Old Faces in New Places: Your Guide to Former Sixers' Current NBA Teams

Old Faces in New Places: Your Guide to Former Sixers' Current NBA Teams

In years' past, there'd be no real need for a column about where former
Sixers are playing now, since the team was so focused on keeping its
core intact that if the Sixers let one of their guys go, chances were
pretty good he'd already have one foot out of the league. Not the case
anymore, especially after this last off-season, and now a number of
post-Iverson era Liberty Ballers have found themselves some new digs.
With the NBA regular season kicking off tonight, hooray, here's a brief
refresher about where our old guys are at now.

Elton Brand:

New Team: Dallas Mavericks

Acquired Via: Auction bid, after the Sixers amnestied him in the off-season for cap-room purposes.

Role:
Starting power forward while Dirk Nowitzki is out with knee issues,
primary post defender. When Nowitzki comes back, he may move over to the
starting pivot, or come off the bench behind Dirk and one-time Clipper
teammate Chris Kaman.

First Game: Tonight, the late TNT game against the Lakers.

Samuel Dalembert:

New Team: Milwaukee Bucks

Acquired Via:
Trade with the Houston Rockets, in a H-Town salary dump while GM Darryl
Morey was trying to clear cap space for a potential Dwight Howard
trade.

Role: Starting center, at least at first. We bet they revert to the Drew Gooden high-post offense soon enough.

First Game: Friday against the Celtics in Boston

Willie Green:

New Team: Los Angeles Clippers

Acquired Via: Trade with the Atlanta Hawks for Sofoklis "Baby Shaq" Schortsanitis.

Role:
Third-or-fourth-string shooting guard, behind at least Chauncey Billups
and Jamal Crawford, and possibly Grant Hill too if they need to find
room for him on the wing.

First Game: Tomorrow night against the Grizzlies

Andre Iguodala:

New Team: Denver Nuggets

Acquired Via: Trade, as the final piece of the four-team swap that saw Dwight Howard go to Los Angeles and Andrew Bynum come to Philly.

Role:
Starting two-guard, defensive stopper, secondary play-maker, and—the
Nugs hope—the player the puts them over the top as a contender in the
West.

First Game: Wednesday night—in Philadelphia, natch.

Jodie Meeks:

New Team: Los Angeles Lakers

Acquired Via: Free agency, a one-year, $1.4 million deal.

Role: Floor-spacer off the bench, though if Kobe Bryant sits
tonight with ankle trouble as it is rumored he might—we'll believe it
when we see it—Jodie will be the starting two-guard for the Lakers'
season opener, alongside Steve Nash, Metta World Peace, Pau Gasol and
Dwight Howard.

First Game: Tonight, the late TNT game against the Mavericks.

Nikola Vucevic:

New Team: Orlando Magic

Acquired Via:
The four-team Bynum/Howard trade, one of the "prospects" received by
Orlando in exchange for the second-best player in their franchise's
history.

Role: Backup center behind the more
defensive-minded Gustavo Ayon, though in the long sense, he and
would've-been Sixers rookie Moe Harkless share the burden of proving
that the Magic at least got something out of the whole Dwight Howard deal.

First Game: Friday night against the Nuggets

Lou Williams:

New Team: Atlanta Hawks

Acquired Via: Free agency, a four-year, $20 million deal.

Role:
Probably a similar instant-offense slot off the bench to the one he had
with Philly, though with similar perimeter scoring issues to ones
enjoyed in Philly during his tenure, it's entirely psosible he'll spend
large times as an offensive focal point, especially in late-game
situations.

First Game: Friday against the Rockets

Also Still Kicking Around:

Lou Amundson, Minnesota Timberwolves
Matt Barnes, Los Angeles Clippers
Raja Bell, Utah Jazz
Reggie Evans, Brooklyn Nets
Kyle Korver, Atlanta Hawks
Andre Miller, Denver Nuggets
John Salmons, Sacramento Kings
Jason Smith, New Orleans Hornets
Marreese Speights, Memphis Grizzlies
Sam Young, Indiana Pacers

Phillies sign OF Daniel Nava, LHP Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts

Phillies sign OF Daniel Nava, LHP Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts

The Phillies made a couple quiet additions as the winter meetings ended, signing veteran outfielder Daniel Nava and lefty reliever Sean Burnett to minor-league contracts.

