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.

Cousin of Sixers' Ben Simmons killed in hit-and-run accident Saturday

Cousin of Sixers' Ben Simmons killed in hit-and-run accident Saturday

The cousin of Sixers No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons was killed in a hit-and-run accident early Saturday morning.

Zachary Simmons, 21, was struck by a black SUV around 3:30 a.m., CBS New York initially reported. Ben Simmons confirmed the death of his cousin on Twitter.

Zachary Simmons' mother, Monique Steel, said she was told by police that the driver was going at least 70 miles an hour. She also told CBS2 in New York that her son was out Friday for a friend's birthday and was celebrating the night before with his first cousin, Ben, following the NBA draft.

Investigators are analyzing pieces of the SUV and checking surveillance video in attempt to find the driver.

Ben Simmons, a native of Australia, has roots in New York where his father Dave was born. 

St. Joe's forward Isaiah Miles earns summer league invite from Dallas Mavericks

St. Joe's forward Isaiah Miles earns summer league invite from Dallas Mavericks

Undrafted St. Joe's forward Isaiah Miles will play for the Dallas Mavericks summer league team in Las Vegas, the university announced on Saturday. 

Miles averaged 18.1 points, 8.1 rebounds and 1.0 blocks last season as a senior. He shot 52.3 percent from the field and 88.8 percent from the line, making 142 of 160 attempts. Miles was named the 2015-16 Most Improved Player for the Atlantic 10 and Big 5. 

Miles worked out for the Sixers during the draft process. Last month he left the pre-draft combine in Chicago to attend his graduation in Philadelphia, and then returned to the Windy City after the ceremony. He earned a bachelor's in criminal justice. 

"Getting a degree, at the end of the day, is the most important thing," Miles said after his Sixers' workout. "I just wanted to do it for my mom. Walking across the stage and seeing the smile on her face was huge."

Miles' college teammate DeAndre Bembry was drafted 21st by the Hawks on Thursday.

Sixers have hurdles to clear with draft picks before summer league

Sixers have hurdles to clear with draft picks before summer league

Summer league action begins on July 4 and the Sixers are working through constructing their roster for both Utah and Las Vegas. 

The Sixers expect first overall pick Ben Simmons to participate, but formalities have to be taken care of first. First-round picks cannot sign their NBA contract until July 1. After the paperwork is finalized, he can take the court for his new team.

“We just need to work out all the details and try to get that all taken care of,” president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said Friday. “Once that is addressed and discussed and taken care of, there shouldn’t be anything that would hold that process up. We’ll get the ink on paper as soon as possible. I think it’ll be a clear path at that point.”

Simmons deferred to his agent, Rich Paul, when asked about his participation. 

“You would like for a guy to step in there, but obviously there are some things that, me personally, I’m going to have to protect him with,” Paul said. “If everything is good, then we look forward to it. Until then, we’ll see what happens.” 

Paul added, “I think we’ll be OK, but you just never know.”

The Sixers will compete in summer leagues in both Utah and Las Vegas. They will begin practicing in Utah on July 1 and play games July 4-7. The team will then travel to Las Vegas for the Samsung NBA Summer League, where their first game is July 9 against the Los Angeles Lakers and No. 2 pick Brandon Ingram. The summer league in Las Vegas is tournament-style, with the championship game on July 18. 

There is more work involved for the Sixers’ 24th pick, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, because of his international contract with Mega Leks in Serbia. 

“I believe Luwawu is subject to playing,” Colangelo said. “The only thing that would stop him from being available and able to sign a contract is that process of the three-party agreement, the buyout and the FIBA clearance before he can sign a contract.”

Furkan Korkmaz, the 26th overall pick, is not expected to play as he is participating with the Turkish national team. 

“I would just put that as a no, highly unlikely because of the circumstances,” Colangelo said. 

Dario Saric has until July 17 to notify his team in Turkey if he will play for them next season or join the Sixers. Even if Saric makes his decision during the summer league period, Colangelo said it would be “highly or not likely” that he participates because he recently completed his season. There is no new update on Saric’s impending decision. 

The Sixers will round out their summer league rosters with current players and free-agent signings. T.J. McConnell, Richaun Holmes and Christian Wood are expected to play. James Webb III, who participated in a pre-draft workout for the Sixers, signed a deal with the team following the draft and is expected to participate in summer league (see story)