Will Bynum, Sixers make long-term commitment?

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Will Bynum, Sixers make long-term commitment?

The clock is ticking on both the Sixers’ season and Andrew Bynum’s chances of being a part of it.

There are eight weeks remaining and 31 games for the Sixers. Bynum says he is still a couple weeks away from taking part in a full practice (see full story), which is diminishing the number of times fans or the front office will see him in uniform in 2013.

Bynum insists his status of becoming an unrestricted free agent on July 1 has no impact on his timetable to get back in game action.

“I am focused on getting back and getting right, as opposed to being in a rush,” Bynum said after a rigorous workout on Tuesday. “As I have said before, it doesn’t matter to me. I will play anywhere. I just need to be healthy.”

“He will be able to manage the pain as long as he doesn’t get swelling,” Sixers head coach Doug Collins said. “The swelling is what incapacitates you because your joint gets stiff and you can’t move, so if he can keep the swelling out he will be able to manage."

The Sixers want nothing more than a healthy Bynum. After all, they gave up Andre Iguodala, Nik Vucevic, Moe Harkless and a future first-round draft pick for the services of the dominant center.

Iguodala has helped Denver to a 33-21 record, second to Oklahoma City in the Northwest Division and good enough for the fifth seed in the Western Conference.

Vucevic is averaging 12.4 points and 11.5 rebounds as a second-year center in Orlando. Meanwhile, Harkless is just beginning to scratch the surface of his tremendous potential.

The future for those given up by the Sixers in the Bynum trade looks bright. But what about the Sixers’ future with a 25-year-old with knee issues since becoming a pro straight from high school eight years ago?

Bynum admits the pain this time around is greater than his previous injuries. However, he still believes he will get healthy.

“I want to be healthy,” Bynum said. ”I know what I can do. The question is, is my knee going to hold up? That’s something the organization has to think about. All I have to do is think about going out there and putting up buckets.”

Much of what Bynum said Tuesday sounded familiar to prior answers from earlier this season. In addition to the words being redundant, the way in which they are delivered always seems to be in a nonchalant manner.

A franchise’s future, as well as Bynum’s own, are at stake. Yet, ho-hum seems to be the approach for the center who added yet another distracting hairdo to his resume on Tuesday with half-corn-rowed, half-afro look.

There is an understandable need for caution when it comes to Bynum’s return, but shouldn’t a sense of urgency be overlapping that feeling?

The reality soon could very well be that Bynum is on a team out of the playoff hunt. Therefore, playing this season would no longer be viewed as a necessity.

It’s tough to tell at this point which party is taking the greater risk -- Bynum or the Sixers organization.

“Would I be a risk? I don’t know because I don’t do risk assessment. That is what the front office does,” Bynum said. “Myself, I know what I can bring and I need to get healthy. Every day I am working out. Every day I am running. Every day I am playing basketball.”

When asked if he envisioned himself being a Sixer beyond this season, Bynum was true to his personality.

“I am wide open,” he said. “I want to play. I am here now and I don't have any problem with the Sixers. They have treated me great this entire time. I have had my trainer here. I have been working with KJ (team trainer Kevin Johnson) and the guys, so there are no bad feelings either way.”

NBA Notes: Serge Ibaka happy after surprise trade to Magic

NBA Notes: Serge Ibaka happy after surprise trade to Magic

ORLANDO, Fla. -- A week ago after waking up in Paris to flurry of congratulatory text messages, Serge Ibaka wasn't quite sure how to feel about the NBA draft night trade that landed him in Orlando.

But one text message in particular helped him feel better about his transition from the Oklahoma City Thunder -- a team contending for an NBA championship -- to a young team trying to figure out how to make the postseason.

"One of things that made me feel good at that moment was dad texted me," Ibaka said Thursday a news conference. "Before I could get excited and happy, my dad was happy. He congratulated me and said he was real happy for me. That's what changed everything at the moment.

"This is a business, and things happen for a reason. So I'm happy to be here and for my family and for my daughter" (see full story).

Mavericks: Center Mejri has knee surgery
DALLAS -- Mavericks center Salah Mejri has undergone arthroscopic surgery on his right knee, a procedure that isn't expected to sideline the 7-foot-2 Tunisian during the season.

Mejri, who had surgery Thursday, emerged as an energetic shot-blocker and rebounder in the second half of his rookie season in Dallas. He turned 30 in June.

While the Mavericks plan to pursue a starting center in free agency, they like the youth and promise in Mejri and the 6-11 Dwight Powell, who turns 25 in July. Powell is all Dallas has left to show for the ill-fated Rajon Rondo trade with Boston in December 2014.

Mejri averaged 3.7 points, 3.6 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 34 games with six starts last season.

Clippers: Frank promoted to front office
LOS ANGELES -- The Clippers have promoted Lawrence Frank to executive vice president of basketball operations under Doc Rivers.

Frank has spent the last two seasons as an assistant under Rivers, who coaches the team and serves as president of basketball operations.

In his new job, Frank will oversee the basketball operations department and report to Rivers.

Frank coached the New Jersey Nets from 2003-10 and the Detroit Pistons from 2011-13. He was an assistant in Vancouver, New Jersey, Boston and Brooklyn before joining the Clippers.

