European experience chance for Sixers to bond

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European experience chance for Sixers to bond

After embarking across the Atlantic Ocean, the Sixers took the court Friday to practice in the Spanish city of Bilbao. The team has a pair of games on its international slate prior to returning for preseason action in North America.

Not one Sixer on the roster was present when the team last made the trek to Europe in 2006 -- longest-tenured player Thaddeus Young was not be drafted until June 2007. As such, the young team finds the trip to be a unique experience.

“It’s definitely cool, somewhat unreal, to go across the waters and see yourself marketed,” Evan Turner said in an interview with Sixers.com. “This whole thing is a fun experience, and I think it’ll be fun in the end. I’m just glad to be here.”

The Sixers are not the only squad from the NBA to play games in Europe as part of the Global Games initiative, as 11 other teams crossed the pond (including the Oklahoma City Thunder, who the Sixers are set to face Tuesday in Manchester, England). Some may believe that the international exposure would add a bit of pressure, but Turner disagrees.

“No pressure, all fun," Turner said. “It’s all about leading and helping my teammates out. We’re going to come out and compete, and make the most of it.”

The Sixers are set to face Bilbao Basket on Sunday -- a matchup Turner does not want to underestimate. While Turner does not feel added pressure from playing an international squad, he still sees them as tough competition to go up against.

“They play well and they play hard,” Turner said. “Anytime you play against them, you have to really come out and play because they play to win."

Bilbao may not be a team with a style the Sixers regularly see, but it will be a good test for a young team and rookie Michael Carter-Williams, who has been standing out to the fourth-year Turner, being described as “getting better each day.”

While the trip proves to be a chance for the Sixers to face formidable competition in foreign markets, it’s also another chance for the team to bond.

“That’s what it takes right now, and it’s just me and the team together right now,” Turner said. “We set our standards -- that’s playing hard and competing, and just setting a main foundation.”

The Sixers will return home to face the Boston Celtics in preseason action on Oct. 11 in Newark, Del.

Report: Bulls continuing trade push for Jahlil Okafor

Report: Bulls continuing trade push for Jahlil Okafor

The Bulls are apparently still after Jahlil Okafor.

Chicago has continued its trade push for the Sixers’ big man, according to a report Wednesday night by The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski.

In early February, the Bulls inquired about Okafor, according to a report by CSNChicago.com.

With Thursday’s 3 p.m. deadline nearing, the clock is ticking on the Sixers’ possible trade of Okafor, who will get moved” by the mandatory cutoff date, according to NBA.com’s David Aldridge on Tuesday.

The Sixers already have one trade nearly completed. They are currently finalizing a deal that will send Ersan Ilyasova to the Atlanta Hawks, a league source confirmed to CSNPhilly.com Sixers Insider Jessica Camerato on Wednesday night (see story).

With Okafor, aside from the Bulls, other teams have reportedly expressed interest in the second-year center, including the Pacers, Blazers and Pelicans (who are expected to be out of the running after landing DeMarcus Cousins).

Okafor is averaging 11.4 points and 4.8 rebounds in 23 minutes per game this season over 38 contests. Last season, he played 53 games (48 starts) as a rookie and averaged 17.5 points and seven rebounds.

The 21-year-old has taken all the trade buzz in stride.

“Trade rumors are something that’s going to be part of my life probably for as long as I’m in the NBA," Okafor said on Feb. 4 after the Bulls’ reported interest originally surfaced. "I’ve been hearing it since I’ve been in the NBA about me being traded. I just try to focus on what I can. That’s being here on this team and trying to help this team win.”

Source: Sixers finalizing trade to send Ilyasova to Hawks for Spiltter, 2nd-round picks

Source: Sixers finalizing trade to send Ilyasova to Hawks for Spiltter, 2nd-round picks

The Sixers are trading a frontcourt player before the deadline … just not the one people expected.

The Sixers are finalizing a trade to send Ersan Ilyasova to the Atlanta Hawks for center Tiago Splitter and two second-round picks, a league source confirmed to CSNPhilly.com Sixers Insider Jessica Camerato.

The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski first reported the news.

Ilyasova was acquired along with a conditional first-round pick from Oklahoma City on Nov. 1 for Jerami Grant. The 29-year-old, who is a free agent at the end of the season, has averaged 14.3 points and 5.9 rebounds this season.

However, he has struggled offensively lately, shooting just 35.7 percent from the field and 23.1 percent from three-point range over the last 10 games.

“I am not going to say it’s just because of free agency,” said Ilyasova, who has now been traded five times in 20 months after spending the first seven NBA seasons of his career in Milwaukee. “You have 82 games, you can’t play perfect. Sometimes you have good games and bad games.

The move also allows Sixers Dario Saric to receive even more playing time and experience as the team heads into the final 26 games of the regular season. Saric has shown steady improvement all season long. The rookie has averaged 16.0 points on 44.0 percent shooting with 6.9 rebounds and 2.0 assists in nine games during February.

Splitter has missed the entire season with hip and calf injuries. A league source tells Camerato that the Sixers have not yet determined whether the Sixers will keep Splitter or waive him. The veteran's contract expires after this season.

While Ilyasova is the first Sixers domino to fall at the deadline, he may not be the last. League sources also tell Wojnarowski that the Chicago Bulls have "continued to push on a trade" for Jahlil Okafor.