Sixers Notes: Trade talk and Bynum latest


Sixers Notes: Trade talk and Bynum latest

The loss of Thad Young not only leaves the Sixers without their most consistent performer and best weapon on defense but also heightens the workload across the board.

Without Young in the starting lineup and unable to log his 40 minutes a night, head coach Doug Collins has opted to start veteran Kwame Brown at center and shift Spencer Hawes to power forward. For Wednesday’s game against the Indiana Pacers, it meant Hawes guarded the fleet-footed David West, an assignment normally tagged for Young.

Even with Young out for the next three weeks and center Andrew Bynum still working his way back, don’t expect any blockbuster deals by the Sixers before the Feb. 21 trade deadline.

According to general manager Tony DiLeo, the Sixers are still a work in progress.

“We’re talking to every team in the league and if there is something we think that will improve the team, and not just in the short-term, we’ll see what we can do,” DiLeo said prior to Wednesday’s game. “We’re looking to build.”

DiLeo is taking the long-term approach to his team. That means if the Sixers make a move by the deadline, it will be the future in mind.

Besides, the Sixers’ potential trade pieces are players they need right now. Players like Dorell Wright, Nick Young, Royal Ivey and Damien Wilkins have the coveted expiring contracts, but with Young, Bynum and Jason Richardson out, the Sixers likely will stand pat.

Then again, a trade of one of those expiring contracts isn’t going to bring back the value the Sixers seek.

It seems that DiLeo and the Sixers will wait for the team to get together and then evaluate things over the summer.

“We’re in a good position because we have flexibility with contracts. But we’re in a bad position because we just don’t have the answers,” DiLeo said. “We haven’t seen our team out there yet. It’s hard to plan when you don’t have all the answers yet. Hopefully, we’ll have the answers by the end of the year.”

Just chalk it up to a season-wide theme of waiting. The Sixers can’t make a deadline deal because they have to wait to see what kind of a team they have. They can’t see what kind of a team they have because of injuries.

As always, it all gets back to Bynum.

“If we do anything at the trade deadline it will be to improve the team,” DiLeo said.

Practice? We’re talking about practice!
According to DiLeo, he anticipates Bynum taking part in a full-contact practice sometime within the next “seven to 10 days.”

In regard to the report that DiLeo said Bynum could have begun practicing last week, the GM was perplexed.

“I never said Andrew would practice this week,” DiLeo said. “I don't know where that came from.”

Wishful thinking, perhaps?

Jahlil Okafor eager for more minutes as knee heals

Jahlil Okafor eager for more minutes as knee heals

CAMDEN, N.J. — Jahlil Okafor has been patient with his right knee. He was disciplined with restrictions and recovery during the preseason, recognizing the goal of being ready for opening night. 

At the same time, once he got back on the court he wanted more. Okafor played eight minutes Friday against the Heat, his first game since Feb. 28 before undergoing surgery to repair a right meniscus tear. 

“I don’t think I’m going to do eight again,” Okafor said Sunday. “They kind of heard me complain about that a lot. I think it’ll definitely be more than eight, but it won’t be much more.” 

Okafor has been limited since aggravating his knee during the final day of training camp. He practiced “to tolerance” on Sunday, according to the Sixers. Okafor did not participate in the team scrimmage and worked out individually with assistant coach/head of strength and conditioning Todd Wright. 

The second-year big man did not feel soreness on Saturday following the game. On Sunday, he felt “kind of stiff” during practice. Brett Brown has been watching Okafor’s movement closely. While Okafor considered it to be “good,” Brown was a tougher critic. 

“I think he looked OK,” Brown said. “He didn’t look great to me today. I’ll give him a B-minus … It’s always how do you move? East, west, north, south, how do you move?” 

Okafor scored four points and had one rebound, one assist, one block and one turnover in Miami. He focused on his defense during the game. When he subbed out, he checked in with Elton Brand on the bench to receive feedback from the now-retired veteran. Okafor plans to continue to tap into him for advice throughout the season. 

With opening night three days away, Okafor still plans to be on the floor for it.

“I am optimistic about it,” he said. “I should be ready to go.” 

Robert Covington sprained his right ankle in Friday’s game and did not practice Sunday. Brown anticipates Covington, who has been starting at small forward, also will be ready to go Wednesday. 

“I do (expect him to play),” Brown said. “But we won’t know that for sure yet.” 

Sixers waive retired Elton Brand
The Sixers waived Brand on Sunday, making his retirement official. Brand announced his intentions to walk away from the game Thursday. The Sixers' request of waivers was a procedural step. The roster currently stands at 19. 

“It’s been an honor, it’s been a privilege to play this game, the game that I love, and I’m certainly going to miss it,” Brand said last week (see story). “But it’s definitely time now.” 

Brand celebrated his career with his teammates at Komodo in Miami on Thursday night ahead of their preseason finale against the Heat. 

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

Report: Nerlens Noel expected out 3-5 weeks after left knee surgery

It appears the Sixers' frontcourt logjam may not be an issue early on.

Nerlens Noel, who is having surgery Monday for an inflamed plica in his left knee, will miss the first three to five weeks of the season, according to Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Noel suffered a left groin injury in the first preseason game against the Celtics and missed the rest of the preseason. While undergoing treatment, Noel reported left knee soreness, which led to the discovery of the inflamed plica.

It's been an odd start to the season for Noel. The big man was outspoken about his displeasure with the Sixers' frontcourt situation early in camp. With the deadline for Noel's rookie contract extension approaching on Oct. 31, the team has not had conversations about it, according to a report.

The Sixers are already without No. 1 overall pick Ben Simmons as he recovers from surgery to repair a Jones fracture in his right foot. The team will also be without their starting point guard Jerryd Bayless who is dealing with a ligament issue in his left wrist. Bayless won't require surgery and will be reevaluated in two weeks.