Nerlens Noel on trade talks, frustrations, Hinkie vs. Colangelo

Nerlens Noel on trade talks, frustrations, Hinkie vs. Colangelo

Nerlens Noel isn't just discussed often in Philly, he's also getting plenty of national attention as an obvious trade candidate. Fans from around the country of teams in need of a big, including Bill Simmons last weekend, have Noel on their radar. 

So it wasn't a huge surprise to see Noel pop up on Adrian Wojnarowski's podcast Monday, given Woj's propensity to break juicy trade news.

There was no big revelation during the 40-minute interview, but Noel did say some interesting things about his NBA future, his relationship with two different GMs and the frustration of the last few years.

Here are some excerpts from the interview, which you can find here.

Noel on his playing time frustrations
"I think as a young player who really just wants to go out there and play the game he loves, it's really frustrating at this point in my career to not be able to really show what I'm capable of and show the steps I've taken year by year.

"(When I spoke out) I really just wanted to come out and give my opinion on it, speak how I was feeling. I wasn't necessarily wanting too much of a reaction, although it might have been inevitable. I tried to do it in the best way possible. It was an emotional thing at the time."

The adjustment from Sam Hinkie to Bryan Colangelo
"Did have to adjust a little bit. He (Hinkie) said he'd never trade me. It's a business regardless, but a guy who really values you to a high standard. And then overnight, your life changes and you're on the block and really uncertain about things and it changes your mindset on how you're gonna approach things. ... 

"As time went on, I met with Bryan a few weeks after he came to Philadelphia and it was a great meeting. ... We don't communicate at all on (trade stuff). We say what's up every time we see each other."

Did Noel foresee Joel Embiid's quick stardom?
"I was still pretty unsure [in the summer]. All I knew is what I am. I thought I was a player that could be utilized in a lot of different ways. With the addition of Joel, he's a great player, a special player. He deserves everything he has, and I think I still could have been utilized. 

"Maybe even communication on how things could look like moving forward. Everything was still in the fog and I was mainly focused on what I could do to get better throughout the whole summer."

Noel's reaction to fans who want him on their team
"It's definitely reassuring when you see people say they want you on their team. It tells yourself that you're doing the right thing. It's definitely a good feeling to see that and it keeps me going, but at the same time I do see how much love I get from the city of Philadelphia and how much they do talk about keeping me, so that's definitely something I appreciate, how much love that city has given to me since I first got there."

Shawn Long the latest of Sixers to seize opportunity

Shawn Long the latest of Sixers to seize opportunity

CHICAGO -- Injuries have been creating opportunities for different players on the Sixers all season.

Just last week, we took a look at the emergence of Richaun Holmes and how he has moved up the depth chart and proven himself to be a reliable first backup center next season (see story).

Shawn Long has been capitalizing on the same opportunities since earning a call-up from the Delaware 87ers. The Sixers signed Long to a multi-year deal on March 16 following the end of his 10-day contract. His contract is guaranteed for the remainder of this season but partially guaranteed after that, making every game an audition for the future.

The Sixers are down to three centers since the season-ending injury of Joel Embiid (see story), and just two when Jahlil Okafor is out. Long has slid into the backup (and sometimes backup-to-the-backup) role Holmes previously held.

"I think that Shawn Long has really grabbed his brief opportunities and been more than serviceable," Brett Brown said this week. "He's shown reasons why he should be considered a genuine NBA player."

Long's numbers, standing alone, aren't jaw-dropping. Taking a closer look, though, they are efficient. In seven games this month, Long is averaging 5.8 points (shooting 59.3 percent from the field) and 3.5 rebounds in 9.0 minutes.

In Wednesday's loss to the Thunder, Long led the Sixers with six rebounds (in a game they were held to a season-low 25 boards) and 13 points in 15 minutes off the bench. Seven of those minutes came in the first half, so this wasn't just a case of getting a run in a fourth-quarter blowout situation.

On Monday, Long spread his contributions across the stat sheet in the Sixers' overtime loss to the Magic: four points, two rebounds, two assists, two steals and two blocks in 11 minutes.

Going back to Sunday's 105-99 win over the Celtics, he played a key role in the Sixers' third-quarter push that cut a double-digit deficit to only three points heading into the fourth. He posted eight points and three rebounds in 5:52 during the third.

Long has to watch his foul trouble as he gets adjusted to defending NBA opponents. He is averaging 4.7 personal fouls in 11.0 minutes over the last three games.

Long also continues to focus on his three-point shooting to stretch the floor. He is just 2 for 3 from three as a Sixer. On Wednesday, he worked on long-range drills with Holmes after shootaround.

With the skills he has and those he is honing, Long could be the latest member of the Sixers to make a name for himself by maximizing playing time when he receives it.

"Isn't it fantastic -- as we've seen over the years, opportunity uncovers different qualities in people," Brown said.

Now with Thunder, Jerami Grant still considers Sixers family

Now with Thunder, Jerami Grant still considers Sixers family

OKLAHOMA CITY -- Jerami Grant was the first familiar face to be traded in a season that has seen Nerlens Noel and Hollis Thompson exit town as well.

The Sixers dealt Grant to the Thunder on Nov. 1 in exchange for Ersan Ilyasova and a protected draft pick. The Thunder had already played the Sixers on opening night in Philadelphia, and nearly five months passed before Grant faced his former (and only other) team.

"It's still family, everybody in the organization," Grant said. "They're doing well, they're playing a lot better, so I'm happy for them."

Grant's life was thrown into a tailspin when he was traded. In a flash, he had to leave the city he had called home since 2014. So quickly, in fact, his family had to move out of his home in Philadelphia for him.

"I had to pack my bags and things in two hours," Grant recalled. "I had to get a physical so I could play the next day in L.A. At first it was a little shock, but once you settle down, it's OK."

Grant quickly found a role with his athleticism. He averaged 6.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 1.2 blocks in 21.2 minutes before the All-Star break. The reunion with childhood best friend Victor Oladipo was an added bonus to the adjustment period.

"I settled in well," Grant said. "I think everybody did a great job of just bringing me in. I think the fans have done a great job of embracing me. Whenever I get on the court, they give me a standing ovation, so that's great. My teammates are great, too."

Grant's playing time waned when the Thunder acquired Taj Gibson and Doug McDermott from the Bulls. Grant is averaging 3.4 points, 1.5 rebounds and 0.2 blocks in 12.3 minutes since the break. He continues to stay focused on improving his three-point shot every day in practice, which was a focal point with the Sixers.

Grant played 11 minutes against the Sixers and scored three points (a trey, nonetheless), along with three rebounds and two assists (see game recap). Brett Brown has seen Grant play enough games to believe in spite of his lessened role on the Thunder, he will have a place in the league for years to come.

"He lives right, he's prideful, he wants to be good," Brown said. "He's athletic enough to feel like there's potential there. He's a wonderful person and a great teammate. There's a cleanliness, there's a wholesomeness to Jerami Grant along with pedigree, his family tree ... that makes him for sure to me an NBA longtime player."