Philadelphia 76ers

NBA Notes: Paul George hopes to play in '14-15

uspresswire-pacers-paul-george.jpg

NBA Notes: Paul George hopes to play in '14-15

INDIANAPOLIS -- Paul George hopes to make it back on the court next season despite the "freak accident" that caused a compound fracture in his right leg.

On Friday, the two-time All-Star responded to questions for the first time since the gruesome image of him colliding with a basketball stanchion.

George says the leg broke in two spots and that a rod was inserted during surgery Aug. 2. Doctors placed pins in the knee and ankle to hold the rod in place. The leg is now protected by a hard cast.

Coach Frank Vogel and Pacers president of basketball operations Larry Bird said Tuesday that George has not been ruled out for the season though they didn't expect to have him.

George has been told he will make a full recovery (see full story).

Warriors: Livingston out six to eight weeks
OAKLAND, Calif. -- Golden State Warriors guard Shaun Livingston is expected to be out six to eight weeks after having arthroscopic surgery on the big toe of his right foot.

The Warriors said Friday that Livingston's toe will be in a splint for the first three weeks of his recovery. The team says the procedure was performed Wednesday by Dr. Richard Ferkel at the Southern California Orthopedic Institute in Van Nuys.

Golden State signed Livingston to a three-year contract worth about $16 million in July. The team says he was diagnosed with a sprained right big toe at the time and his foot was placed in a cast. The Warriors say Livingston was re-evaluated last week and it was determined that surgery was needed.

Kings: Bhullar, first Indian player, inks deal
SACRAMENTO, Calif. -- Sim Bhullar has signed a contract to join the Sacramento Kings in training camp, becoming the first player of Indian descent to ink a deal with an NBA team.

The Kings announced Bhullar's deal Friday. Terms of the contract were not disclosed.

The 7-foot-5, 360-pound center was born in Toronto and played two seasons for New Mexico State, where he averaged 10.2 points, 7.2 rebounds and 2.9 blocks to lead the Aggies to back-to-back NCAA tournaments. Undrafted this spring, Bhullar was part of the Kings team that won the NBA's summer league tournament in Las Vegas last month.

Kings owner Vivek Ranadive, the league's first Indian-born majority owner, says in a statement he's "long believed India is the next great frontier for the NBA" (see full story).

U.S.: National team cancels Senegal trip
The U.S. national team has canceled a trip to Senegal after the Ebola outbreak in West Africa.

USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo says Friday the Americans were disappointed to call off what would have been the national team's first trip to the African continent, but "didn't have any other choice" because of the risk.

The Americans were scheduled to travel to Dakar on Aug. 27 and conduct a joint clinic with the Senegal national team. They planned to tour Senegal's Goree Island and attend a reception hosted by the Senegalese government.

More than 1,000 people have died in West Africa in the last six months after the outbreak quickly spread to major cities in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone (see full story).

NBA Notes: Bulls bring back Doug Collins as special adviser

usa-doug-collins.jpg
USA Today Images

NBA Notes: Bulls bring back Doug Collins as special adviser

CHICAGO -- Doug Collins has returned to the Chicago Bulls. Just not on the sideline this time around.

The rebuilding Bulls hired Collins on Tuesday to serve senior adviser of basketball operations, providing "an expert resource" for the front office and coaching staff.

Collins will report directly to executive vice president of basketball operations John Paxson. General manager Gar Forman and coach Fred Hoiberg remain in their jobs.

"Doug will not be coaching," Paxson said. "Doug will not be a decision maker. None of the roles have changed."

While no one is getting fired at this point, Collins becomes another set of eyes for an organization that finally committed to a full rebuild after taking a patchwork approach in recent years (see full story).

Pelicans: Cunningham agrees to contract
A person familiar with the situation says the New Orleans Pelicans and forward Dante Cunningham have agreed on a one-year contract worth $2.3 million.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on Tuesday on condition of anonymity because the agreement, which was first reported by Yahoo, has not been announced.

The 6-foot-8 Cunningham spent the past three seasons in New Orleans, where he averaged 6.6 points and 4.2 rebounds in about 25 minutes per game last season.

The 30-year-old Cunningham has spent eight seasons in the NBA, beginning with Portland, which selected him in the second round of the 2009 draft out of Villanova.

