Sixers Notes: Veteran Wilkins back to looking for work

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Sixers Notes: Veteran Wilkins back to looking for work

INDIANAPOLIS -- It wasn’t until Damien Wilkins moved into the starting lineup that Sixers head coach Doug Collins finally figured out his best rotation. With Wilkins the Sixers had veteran wisdom, a solid defender and a guard who could hit an open shot if need be.

So after going from the bench to a spot in the starting lineup, one would assume that Wilkins would be a sure bet for a roster spot next year. Right?

Guess again.

Playing out a one-year, $1.2 million contract for the veteran minimum, Wilkins heads into another offseason of uncertainty and, worse, waiting. The only thing Wilkins knows is that he doesn’t have a job now that the season has ended.

“It’s a waiting game and you just have to be patient,” Wilkins said. “You just have to hope that you did yourself some justice by your play. We’ll see what happens. It’s always nice to be wanted and it only takes one team.”

In 61 games this season, Wilkins averaged 6.2 points per game and started 21 times. But in 40 games after the All-Star break, Wilkins averaged 11.2 points in 27.3 minutes, while shooting nearly 50 percent from the field.

For a nine-year vet who had 21 DNPs during the season, it would have been easy to ride the bench and collect a check.

That way would not have worked for Wilkins.

“It speaks to your professionalism. You’re paid to play,” Wilkins said. “Whether the chips are down or things are going great for you, you can always play your hardest. That should be the attitude of everyone involved because at the end of the day, all the NBA is watching. And the logo on the top of your jersey is the biggest one on the uniform and every night you go out there it’s a (job) interview.”

Swaggy and Kwame
Kwame Brown wasn’t saying whether he would exercise the player option for a second year on his contract. If he chooses to pick up the option, Brown will take home $2.9 million for next season.

That’s not bad work for a guy who didn’t play since the first game after the All-Star break and took 30 straight DNP-CDs.

Meanwhile, Nick Young played just six forgetful minutes in the season finale in which he missed both of the shots he took, committed a turnover and was a minus-6.

A free agent, Young was a DNP-CD for 18 of the final 25 games.

Though he didn’t rule out a return to the Sixers next season, Young, a six-year veteran, said he will be seeking the best contract he can find.

Good luck.

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 is 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)