Intriguing storylines await Sixers at the start

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Intriguing storylines await Sixers at the start

The NBA regular season is fast approaching. After a season-opening date against the two-time champion Miami Heat on Oct. 30, the Sixers face some intriguing storylines from the opposition in the month of November.

Chicago pays a visit to the Wells Fargo Center on Nov. 2. It will be the first time the Sixers have faced the Bulls with Derrick Rose since April 28, 2012.

On that day, the top-seeded Bulls were up 12 with 1:10 to play in Game 1 of a first-round playoff series against the Sixers. Rose caught center Spencer Hawes backpedaling off the dribble, crossed over and left his feet off a jump-stop. The former league MVP came down writhing in pain with a torn ACL.

Seventeen months later, Rose is back in action. Will he be as explosive as he was prior to the injury? Will he fear attacking the rim?

Two days after the Rose parade, Golden State comes to town. While Stephen Curry and his sharp shooting is basketball entertainment at its finest, the site of Andre Iguodala in another visitor’s uniform will again be front and center.

When Iguodala was a Sixer, he hardly captured the affection of Philadelphia fans. His body language often suggested issues were present and his monotone answers after games -- while thoughtful and intelligent -- painted the picture that what surrounded him was not enough.

Yet, Iguodala’s game says he produces winning numbers. The nine-veteran has started all 695 games he has appeared in throughout his career. He has averaged 15.1 points, 5.8 rebounds and 4.9 assists per game over that span. Iguodala is also an excellent defender and his unselfishness makes him a great teammate on a good team, as opposed to a questionable leader on a mediocre squad.

Cleveland comes to town on Nov. 9, but whether Andrew Bynum is along for the trip remains to be seen.

As you know, Bynum spent the entire 2012-13 NBA season on the sideline after being acquired by the Sixers. He came to Philadelphia with great fanfare and left with people saying good riddance. Everything in between was disappointment after disappointment.

Still, the Cavaliers signed the former All-Star center as a free agent to pair with their young core.

Seeing him take the Wells Fargo Center floor would certainly bring out a reaction from Sixers fans. However, Bynum’s knees may not allow him to do that … again.

The Sixers will face New Orleans twice in November to make for a double holiday.

Jrue Holiday honed his skills in a Sixers jersey for the first four years of his career. He became an All-Star last season, leading the Sixers in scoring, assists and minutes played before eventually being traded to the Pelicans on draft night.

How will Holiday’s new cast impact his game? Will he reach another All-Star Game in the deeper Western Conference?

More importantly for the Sixers, how will they adapt with Holiday no longer at the controls. We’ll start getting a firm answer on that come November.

Report: Sixers 'will take a hard look' at Jrue Holiday in free agency

Report: Sixers 'will take a hard look' at Jrue Holiday in free agency

Has The Process come full circle?

The Sixers "will take a hard look" at point guard Jrue Holiday in free agency, according to ESPN's Zach Lowe

Holiday, of course, was the Sixers' starting PG from 2009-13, before he was traded on draft night by then-GM Sam Hinkie for Nerlens Noel and a future first-round pick (which became Elfrid Payton, who was traded for Dario Saric).

In four seasons since, Holiday has averaged 15.3 points, 3.4 rebounds, 6.8 assists and 1.4 steals for the Pelicans. He's fought injury and missed 122 games since joining New Orleans.

The Pelicans have Anthony Davis but little else. They're going to need to make some tough decisions moving forward and one will be with Holiday.

As Lowe points out, there aren't many teams in need of a point guard — he lists the Sixers, Kings, Knicks and maybe the Magic as players for a PG in free agency.

"[Holiday] fits what [the Sixers] need around Ben Simmons, and the hilariousness of Philly bringing Holiday back after flipping him to start The Process is irresistible," Lowe writes.

Holiday has never been a great three-point shooter but he's been decent from long-range his entire career, topping out at 39 percent and sitting at 36.8 percent over eight NBA seasons.

He's coming off a four-year, $41 million contract, and although he has a lengthy injury history, he'll still command a nice-sized contract in free agency, especially with the cap expected to increase again.

Sixers merchandise sales on the rise along with win total

Sixers merchandise sales on the rise along with win total

Between recent wins and Joel Embiid’s All-Star push, fans are buying their Sixers gear.

According to Fanatics.com, a sports apparel website partnered with the four major sports, the Sixers rank fourth among all NBA teams in total merchandise sales over the past seven days. The Warriors, Cavaliers and Bulls are ahead of them.

Joel Embiid was the fifth-best selling player over that period. His popularity has risen during his enthusiastic All-Star campaign, which included celebrity shoutouts and an outpour of social media activity. Embiid is now up to 553,000 Twitter followers.

The Sixers have ranked in the league’s top 10 of merchandise sales since the beginning of the 2016-17 season. They hold the largest year-over-year increase during that time frame in the NBA this season.

In September, Ben Simmons ranked in the top 10 of NBA players in merchandise sales since draft night.

Sales from the Sixers' and NBA's official online stores are included in these statistics.