Evan Turner not worried about contract situation

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Evan Turner not worried about contract situation

Last year, when Jrue Holiday got a contract extension right before the deadline on opening night, it was a load off the point guard’s mind. With no contract talks to worry about, Holiday went out and put together a first half of the season worthy of an All-Star berth.

This year, it’s Evan Turner’s turn to wait on a contract extension. Heading into the last season of his rookie contract, the Sixers have until midnight on Oct. 30 to sign Turner to an extension.

If they do not sign him, Turner can become a restricted free agent at the end of the season.

So with the deadline quickly approaching, Turner says there really isn’t too much negotiating going on between the Sixers and his agent David Falk. At least there are not any talks as far as he knows.

“There’s nothing really to talk about,” Turner said after Monday’s exhibition loss to the Brooklyn Nets at the Wells Fargo Center (see Instant Replay).

Holiday was one of the bigger names to get an extension at the deadline last year. However, players like Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings did not get extensions and used the fact to motivate them throughout the season.

And then they signed with new teams during the offseason.

However, Turner knows the circumstances have changed with the Sixers since he joined the team for the 2010-11 season. During his first three years in the league, Turner and the Sixers were focused on going deep into the playoffs.

That’s not the case this season. Either way, Turner isn’t upset or worried. If he gets an extension, great. If not, oh well.

“I’m not upset about it,” Turner said. “I know what type of player I’m going to be and I know who I am and I know what I’ve done. Obviously, we have a different situation. We switched GMs and we switched which direction we’re going, but I’m not going to sit here and be upset. I’m going to get money -- whether I get it now or later, I’ve been blessed to be financially stable.”

Plus, it really isn’t about the money. Turner understands that basketball careers don’t last too long and if he can get in a position to win in the playoffs, that’s the goal.

“What I think is kind of funny is when I look around and see what’s going on, that’s what I laugh about,” Turner said. “I think it’s going to be something good in the bigger picture. If I focus on winning, then everything will be all right.

Turner led the Sixers in scoring (23 points), rebounds (five) and assists (four) in the loss to the Nets on Monday. In four exhibition games, Turner leads the Sixers with 19.8 points per game on 46.6 percent shooting from the floor.

Brett Brown has 'completely different feeling' in training camp this year

Brett Brown has 'completely different feeling' in training camp this year

GALLOWAY, N.J. — Brett Brown left training camp last September with an unsettling feeling. He had just completed long days of scrimmages, drills and planning, and yet he sensed the Sixers were not ready to tackle the 82 games that lied ahead. 

“I remember driving back to Philadelphia last year knowing in my heart of heart that this group was going to be challenged,” Brown said Thursday following the morning practice session at Stockton University. “That was a frightening drive home. That drive home scared me because I felt like, I know what we have and how are we going to be able to maneuver through this?”

Brown was right. The Sixers lost their first 18 games and began the season 1-30. They stumbled the rest of the way, finishing the 2016-17 campaign with a dismal 10-72 record. 

“We really didn’t know who the point guard was,” Brown said. “We came in extremely injured, we were trying to make the Nerlens [Noel]-Jahlil [Okafor] thing work, there really weren’t a lot of veterans to look around [and see], and you knew it.”

Now in his fourth training camp as head coach, with 47 wins and 199 losses with the Sixers behind him, Brown has different emotions as the team nears the end of training camp on Friday. 

Instead of a constantly-changing lineup of players, the Sixers are building a roster that can serve as the foundation for the future. There are nine new players on the team, including first overall pick Ben Simmons and rookie Dario Saric. Joel Embiid will make his NBA debut after two years of injuries, and the Sixers added veteran leaders in free agency.

Brown has a clearer picture of what the team could look like this season and beyond. He is coaching training camp to enter a new chapter, not to simply make it through the upcoming months. 

“You can leave and you can sniff reality,” Brown said. “Now what I see is there’s depth. There are challenges positionally as we’ve talked about. But there’s talent. There’s point guards. They’re sprinkled in with some veterans. How we grow it and play it is still on the table. To me, it’s a completely different feeling that I have now that I did not have last year.”

The additions of Jerryd Bayless and Sergio Rodriguez at the one spot lessen the coaching load for Brown. He also can turn to T.J. McConnell from last season. The depth is a far cry from when the Sixers were quickly changing at that position and didn’t find a consistent starter until they traded for Ish Smith in late December.

“That position, I think, is vital when you start putting a bunch of 20-year-olds around it and trying to find some type of organization,” Brown said. “You just can’t replace a point guard’s intellect. You can’t replace, I think, somebody that has great command from that position. It certainly helps me.”

Brown expects to feel “proud” when the Sixers wrap training camp on Friday. He is looking forward to getting the season underway, beginning with two practices at the new training complex in Camden before their first preseason game Oct. 4 against the Celtics. 

Brown anticipates his drive home this time will be a much different trip. 

“I feel comfortable that we’re ticking boxes and we’re achieving the goals that we set out from the start of what we wanted to get done in Stockton,” he said.

The Sixers continued to monitor load management on Thursday, as Okafor, Embiid and Gerald Henderson did not participate in the morning scrimmage. Bayless also did not go through the scrimmage because of a sore left wrist. 

Nerlens Noel thinks he and Ben Simmons can be a lockdown defensive duo

Nerlens Noel thinks he and Ben Simmons can be a lockdown defensive duo

GALLOWAY, N.J. — The Sixers' abundance of big men lends itself to numerous combinations in the frontcourt.

On Thursday, Nerlens Noel had his first experience playing with Ben Simmons. The center gelled with the rookie forward.

"It's a great duo, I think," Noel said following the morning practice session of training camp at Stockton University.

Noel has been paired with many big men during his career with the Sixers. Last season, he faced the challenge of playing out of position at times with Jahlil Okafor. The logjam prompted him to speak out about the current makeup of the roster (see story).

After playing with Simmons, Noel saw how the two can share the court.

"I think we complement each other very well, especially on the defensive end," Noel said. "He's definitely a lockdown type defender that digs in."

Even though Simmons has yet to play an NBA game, Noel already envisions how he can help the Sixers.

"He just plays basketball the right way," Noel said. "When your big man does that, it makes it a lot easier because he is very versatile being a point-forward type. That opens up a lot of things for him to be able to open up for his teammates."