Cunningham could start for New Orleans at small forward in a lineup that would feature DeMarcus Cousins at center, Anthony Davis at power forward, Rajon Rondo at point guard and Jrue Holiday at shooting guard.

Heat: Dragic retiring from Slovenia team
LJUBLJANA, Slovenia -- NBA guard Goran Dragic has confirmed he is retiring from the Slovenia team that won the European basketball championship.

Dragic says on Tuesday, "I achieved what I wanted, the gold medal, and this is the right time to bid farewell."

The 31-year-old Dragic led Slovenia with 35 points to beat Serbia 93-85 in the final on Sunday in Istanbul, earning the MVP award.

He says Slovenia's qualifying campaign for the 2019 world championship will start in November, and it would be impossible for him to play due to his professional duties with the Miami Heat in the NBA.

Tens of thousands of jubilant Slovenes greeted the new European champions on Monday in the capital of Ljubljana.

Give and Go: Who will be the Sixers' sixth man?

Give and Go: Who will be the Sixers' sixth man?

With training camp starting next week, our resident basketball analysts will discuss some of the hottest topics involving the Sixers.

Running the Give and Go are CSNPhilly.com Sixers Insider Jessica Camerato and producer/reporters Matt Haughton and Paul Hudrick.

In this edition, we discuss who should be the Sixers' sixth man going into the 2017-18 season.

Camerato
This role has become a hot topic since the Sixers finally have the pieces to put together a consistent starting five and establish a go-to sixth man. This summer I wrote an article on the starting lineup in which I projected Robert Covington to start and Dario Saric to come off the bench as the sixth man. The Sixers need Covington’s defensive presence at small forward and Ben Simmons likely will start at power forward while running the floor. Not every reader agreed in the comments section and the Saric-as-a-starter sentiment was echoed on social media. 

I still see Saric as the best fit for sixth man. This role is often filled by a starting-caliber player. Saric had 36 starts as a rookie, including all 25 games in which he played after the All-Star Break. Brett Brown wants the Sixers’ sixth man to be on the court to end games. Saric averaged more minutes (7.1) in the fourth than any other quarter last season. 

The key would be getting Saric to buy in to being the sixth man. Saric worked his entire career to be the best player he could be. He is his own toughest critic and became visibly disappointed when he had letdowns last season. There is a shift in mindset going from a starter to the first player off the bench. Saric can thrive in this role, but first he has to embrace it and not looking at it as a demotion. The sixth man can be just as valuable, if not more, than a starter. 

Haughton
With a widely projected starting lineup of Joel Embiid, Robert Covington, JJ Redick, Markelle Fultz and Simmons, the Sixers’ sixth man would appear to be a lock as Dario Saric. After all, Saric is a strong all-around player and coming off an impressive rookie season.

However, that starting five may force Brett Brown to go in a different direction with his first man off the bench.

Sure, Brown’s opening group may have a lot of firepower, but it lacks a necessity of legitimate NBA teams: a proven floor general. With Fultz and Simmons in the backcourt, the Sixers have two players that have yet to take part in an NBA regular-season game. They also will be trying to adjust to playing off the ball (Fultz) and running the team as a full-time point guard (Simmons).

That’s why I believe Brown may opt to go with Jerryd Bayless as his first reserve to combat the expected growing pains of his rookie backcourt. Bayless didn’t exactly wow Sixers fans by playing in just three contests a season ago because of torn ligaments in his wrist, but the veteran still has 513 career games under his belt (29 in the postseason) and knows how to play both guard positions.

It may not be the preferred pick, but Bayless may be the necessary choice as sixth man if the Sixers hope to achieve their goals in the upcoming campaign.

Hudrick
I know it doesn't please some Sixers fans that Saric seems destined to come off the bench, but really, it's a great sign.

Saric has proven to be a good NBA player after a strong rookie campaign, but think about it. This roster suddenly has talent. People are getting giddy and talking playoffs. Do you know what playoff teams have? Good players coming off the bench. It's not a knock on Saric as much as it's a testament to how talented this roster has become.

I will say that Matt's idea of using Bayless as the team's sixth man is interesting. Brown puts such a heavy emphasis on the point guard position. He's referred to it as the hardest position to play in the NBA. And now he's turning the keys over to a 6-foot-10 player that's never truly played the position. 

In the end, I'm going Saric. He should come in and dominate most team's second units offensively. Plus his grit and energy are perfect for the role. The Sixers just have to hope he embraces it.