NHL Free Agency Open Thread

NHL Free Agency Open Thread

Beginning today at noon, Flyers Jaromir Jagr and Matt Carle will join stars from around the NHL, such as Nashville's Ryan Suter and New Jersey's Zach Parise, in exercising their rights to unrestricted free agency. Whether any of those particular players will land in Philadelphia is unknown, we can only promise GM Paul Holmgren should be busy.

Just how busy is yet to be determined. As Tim Panaccio pointed out on Saturday, the Flyers have their work cut out for themselves. You really should take the time to read the overview for the finer points, but to summarize:

The salary cap is currently set at $70.2 million as of last week, though it's widely assumed that figure will be significantly reduced once a new a collective bargaining agreement is reached. This complicates matters for the Flyers, who have little room under the cap to operate already -- as usual -- and several areas they either would like to or must address: backup goaltender, scoring depth, and defense.

Panotch offers his take on some possible solutions, but we won't spoil the entire article for you. It's worth a read. As for my own thoughts, I'm more concerned about signing or replacing Carle than adding another scorer.

The fact that the Flyers are still talking to the Blue Jackets about Rick Nash suggests they feel different, or at least are determined to take care of both. However, for all of the instances the words "forward depth" have been recited this summer, one would think they might give the guys who are here a chance to replace the goals the club loses if Jagr departs, and whatever else went missing when James van Riemsdyk was sent packing.

We'll see what happens. There is a relatively small group of free agents that fit the mold of what the Flyers are searching for, so the possibilities aren't exactly endless, but where the chips will fall is still anybody's guess.

Sixers fail to take care of business against Denver Nuggets

Sixers fail to take care of business against Denver Nuggets

It really felt like we could've gotten this one. The Denver Nuggets are hardly pushovers, but they came into this one a 7-13 team that'd lost their last three games, and even last night they seemed fairly beatable, even for a Philadelphia 76ers team still missing Robert Covington (in additional to our usual mini-roster of absentees). But Philly's energy sagged in the third quarter as Denver caught a second wind, and they spent the final frame hitting shots that the Sixers couldn't answer. Final score: Nuggets 106, 76ers 98. 

The most sobering part of the loss was that Joel Embiid finally played what would best be described as "a bad game." Not that bad, of course — even at his worst, Joel still managed 16 points and notched career-high five blocks. But he only shot 5-15 from the field, turned ball over three times, grabbed just four boards and played a large part in the sinkhole offense that the Sixers played in the late third and early fourth that ultimately cost them this one. JoJo still has trouble reading double teams and knowing when not to attack into traffic, and his frustration was extremely evident as he kept trying to do too much and paying the price for it. 

Nonetheless, even with an off Embiid night and a still-slumping Sauce — officially down to Left in the Car Overnight temperature after a night of 4 points on 1-7 shooting in 35 minutes — Philly probably still coulda gotten this one. Sergio Rodriguez appears to have swiped Nik's swag at least temporarily, with a season-high 17 points on 7-14 shooting to go with seven dimes and three steals, while Dario Saric and Ersan Ilyasova also poured in 17 and 8 each, and the Nuggets wings were largely kept quiet for two and a half quarters. But even while struggling, the Nuggets paraded their way to free-throw line — 34 FTAs for the night, including 12 for Danilo Gallinari alone — and once they caught fire late, the Sixers just couldn't keep up. 

A bummer for a team that's now lost seven in a row, and has to face the Grizzlies tonight in Memphis — their fourth game in five nights, and the first of a three-game road trip — without Embiid and also without Jahlil Okafor, out with illness. Even with the Grizz missing their own big names (no Mike Conley, Chandler Parsons, Zach Randolph or Vince Carter lately) and likely suffering from fatigue of their own after a double-OT road win last night in New Orleans, the 4-17 Sixers are gonna have a tough go matching Memphis' grit and grind tonight. Anytime you feel like Supermanning in and saving the day now would be cool, Nerlens Noel. Just sayin'.

Sixers name Elton Brand as Player Development Consultant

Sixers name Elton Brand as Player Development Consultant

Elton Brand is back with the Sixers, albeit not on the court.

The Sixers agreed with the former NBA forward to name Brand Player Development Consultant. In a press release, the team said Brand will be working with Sixers players in 'every facet of their on- and off-court development' while also working in the front office.

“We are extremely excited to bring Elton Brand back into the organization where he will be a valuable resource to our young and developing team," Bryan Colangelo said in the release. "Elton’s leadership and character displayed throughout his playing career as a player align perfectly with our vision, direction and culture of this basketball team, coaching staff and management group."

Brand retired during training camp after 17 NBA seasons, including five with the Sixers over two stints. The 6-foot-8 forward came out of retirement last season to provide a veteran presence for the Sixers and eventually played in 17 games when the team was snakebitten by injuries. 

He will now continue to be an influence on the Sixers' young core thanks to his new role with the basketball operations department.