NBL). He rejoined the Spurs in July of 2002 as the team’s Assistant Coach/Director of Player Development and was moved to the bench as an assistant coach prior to the 2006-07 season. Brown was named 76ers head coach in 2013, and during his time in Philadelphia, the team posted three-straight 50-win seasons from 2017-20 and made three straight postseason appearances.

In addition to his time with the Spurs, Brown coached in Australia. He started as an assistant coach with the Melbourne Tigers before being named head coach of the North Melbourne Giants in 1993 and earned NBL Coach of the Year honors in 1994 after leading the Giants to the National Championship. Brown also served as head coach of the Australian National Team from 2009-2012, leading the Boomers during the 2012 Summer Olympics and again from 2019-20.