NBA Notes: Ewing still eyes head coaching job

slideshow-070913-magic-ewing-uspresswire.jpg

NBA Notes: Ewing still eyes head coaching job

The Sixers were able to land what was expected to be the No. 1 overall pick in last month's NBA draft by trading for Nerlens Noel. However, the team had other plans in place in case it couldn't acquire the Kentucky big man (see story).

That's just the latest sign of big ideas flowing from a revamped front office that is all business (see story).

Now, let's look at some news and notes from around the NBA:

Bobcats: Ewing not angry about being passed over
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- As a player Patrick Ewing never envisioned himself as an NBA head coach.

Now he can't wait to become one.

The Hall of Famer who played 17 seasons in the NBA and has spent nine more as an assistant coach said he's not angry about being passed over again for a head coaching job.

The 50-year-old Ewing said it's only going to drive him to work harder to reach that ultimate goal.

"Every now and again I'm discouraged, but I look at it like, `Hey, I'm going to keep on working," Ewing told The Associated Press on Tuesday. "Right now I'm blessed to have the opportunity to be coaching in the league. Every experience is a learning experience" (see full story).

-The Associated Press

Rockets: Team fined $150K for Howard comments
NEW YORK -- The Houston Rockets talked too much, too soon about Dwight Howard.

A league spokesman confirms the team and its personnel were fined $150,000 by the NBA for comments made about the All-Star center during the moratorium period.

Howard committed to leave the Los Angeles Lakers and join the Rockets on Friday, and Rockets general manager Daryl Morey gave an interview later that night with Comcast SportsNet Houston in which he talked about the recruitment and landing of him. Coach Kevin McHale also discussed Howard over the weekend at the Orlando Summer League.

Though free agency opened July 1, deals can't become official until Wednesday, after the 2013-14 salary cap is set.

ESPN.com first reported the fine.

-The Associated Press

NBA: Salary cap set at $58.7 million
NEW YORK -- The NBA has set next season's salary cap at $58.7 million, paving the way for contracts to be signed starting Wednesday.

The tax level is $71.7 million, with harsher penalties starting this season for teams that exceed it. Teams formerly paid $1 for every $1 they were over, but the penalties now start at $1.50 per dollar for teams up to $4.9 million over, with increases from there.

Contracts such as the one Dwight Howard agreed to with Houston couldn't be signed during the league's moratorium period while the cap was calculated.

The cap is a slight increase from this season's $58 million.

The mid-level exception for non-taxpayers is $5.15 million. It's $3.2 million for teams over the tax, and there's a mid-level worth $2.7 million for teams with room under the salary cap.

-The Associated Press

Orthopedist on Sixers' Ben Simmons' injury: 'The prognosis is good'

Orthopedist on Sixers' Ben Simmons' injury: 'The prognosis is good'

On Friday, Sixers fans got some bad news when the team revealed that No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons fractured the fifth metatarsal in his right foot.

The Sixers didn't give a timetable for his return, saying that they were reviewing treatment options for the 6-foot-10 point-forward.

As a guest on CSNPhilly's Sportsnet Central, orthopedic surgeon Dr. Mark Schwartz gave a little insight into Simmons' injury. Schwartz is not treating Simmons, but has dealt with similar injuries. Schwartz believes the prognosis is good for the Sixers' rookie.

"The big question is where the exact location of this fracture is," Schwartz said. "That will dictate the prognosis and the treatment. If it's at the base of the fifth metatarsal, it's usually a non-surgical treatment. It's usually a cast/boot for six to eight weeks and return to play somewhere around eight weeks."

That would be great news considering Sixers fans didn't get to see Nerlens Noel the year he was drafted and are still awaiting the debut of 2014 draft pick Joel Embiid. 

Schwartz warns that the injury could be something known as a Jones fracture, which would likely require surgery and the recovery could be three to four months. The prognosis would still be good, according to Schwartz, but other NBA players have had lengthy recoveries with a similar injury.

"The prognosis is still good, but we know that Kevin Durant had a Jones fracture and he was out for an entire season because of it not healing," Schwartz said. "But the prognosis is good, however, the question is whether it's going to require surgery or not."

For more from Schwartz on Simmons' injury and possible timetable, check out the video above.

Ben Simmons suffers fractured bone in right foot

Ben Simmons suffers fractured bone in right foot

As the Sixers get two bigs back from injury, another goes down.

First overall pick Ben Simmons suffered a fracture of the fifth metatarsal bone of his right foot on Friday. Simmons rolled his right ankle during the team’s final training camp scrimmage at Stockton University.

Simmons underwent an X-ray and MRI on his right foot and ankle. Sixers head physician Dr. Christopher Dodson and Sixers chief medical officer and co-chief of sports medicine orthopedics at New York's Mount Sinai Medical Center Dr. Jonathan Glashow reviewed the images.

Simmons’ timetable to return is to be determined. The Sixers are considering further medical evaluation and treatment options. 

Landing the No. 1 pick and selecting Simmons was the highlight of the Sixers’ next chapter. They were supposed to be healthy this time around as they entered a new phase following a 10-72 season. 

The news of the fracture adds to years of injury-related setbacks. Nerlens Noel missed his entire rookie season rehabbing from an ACL injury. After undergoing two foot injuries in as many years, the 2014 third overall pick Joel Embiid is slated to make his NBA debut Oct. 4 against the Celtics in preseason action. Jahlil Okafor is also expected to play next Tuesday for the first time since his season-ending knee surgery in March. 

The Sixers drafted Simmons to become a focal point of their system. At 6-foot-10, 250 pounds, he is a point-forward with the potential to change the look of a lineup. During training camp Brown experimented with multiple combinations, including playing Simmons at the point, shooting guard and small forward. 

Brown called the two-three combination of Simmons and Dario Saric “6-10, do-alls” (see story)

Simmons, 20, impressed his teammates during camp. In just four days of practices, it was easy for them to see how Simmons would improve the Sixers. 

“He’s really physical,” Joel Embiid said. “He’s just a big presence. When he pushes the ball, you can feel it. He makes you want to go with him. … He’s so fast and he’s so big.” 

Said Nerlens Noel, “He just plays basketball the right way. 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."

The Sixers will be faced with filling a role they haven’t actually had yet. They had gameplans of how to utilize Simmons, but they were implemented only in training camp. The Sixers have a frontcourt logjam which will allow them to plug in other players at the power forward spot. They also can fill his experimented role on the wings with traditional shooters. But his absence will eliminate versatile lineups in which players are essentially “positionless,” a Warriors-style of play that causes mismatches of size and skills. 

Even though the Sixers have an abundance of bigs, Embiid and Okafor will be monitored for minutes at the start of the season. Throw in Simmons’ injury and this creates opportunities for other frontcourt players such as Richaun Holmes and Elton Brand. With Simmons absence, there also could be more minutes for Saric to play his natural position at power forward. 

Simmons wasn’t letting himself get too far ahead as he entered his first NBA season. He has been taking each day one at a time with an excitement of the newness of his rookie year.

“I think it’s still surreal for me,” Simmons said on Media Day. “I think it’ll finally hit me once I step on the court matched up against OKC the first game.”

Now it remains to be seen when Simmons will play his first game.