Happening Elsewhere: Dammit, Raul

Happening Elsewhere: Dammit, Raul

Raul Ibanez's 2011 NLDS Splits for the Phillies: .200/.200/.400
Raul Ibanez's 2012 ALDS Splits for the Yankess Through Three Games: .600/.666/1.500

Remember last year when Raul Ibanez hit a fly ball to deep right in
Game Five of the NLDS, and the TBS cameraman panned up and out like it
was gonna be a second-decker or something, and instead it dropped
innocuously into Lance Berkman's glove a couple feet short of the track?
That was frustrating—especially considering how, you know, the Phillies
didn't score at all that game and they ended up losing the game 1-0 and
the series 3-2.

Well, good news, everybody: Raul did hit a couple of those fly balls
in the playoffs last night, and this time they actually dropped on the
other side of the fence. Unfortunately, it was for the Yankees, the
second-to-last ranked team in our MLB Playoff Bandwagon Rankings, and
they came against our #1 team, the Baltimore Orioles, at the worst
possible time for them.

The first shot came off O's closer Jim Johnson in the bottom of the
ninth with New York down 2-1, when Yanks manager Joe Girardi made the
controversial-but-not-really decision to sub in Rauuuul for Alex
Rodriguez, who's been slugging at about a Wilson Valdez-caliber clip the
last few past seasons. The move paid off, to say the least, as Raul
deposited a 1-0 pitch about seven rows back in the right field
bleachers, tying the game at 2-2. Nine batters later, Raul decided not
to bother taking the first pitch, and instead blasted the first offering
from reliever Brian Matusz—in the second deck for real this
time—walking off the Yanks in the 12th with a 2-1 series lead.

Of course, we're happy for Raul, the classiest of acts during his
three years in the Red and White—we weren't even mad at him for failing
to go yard in the Chris Carpenter game (though we wanted to strangle
that fucking overzealous cameraman), and for him to become a post-season
legend at the age of 40 is a pretty cool thing. Did it have to be for
the goddamn Yankees, though? Couldn't this have been Jim Thome providing
fourth-act heroics for the plucky, upstart Orioles instead? The Bombers
already have enough natural competitive advantages without getting
pixie-dust sprinklings like this as well.

Anyway, the lesson here is obvious: Next time the Phils make the
playoffs, move the right field wall in about 15 feet. Just to be on the
safe side.

Report: Sixers have shown interest in Timberwolves PG Tyus Jones

Report: Sixers have shown interest in Timberwolves PG Tyus Jones

With Ben Simmons and Jerryd Bayless hurt, the Sixers are still lacking a distributor, and so it makes sense that they've been in contact with the point guard-rich Timberwolves.

According to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical, the Sixers and New Orleans Pelicans have shown interest in T'wolves backup point guard Tyus Jones. 

With fifth overall pick Kris Dunn and Ricky Rubio, Minnesota is set at PG. Jones, 20, is third on the totem pole a year after being drafted 24th overall. 

According to Wojnarowski, the Timberwolves are more inclined to trade Jones than Rubio. 

Jones has a connection to the Sixers in Jahlil Okafor, a former teammate at Duke. Both were one-and-dones for the 2014-15 National Championship team. Jones averaged 11.8 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.6 assists for the Blue Devils. 

He played sparingly as a rookie last season with Minnesota (37 games), averaging 4.2 points and 2.9 assists in 15.5 minutes, but stood out this summer, winning Las Vegas Summer League MVP.

T.J. McConnell has started the majority of the preseason at point guard for the Sixers. Sergio Rodriguez got the nod in the last game against the Pistons. Brett Brown is also looking at Nik Stauskas to fill the spot in a non-traditional role.

Elton Brand announces retirement after 17 NBA seasons

Elton Brand announces retirement after 17 NBA seasons

CAMDEN, N.J. -- Elton Brand walked out to the practice court clad in a gray suit and tie. As he approached the media with his family, the Sixers' players and staff gathered to watch and, more importantly, pay their respect to the news he was about to deliver. 

“After 17 years of playing the game that I love, and it’s been great to me, I’m officially retiring,” Brand said standing next to his wife Shahara. “It’s for real this time. It was a wonderful journey.”

Brand, 37, played 17 seasons in the NBA with a career average of 15.9 points, 8.5 rebounds and 2.1 assists. A two-time All-Star, he recorded four 20-and-10 seasons. 

This summer he signed his final contract, a one-year deal with the Sixers worth $980,431. Brand announced his intention to retire on Thursday and the roster move will be officially completed at the conclusion of training camp. Brand’s retirement clears up a roster space for the Sixers. 

“Me personally, playing, being out there, the mentoring role, it was great. I enjoyed it,” Brand said. “But I really couldn’t be out there giving my all after 17 years, helping the team, being in the right place on defense, and giving the coaching staff the energy they deserve from their players. I thought it was time.”

The Bulls selected Brand with the first overall pick in the 1999 draft out of Duke, a moment he considers a highlight of his career. He played his first two seasons in Chicago, followed by seven with the Clippers. The Sixers signed Brand in July of 2008. He was a member of the team for the next four years, including two playoff runs. Brand played one more season with the Bulls, followed by two with the Hawks. 

His already-lengthy NBA career appeared to be over at the end of the 2014-15 season, but he made a surprise decision to return to the league in January of 2016 with the Sixers. He appeared in 17 games last season, averaging 4.1 points and 3.7 rebounds in 13.2 minutes. 

While Brand was needed to log time because of injuries, including 20-plus on back-to-back nights, his biggest contribution came away from the game. The young team signed Brand to serve as a mentor to players such as fellow Blue Devil Jahlil Okafor, who struggled with off-the-court issues as a rookie. Okafor developed a big-brother relationship with Brand, talking often — and rarely about basketball itself. 

Brand shared his messages of discipline and work ethic across the locker room. He stayed late after practices to work on fundamental drills with then-rookie Richaun Holmes. On game days he often could be seen dressed in a suit, a visualization of professionalism for his teammates. At the end of the season, Brand paid for the team to take a trip to Miami. 

“We felt his presence,” Okafor said. “Having another vet in there, knowing who he is, his accolades, it was a respect factor to him. Whatever he said goes. I remember hearing his voice at halftime if we were playing poor, he would let us know about it. It was good to have somebody on your team tell you you’re playing bad rather than hearing your coach’s mouth all the time.”

Brett Brown described his emotions as "sad" when Brand informed him of his decision. In less than a year of working together, Brown has learned from Brand's NBA experiences. 

"He's as elite in class as anybody I have ever coached," Brown said, adding, "He's got the ingredients that make him, I feel, highly attractable down the road. Surely he's got stuff to offer after this is all done. Compassionate, hard-working, educated, real, tough. He was a great example for our locker room."

Brand plans to spend time away from the game and has not made any decisions on his next career move. He will be accessible to the Sixers and plans to spend time around the team but not in an official role. He has had conversations with the team about possible opportunities in the future, just not right now. 

The Sixers broke out in applause at the conclusion of Brand's announcement. He didn't know they were going to be present and joked that as the "OG" of the team, he doesn't like surprises. Brand wanted a simple no-frills gathering of media, a low-key departure from the game. It was fitting for a career based on quietly putting in hard work. 

“It’s been an honor, it’s been a privilege to play this game, the game that I love, and I’m certainly going to miss it,” Brand said. “But it’s definitely time now.”