Sixers, Pelicans make draft-night trade official

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Sixers, Pelicans make draft-night trade official

Updated July 13, 11:30 p.m.

It was expected, but now it's official.

The Sixers on Friday night announced that the trade with the New Orleans Pelicans to acquire Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round draft pick in exchange for Jrue Holiday is officially completed. Separately, the Sixers on Saturday morning confirmed that their acquisition of forwards Royce White and Furkan Aldemir from the Houston Rockets is also now official.

A league source confirmed to CSNPhilly.com's Dei Lynam on Wednesday that the New Orleans trade was official pending Holiday's physical.

Noel was selected No. 6 overall by the Pelicans in last month's draft. New Orleans also acquired the draft's 42nd overall pick by the Sixers (Pierre Jackson).

"The draft is an important pipeline of talent for our team and our intention was to add players who could position us well for the future, while also allowing us to capitalize on attractive opportunities to acquire top-flight talent or additional future draft choices," Sixers president and general manager Sam Hinkie said in statement. "Nerlens Noel and an additional 2014 first-round draft choice give us two new opportunities to add talent to our team."

Noel, a 6-foot-11, 228-pound center averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and an NCAA-best 4.4 blocks in his one and only season at Kentucky. He was also named SEC Defensive Player of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year as well as First Team All-SEC.

Noel played in 24 games at Kentucky before suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in February.

Holiday, a 2009 first-round draft pick by the Sixers, played four seasons in Philadelphia and made his first All-Star team this past season as a 22-year-old by averaging 17.7 points, 8.0 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.

"Once I got the call, [Hinkie] said I was traded, the initial hit is obviously like, 'Wow, what kind of happened?' But, back then, once you start thinking about it, you have Ryan Anderson, Jason Smith, you had Robin Lopez, you [have] Eric Gordon, I was like, 'Well, dang, we're actually going to be really good,'" Holiday said at his introductory press conference on Friday.

White and Aldemir were later acquired from the Rockets in return for future draft considerations and cash. White has a well-documented anxiety disorder which kept him in a dispute with the Rockets and off the floor for his entire rookie year, while Aldemir, a 6-10 big, spent last year playing overseas in Turkey.

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Nerlens Noel to get one-on-one experience while Sixers on road

Being immersed in the team is important for Nerlens Noel, and so is continuing his rehab. 

While the Sixers are on the road for three days to play the Grizzlies and Pelicans, Noel will remain in Philadelphia to work out at the training complex in Camden, New Jersey. The team is not scheduled to practice in between games, so staying back allows Noel another day to get on the court.

“[I want him to] just start playing more and have a ball in his hands, get hit, physical, feel people, play one-on-one,” head coach Brett Brown said.

Noel has yet to play this season because of elective arthroscopic left knee surgery in October. He rejoined the Sixers after completing the first phase of his rehab in Birmingham, Alabama. There still is no timetable for his return. 

Brown has said there is a “classroom” element to Noel’s return. He has to learn a roster with new players and schemes. 

The on-the-court side of it is a reacclimation to the intensity of the league. Regardless of how many games Noel already has played in the NBA, there is an adjustment period getting back into the grind of the competition. Brown believes the time in the gym this week will help Noel prepare for the level of intensity he will face in his return. 

“It’s such fool’s gold to think somebody’s going to jump back into NBA basketball after you haven’t played for so long. I don’t care how athletic he is,” Brown said. “It’s a man’s world, this league, and there’s a physicality and there’s a real-time reaction you have to have to play in the game. You can’t make that up in practice, you can’t make that up playing one-on-one, but you can better position him instead of just going out to get shots. I want him to feel a body, get hit, hit back, play one-on-one, those types of things.”

Noel had been assigned to the Sixers’ Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers, to get in practice time when the Sixers had a game. The Sixers may forego another assignment and keep Noel at their facility as the Sevens also have two games in the next three days. 

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

Joel Embiid finally struggles in Sixers' loss to Nuggets

BOX SCORE

Joel Embiid has been making the NBA look easy. Rookie of the Month honors, five double-doubles in 13 games, seven performances of 20 points or more … all having missed the last two years rehabbing from foot injuries.

Embiid, though, still is a player learning the league. Night’s like Monday’s lackluster showing are going to happen, even if it seemed unexpected against the struggling Denver Nuggets. 

“We’ve been used to seeing Jo have superhuman nights,” Brett Brown said after the Sixers’ 106-98 loss (see Instant Replay). “I thought Joel was down tonight.” 

Embiid tallied a total 16 points (5 for 15 from the field, 1 for 3 from three, 5 for 6 from the line) with four rebounds, one assist, a career-high five blocks, three turnovers and three fouls in 25:32. 

He had a quiet first half with six points (2 for 5 from the field) and one rebound in 9:21. The biggest struggle came in the third quarter. Embiid scored a single point off a free throw and shot 0 for 6 from the floor. By the end of three, he was shooting 18.2 percent. 

The big man said he needed to be better at passing out of the double team. He committed two turnovers in the third. 

“I wasn’t getting to my spot and I wasn’t getting what I’m used to getting,” Embiid said of the first three quarters. “I’m going to go back and watch the tape and see what I did wrong.” 

Embiid bounced back for another Embiid-like offensive effort in the fourth. He dropped nine points off an efficient 3 for 4 shooting in 7:31. Still, it wasn’t enough. 

“I made a couple shots,” Embiid said. “It didn’t help us win, so I don’t think it matters.”

Brown noticed Embiid rushing his game. He also thought Embiid’s balance was off, something the big man has been dealing with all season as he continues to find his legs. 

Embiid will not play in Tuesday's game against the Grizzlies. It is part of his workload management in which he does not play both games of a back-to-back. Expect him to hone in on game film until his next matchup, and get back on the roller coaster that can be a first year in the NBA. 

“It's just part of a young man's growth,” Brown said. “It just happens. I don't think we need to read too deeply into it. I think, in many ways, to expect from time to time not as good of a performance as we have been used to is fair enough.”