Nava, 34 in February, is a left-handed hitter who can play the outfield corners and first base. He came up with the Red Sox and became a fan favorite in Boston in 2010 as a 27-year-old rookie. Some Phillies fans will remember him for hitting a grand slam off Joe Blanton in his first major-league plate appearance.

Nava had a few decent years in Boston, the best of which was 2013, when he had 536 plate appearances and hit .303/.385/.445 with 29 doubles, 12 homers and 66 RBIs. 

Nava's numbers and opportunities have dropped every year since. He was designated for assignment by Boston in 2015, latched on with the Rays, signed the next year with the Angels and was traded late in the season to the Royals.

Over the last two seasons, Nava has hit just .208, albeit with an on-base percentage 99 points higher because of his 30 walks and 10 hit by pitches.

Burnett, 34, has spent five of the last seven seasons in the Nationals' bullpen. He had a 2.85 ERA in 283 appearances from 2009-12 and parlayed that success into a two-year, $7.25 million contract with the Angels. However, he barely pitched in 2013 and 2014 for the Halos because of an elbow tear. He returned to the Nats last season and allowed two runs in 5⅔ innings.

Burnett, perhaps more so than Nava, has a chance to fill a role with the Phillies if he can stay healthy. He's shown he can get outs at the highest level, posting a 2.38 ERA in 2012 with 9.1 strikeouts per nine innings and a 2.14 ERA with 8.9 K/9 in 2010. That was a long time ago now, and Burnett's fastball has dipped from averaging 90-91 mph to 88.

According to Sportsnet's Ben Nicholson-Smith, Burnett will receive a $1.25 million salary if he makes the team and can earn another $1.75 million in incentives based on his number of appearances.

Burnett has an opt-out date of March 26, meaning he can become a free agent a week before the regular season begins if it looks to him like he isn't in the Phils' plans.

Nava's chances at cracking the opening-day roster seem longer because the Phillies are expected to make more depth signings between now and the start of camp. They've prioritized finding some offense in the corner outfield and that could come in the form of more minor-league deals, a guaranteed contract or trade. One potential fit I examined last week was Mariners outfielder Seth Smith, a hitter more proven than Nava (see story).

These minor-league deals were commonplace for Phillies general manager Matt Klentak last offseason, when the only free agent he signed to a major-league deal was reliever David Hernandez. 

Last season, three players who were signed to minor-league deals with invites to spring training made the team on opening day: outfielder Cedric Hunter, utilityman Emmanuel Burriss and reliever James Russell.

Others, such as former closers Edward Mujica, Ernesto Frieri and Andrew Bailey, failed to make the team out of camp. Bailey eventually earned a call-up; the other two didn't.

Former Sixer Lou Williams lighting it up with Lakers off the bench

Former Sixer Lou Williams lighting it up with Lakers off the bench

Former Sixers point guard and Meek Mill collaborator Lou Williams is enjoying quite the run off the bench for the Lakers recently.

Over Los Angeles' last four games, Williams has posted totals of 40, 38, 24, and 35 points. 

The six-man is averaging 34.5 points per game over the stretch, and his 137 points are the most off the bench in a four-game span by any player since 1970-71, when stats were first recorded, per Elias Sports Bureau, via ESPN. Williams is now averaging 19.3 points this season, which is 4.4 more than his highest average with the Sixers.

Williams isn’t the only player who used to play for the Sixers that is playing well for the Lakers this year. Nick “Swaggy P” Young, who also comes off the bench, is averaging 13.3 points per game. Just a few weeks ago, Swaggy P stole a pass intended for Lou Williams, and then proceeded to hit a game winner against the Thunder. Swaggy P, however, is currently sidelined with a right calf strain, but is getting closer to a return.

"Lou Will" was also talked about last April during Kobe Bryant’s final NBA game, when he was beefing on Twitter with another former Philadelphia athlete, LeSean McCoy.