Sixers, Pelicans make draft-night trade official

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Sixers, Pelicans make draft-night trade official

Updated July 13, 11:30 p.m.

It was expected, but now it's official.

The Sixers on Friday night announced that the trade with the New Orleans Pelicans to acquire Nerlens Noel and a 2014 first-round draft pick in exchange for Jrue Holiday is officially completed. Separately, the Sixers on Saturday morning confirmed that their acquisition of forwards Royce White and Furkan Aldemir from the Houston Rockets is also now official.

A league source confirmed to CSNPhilly.com's Dei Lynam on Wednesday that the New Orleans trade was official pending Holiday's physical.

Noel was selected No. 6 overall by the Pelicans in last month's draft. New Orleans also acquired the draft's 42nd overall pick by the Sixers (Pierre Jackson).

"The draft is an important pipeline of talent for our team and our intention was to add players who could position us well for the future, while also allowing us to capitalize on attractive opportunities to acquire top-flight talent or additional future draft choices," Sixers president and general manager Sam Hinkie said in statement. "Nerlens Noel and an additional 2014 first-round draft choice give us two new opportunities to add talent to our team."

Noel, a 6-foot-11, 228-pound center averaged 10.5 points, 9.5 rebounds and an NCAA-best 4.4 blocks in his one and only season at Kentucky. He was also named SEC Defensive Player of the Year and SEC Freshman of the Year as well as First Team All-SEC.

Noel played in 24 games at Kentucky before suffering a torn ACL in his left knee in February.

Holiday, a 2009 first-round draft pick by the Sixers, played four seasons in Philadelphia and made his first All-Star team this past season as a 22-year-old by averaging 17.7 points, 8.0 assists and 4.2 rebounds per game.

"Once I got the call, [Hinkie] said I was traded, the initial hit is obviously like, 'Wow, what kind of happened?' But, back then, once you start thinking about it, you have Ryan Anderson, Jason Smith, you had Robin Lopez, you [have] Eric Gordon, I was like, 'Well, dang, we're actually going to be really good,'" Holiday said at his introductory press conference on Friday.

White and Aldemir were later acquired from the Rockets in return for future draft considerations and cash. White has a well-documented anxiety disorder which kept him in a dispute with the Rockets and off the floor for his entire rookie year, while Aldemir, a 6-10 big, spent last year playing overseas in Turkey.

Joel Embiid admits to reaggravating foot injury after 2014 surgery, almost quitting

Joel Embiid admits to reaggravating foot injury after 2014 surgery, almost quitting

Joel Embiid trusts the Process, more so than anyone — the process of patience.

After sitting out two whole seasons because of foot injuries, Embiid learned the importance of patience the hard way.

Appearing on NBA TV's Open Court, Joel Embiid opened up about how he reaggravated the fracture in his foot that cost him the 2015-16 season.

"I didn't know how to deal with patience," Embiid said on the roundtable discussion. "I just wanted to do stuff, that's why I think I needed a second surgery, because after my first one, I just wanted to play basketball again. I just wanted to be on the court and I pushed through what I wasn't supposed to.

"At one point I thought about quitting. I just wanted to come back home and just forget everything."

Embiid goes on to discuss the Sixers' turnaround this season and his mindset during his recovery. Watch the full clip below. 

Embiid also said he models his game after Hakeem Olajuwon. 

 

NBA power rankings: Sixers can't escape the lower third

NBA power rankings: Sixers can't escape the lower third

With the NBA's glorified exhibition in the rearview mirror, we reenter reality of the remaining NBA season. The Sixers still are looking for suitors for Jahlil Okafor while questions swirl around about the health of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. 

Some claim they are tanking still, and if those people are talking about the recent NBA power rankings then they would be right. 

Games before the All-Star break
Last Monday and Wednesday the Sixers split their two games before the break, beating the Hornets and losing to the Celtics. 

Dario Saric continues to be the Sixers' most productive player in the absence of Embiid. In the short week, he averaged 19 points (a team leader in that category both games) and 11 rebounds. 

T.J. McConnell continues to control the floor at the point, dishing out seven assists against the Hornets and eight against the Celtics. 

An inability to finish has been the story for the Sixers without Embiid. The Sixers led by one at the half against the Hornets and were tied with the Celtics at the midway point. These are good signs, but these guys are far from being contenders in the east. The experts agree. 

What's next
Only two games this week for the 76ers: Friday at home against the Wizards (7 p.m./CSN) and on the road on Sunday to play the Knicks (7:30 p.m./CSN).

What the experts say
ESPN’s Marc Stein had some fun with his rankings this week using tweets and memes to describe a team’s current situation. The Sixers dropped from 20 to 23 in his rankings — not a significant drop but a drop nonetheless. 

He used this one in his evaluation of the Sixers:

NBA.com’s John Schuhmann bumped the Sixers up from 22 to 21 this week. He sees great improvement in Saric’s game stating: “Saric has already shown a lot of improvement and TLC, with his length on the perimeter, could prove to be a great fit next to the other core pieces if he can knock down shots.”

He added a positive thought on the Demarcus Cousins trade and how the Sixers still made out well even though they were not able to ship Okafor to the Pelicans. 

“The Sixers lost a potential trading partner with the DeMarcus Cousins trade to New Orleans, but still came out a winner in the deal, because they can swap first round picks with the Kings this year and own Sacramento's pick (with no protections) in 2019.”

Bleacher Report’s Grant Hughes did not move the 76ers from the 21 spot on his list last week. He writes that he is intrigued with this processing team: “Sorry, but I'm never going to stop being delighted by the Sixers finding ways to win.”

He made his prediction for games won by the Sixers if they get Embiid back on the court: “It's hard to know what Simmons might bring, but Embiid's contributions are well understood. If he makes it back and looks healthy, Philly could easily win 30-plus games.”

Finally, Fox Sports’ Andrew Lynch dropped the Sixers from 27 to 28 – yikes! His outlook is very pessimistic as he looks exclusively at the injuries of Embiid and Simmons. He writes that a complete shutdown of Simmons would make sense as the season’s end gets closer by the day.