Joel Embiid in favor of changing All-Star ballot to bring back centers

Joel Embiid in favor of changing All-Star ballot to bring back centers

Joel Embiid already is on a path to becoming an All-Star. He's not alone in the young group of emerging centers with the potential to reach that caliber. 

Embiid sees a bright future for the center position in the NBA. He would be in favor of changing the All-Star voting to reflect that. 

"You've got KAT (Karl-Anthony Towns), you've got Myles Turner, you've got Kristaps (Porzingis), so a lot of young guys, a lot of dominant big men, Andre Drummond. I'm hoping they bring back the center position for All-Star," Embiid said after battling Hassan Whiteside in the Sixers win over the Heat. "Around the league, there's a lot of young big men and I think we're starting a comeback."

The NBA removed the center position from the ballot in October of 2012. The league changed the voting criteria from two forwards and one center to three frontcourt players. 

"It made sense to our Competition Committee," former VP of basketball operations Stu Jackson said at the time.
 
"Having a center is the only specific position that was singled out on the ballot. It just seemed a little outdated and didn't represent the way our game has evolved. By the same token, it also affords the same opportunity, if you have two good centers in a given year, pick 'em both. They both can be selected. Which is impossible right now."

In a league where many teams are trending toward small ball, Embiid believes the five-man is imperative to success.

"First of all, defensively, without a big man I think you can't be a good defensive team," he said. "I think the big man is the main piece. Offensively, getting rebounds, and when you've got a big man that can score down low and do everything else is always good for the team."

Embiid is having a standout rookie season, averaging 18.4 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.3 blocks in his first 10 games, all while being restricted to 24 minutes.

On Monday, Whiteside scored a career-high 32 points along with 13 rebounds in the Heat's loss to the Sixers.

"I told him, ‘Keep killing it,'" Embiid said. "As big men, we all want each other to do good. I've always thought, even in the past, it's always been a big man league. I want it to stay like that."

Sixers draft pick Jonah Bolden signs 3-year deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv

Sixers draft pick Jonah Bolden signs 3-year deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv

Sixers draft pick Jonah Bolden is officially headed back overseas.

Bolden, the 36th overall selection in last month’s draft, signed a three-year contract to play in Israel with Maccabi Tel Aviv, the team announced. The deal does contain opt-out clauses for the NBA.

“Jonah is a very talented young player with great potential, an athletic forward who knows how to shoot the ball and a great guy who likes to work hard,” Maccabi Tel Aviv head coach Neven Spahija said, per the EuroLeague's official website. “We believe he will develop into a great player.”

Bolden had hoped to join the Sixers for next season after spending summer league with the squad. The 6-10, 227-pound forward averaged 8.7 points on 36.8 percent shooting from the field and 31.4 percent from three-point range between the Utah and Las Vegas Summer Leagues. He also put up 6.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks in 23.4 minutes a game.

Bolden entered the draft after putting up 12.1 points (59.7 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from three-point range), 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals a game for KK FMP Beograd of Serbia last season. Those numbers earned him the Adriatic League’s Top Prospect award, previously won by Dario Saric and Nikola Jokic.

Bolden won’t be the only player on Maccabi Tel Aviv’s roster with Sixers/Philly ties. Former 2013 Sixers second-round pick Pierre Jackson and Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, native Jake Cohen are both members of the team.

NBA Notes: Kyrie Irving asks Cavaliers to trade him

NBA Notes: Kyrie Irving asks Cavaliers to trade him

CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving wants the stage for himself.

Cleveland's All-Star point guard has asked the Cavaliers to trade him, two people familiar with the situation told the Associated Press on Friday. Irving made the request last week to owner Dan Gilbert, said the people who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is not commenting on the star's demands.

Irving's appeal was first reported by ESPN.

A four-time All-Star, Irving has spent six seasons with the Cavs, who selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in 2011. The 25-year-old has overcome injury issues and blossomed into one of the league's elite point guards and biggest stars.

And now that he's finally established himself playing alongside LeBron James, Irving wants out (see full story).

Wizards: Wall reportedly gets 4-year, $170 million extension
WASHINGTON -- A person familiar with the deal says that All-Star point guard John Wall has agreed to a $170 million, four-year contract extension with the Washington Wizards that will start with the 2019 season.

The person confirmed the terms of the agreement to The Associated Press on Friday night on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.

Wall is a four-time Eastern Conference All-Star who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft out of Kentucky. He becomes the third player to agree this summer to a designated player "supermax" extension, joining Houston's James Harden and Golden State's Stephen Curry.

Wall's deal was first reported by NBA.com (see full story).

Cavaliers: Altman promoted to full-tme general manager
CLEVELAND -- A person familiar with the decision says the Cleveland Cavaliers are promoting assistant general manager Koby Altman to be their full-time GM.

Altman has been serving as the club's interim GM for the past few weeks. His deal is being finalized and will be announced in the next few days, said the person who spoke Friday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks.

Altman has been with the Cavs since 2012 and had worked as David Griffin's assistant since after the 2016 title season. Griffin left the club last month after he couldn't work out a contract extension with owner Dan Gilbert.

The 34-year-old Altman will be one of the league's youngest executives.

He'll have a lot on his plate as All-Star guard Kyrie Irving has asked to be traded and LeBron James can opt out of his contract next summer.

Spurs: Gasol agrees to 3-year deal
A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Pau Gasol has agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the San Antonio Spurs.

The 7-foot Spaniard and the Spurs came to agreement on Friday on a deal that is partially guaranteed for the third season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not made an official announcement.

Gasol declined the $16 million option on his contract in June the intent of signing a longer-term deal with the Spurs. The Spurs re-signed Patty Mills and added free agents Rudy Gay and Brandon Paul.

Gasol averaged 12.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 25.4 minutes per game for the Spurs last season.

ESPN first reported the agreement.

Grizzlies: Ex-Oregon forward Brooks signs
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month's NBA draft.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.

Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.