Bucks: GM Hammond gets contract extension
A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that the Milwaukee Bucks have extended the contract of general manager John Hammond through the 2017-18 season.

It's an extra year on Hammond's contract and the plan is for him to continue to serve as a consultant after that while assistant GM Justin Zanik takes over the main front office duties. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the Bucks have not announced the move.

Zanik was hired away from the Utah Jazz in June to be groomed as Hammond's successor.

Hammond has been the Bucks GM since 2008 and was the NBA's Executive of the Year in 2009-10. He has helped bring in promising youngsters including Giannis Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton and Jabari Parker.

Yahoo Sports first reported the extension.

Report: Raptors contact Sixers regarding Nerlens Noel

Report: Raptors contact Sixers regarding Nerlens Noel

General managers talk to other general managers about players all the time. 

Sometimes, news of these discussions leak.

Sounds like this is one of those cases. So don't make a big deal out of it. 

According to ESPN's Zach Lowe, the Toronto Raptors have contacted the Sixers regarding Nerlens Noel. Lowe cites sources who state that the Raptors have offered a "rotation player — perhaps Terrence Ross, and other goodies — in exchange for Nerlens Noel" but also noted that "the talks haven't gained much traction yet."

Probably because the trade depends on the value of the so-called goodies.

A 6-foot-7, 195-pound swingman, Ross has been inconsistent over his four-year career. After starting 123 games the previous two seasons, Ross, 25, primarily came off the bench last season, starting seven of 73 games. He averaged 9.9 points and shot 38.6 percent from three, right around his career averages (9.3 and 37.8).

He's a three-point shooter and finisher (a little like Harrison Barnes) who in January 2014 erupted for 51 points in a loss to the Clippers and hit 10 of 17 from three. He hasn't scored 30 in a game since.

Ross was drafted by the Raptors in 2012 out of Washington with the eighth overall pick. He signed a three-year extension late last year that will pay him $10.5 million per season.

Toronto is interested in Noel because big man Bismack Biyombo may leave during free agency, which begins Friday.

Sixers free-agent fits: Frontcourt — Horford, Anderson, Ezeli, more

Sixers free-agent fits: Frontcourt — Horford, Anderson, Ezeli, more

Over the course of this week, we will look at the Sixers' free-agent possibilites at each position. We've already analyzed point guardsshooting guards and small forwards. Today, we'll break down frontcourt players.

Sixers frontcourt players for 2016-17
Joel Embiid (guaranteed, $4,826,160)

Richaun Holmes (guaranteed, $1,025,831)

Carl Landry (guaranteed, $6,500,000)

Nerlens Noel (guaranteed, $4,384,490)

Jahlil Okafor (guaranteed, $4,788,840)

Dario Saric (yet to sign)

Ben Simmons (yet to sign rookie deal)

Current frontcourt situation
In case you haven't heard, the Sixers have a few big men. By my list, that's five under contract, one that will sign his rookie contract shortly, and another that claims he'll be under contract soon enough.

Of course, there have been rumors of Okafor and/or Noel being shipped off for backcourt pieces, but as of now, they are Sixers. If the team were to move one or both of them, they'd be moving their most proven NBA frontcourt pieces, even if the experiment of playing them together was a disaster.

Simmons has infinite potential, but has yet to play an NBA minute. Same goes for Embiid and Saric. Landry and Holmes are solid bench big men. They'll be valuable depth if Bryan Colangelo pulls off a move or two. Stay tuned.

Reach free agent

Al Horford, unrestricted
Horford, a four-time All-Star, has been a focal point for the Hawks' offense for almost a decade. More of a finesse big man than a banger down low, Horford has an excellent midrange game and possesses great touch around the basket. He's also a decent passer from the post, averaging 2.7 assists per game for his career. He's averaged 14.3 points per game on a robust 54 percent from the field. With all that said, Horford is not the guy for this team. Even if Noel and Okafor are traded, Horford is 30. Also, Simmons would be better playing with a center that offers better rim protection.

Possible fits

It's hard to look into any of these guys seriously with the Sixers' current logjam. We'll dissect them as if a shakeup in the frontcourt has occurred and the team needs to fill a gap or two.

Ryan Anderson, unrestricted
If you were to Google the term "stretch four" a picture of Anderson would appear (not even kidding, it actually does). Anderson has shot 38 percent for his career from downtown. Back in 2011-12, he led the NBA in threes made and attempted while playing for the Magic. Last season he averaged 17 points per game, the second-highest number of his career. Assuming Simmons expands his game beyond the power forward position, a guy like Anderson would make a ton of sense playing alongside him.

Marvin Williams, unrestricted
Williams is an interesting case. He's never lived up to the billing of being the No. 2 overall pick back in 2005, but he's had a solid NBA career as a role player. The element he's added to his game that should intrigue the Sixers is his three-point shooting. Williams hit a career-high 40 percent from distance on 378 attempts, also a career mark. Williams also offers defensive versatility with his ability to play on the wing at times.

Festus Ezeli, restricted
Ezeli has made himself into a solid rotational big in Golden State. With the Warriors' success, guys like Ezeli are bound to be poached from their roster. Ezeli is nothing special but would come in handy if the Sixers find a suitor for Noel. They'd need someone like Ezeli (2.5 blocks per 36 minutes last season) to help fill the void Noel would leave as a strong rim protector.