Charles Barkley on Sixers, Noel and Wiggins

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Charles Barkley on Sixers, Noel and Wiggins

Charles Barkley has jumped on the Sixers bandwagon ­- the one that expects their win total to be in the teens.

In an interview with SI, Barkley gave his thoughts on where the Sixers stand heading into the season.

"Well, sitting [Nerlens] Noel for the season is probably the smart move," Barkley said. "The over-under was 21 [wins]. I'm taking the under now. If Noel was playing, I would have taken the over. But I think it's a smart move because [Noel] is not physically or offensively ready to play in the NBA."

The actual Vegas odds from Pregame.com have the Sixers' over/under for wins on the year at 17, so it's unclear whether Barkley would still take the under in that case, but regardless, his outlook appears to be as bleak as the general public's view.

As for his take on the presumed No. 1 pick in the 2014 NBA draft, Kansas's Andrew Wiggins, Barkley needs to see him play in college before forming an opinion.

"First of all, no. Why would I watch a high school player? That's stupid," Barkley said. "I've heard all the stuff. OK, he's a great high school player. Let me see what happens when he gets to college. When people ask me who will be the Rookie of the Year, I say, 'I don't know.' The guys have played against college players. Nobody expected Damian Lillard to win Rookie of the Year. I will watch the Wiggins kid play when I start watching college basketball. I am not going to project how great he will be. I mean, Kwame Brown was a great high school player."

Though Barkley may not be sold, it appears that many teams, including the Sixers, are all-in on Wiggins. While finishing last only gives a team a 25 percent chance at obtaining the first pick, Wiggins is worth taking that risk. And for a draft class that is expected to be packed, any player in the top five will have a shot at changing a team's fortunes.

Teams are tanking, and some GMs aren't even afraid to say it.

One anonymous GM told ESPN's Jeff Goodman outright, "Our team isn't good enough to win and we know it. So this season we want to develop and evaluate our young players, let them learn from their mistakes -- and get us in position to grab a great player."

This GM points out the Sixers as a prime example of tanking.

"We're not alone," the GM said. "Look at the 76ers. Since the draft in June, I don't think they've signed a player or made a trade to add a legitimate player."

So as the NBA season begins tonight, the race to the bottom is on. And for the first time in a while, a Philadelphia team has a chance at coming out on top ... sort of.

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.