Summer League: Sixers' rally falls short vs. Cavs

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Summer League: Sixers' rally falls short vs. Cavs

The Sixers' run of summer league dominance came to an end with Monday night's 86-77 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers in Las Vegas. The Sixers had previously won five straight games between the Orlando Pro Summer League and the Las Vegas Summer League.

Down by as many as 21 points, the Sixers made a run in the second half before eventually taking the loss. Their record in the Las Vegas Summer League now stands at 1-1.

Nerlens Noel was solid in his Sin City debut. After sitting out the Sixers' Vegas opener, Noel had 12 points, six rebounds, four blocks and two steals against the Cavs. The big man did roll his left ankle late in the fourth quarter but he was able to return to the game after a brief break.

“I’d give it a ‘C’,” Noel said via the Sixers' website when asked to grade his performance. “I just felt I wasn’t active enough, and I felt my energy was a little down.”

"He's active. He's all over the place," assistant coach Chad Iske said. "He's trying to do everything, he's trying to do too much on both ends. The hard part is do you want to settle him down or do you want him just to play with that aggressiveness? I don't want to try to give him too much and cloud him and then he's thinking instead of just playing.

"I think we just got to continue to get out there and find the happy balance between him being within our rules and him being himself." 

Jordan McRae paced the Sixers with 18 points. Brandon Davies added 10 points along with a pair of rebounds and three steals.

Matthew Dellavedova scored a game-high 19 points for the Cavs on just 6 of 9 shooting.

Last month's No. 1 overall pick in the draft, Andrew Wiggins, registered 10 points and three rebounds. Meanwhile, 2013 top selection Anthony Bennett put up 14 points and four boards.

The Sixers scored just 11 points in the first quarter but managed to hang around by holding the Cavs to 15 in the frame. The Sixers increased their output to 18 points in the second quarter. However, they allowed the Cavs to score 33 points and ended up taking a 19-point deficit into halftime that they would never fully overcome.

The Sixers return to action at 8 p.m. on Tuesday against the Phoenix Suns.

If you hate the Nerlens Noel trade, you value him more than Sixers do

If you hate the Nerlens Noel trade, you value him more than Sixers do

I'll make the Nerlens Noel trade simple for you.

The Sixers don't think he's worth the money he'll be offered after the season.

He's a restricted free agent, and the Sixers don't anticipate matching the offer he'll receive, so they got what they could instead of letting him walk and getting nothing.

"I've often said I wouldn't make a bad deal," Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said Friday, "but yesterday I made the best deal that was available to us."

If you're fixated on the "bad deal" part of the quote -- and judging from the reaction in our newsroom and on Twitter and on our site, plenty of you should be -- then you have a higher opinion of Noel than the Sixers do. 

And that's the point of contention. 

Maybe Nerlens turns out to be Dennis Rodman 2.0. 

If that's the case, Bryan Colangelo will be ripped like Larry Brown has been for choosing Larry Hughes over Paul Pierce (it will never end). The move will be grouped with Moses Malone for Jeff Ruland and Cliff Robinson, and the No. 1 pick (Brad Dougherty) for Roy Hinson. 

(Sixers fans would have broken Twitter had it existed in 1986. If your Sixer fandom survived those trades, then this one barely should elicit a shrug.)  

But Noel also may just be the next Samuel Dalembert.

It will take some time to answer that question, but critics of this trade are also asking about the timing of the deal.

Why not trade Noel earlier? If they weren't sold on him, they could have dealt him last year when free agency wasn't on the horizon and they had more leverage. 

Remember, circumstances were different at the end of last season. Joel Embiid had yet to play. Noel and Jahlil Okafor were their insurance policies -- and Okafor was recovering from a knee injury too. 

"We were plugging in Nerlens Noel as our starting center at that point," Colangelo said. "There was no other way around because the unknowns related to both Joel and Jahlil."

Plus, when Colangelo arrived last April, there were only two games left in the regular season.

"When I was brought in, he was already basically an RFA," Colangelo said. 

Then why not wait until after this season and possibly retain Noel at a decent price? Colangelo didn't want to take the chance.

"Him being a restricted free agent certainly affected how people approached that type of player," he said. "It was more or less the case with every conversation I had that that concern about what that contract might look like in the future was certainly a factor in people's apprehension to move forward."

Perhaps the biggest conclusion to draw from the deal is this: The fact that the Sixers traded Noel -- and were clearly also willing to trade Okafor -- is a sign of their confidence in Embiid's potential, and more importantly, his durability.

"That Joel has emerged as a transformational type of player, it certainly made the decision to possibly move Nerlens that much easier," Colangelo said.

The Sixers clearly are confident that Embiid will not be the next Greg Oden and will recover to be the player who -- as a rookie -- is averaging nearly a point a minute. 

Risky? Certainly. Crazy? We'll find out. 

That said, the Sixers are also asking you to remember Richaun Holmes, who, as Colangelo put it was "in the shadows last year as an emerging backup."

And he's still emerging. Holmes has shown promise on both ends of the floor and is more polished and versatile offensively than Noel. Let's see what the kid can do. Maybe he'll find a home backing up Saric at the four and Embiid at the five.

Speaking of backups, the Sixers clearly weren't satisfied with the offers for Okafor, who unlike Noel isn't facing free agency. So they held onto him. Good move; he's too young to give away. 

Now it's up to the coaching staff to convince Okafor that the best way to earn a starting spot anywhere is to play defense and actually hustle after a rebound or two. 

The coaching staff's other priority is Justin Anderson, the key piece in the Noel deal. Anderson gives the Sixers another solid wing defender to go with Robert Covington. But -- like Covington this season -- he's struggled from three. Anderson recently has shown signs of being the player worthy of the 21st pick in 2015. Brown and company must help him rediscover his shot and become the next Jae Crowder

But back to the beginning. Regardless of your opinion of Noel, remember this: The keystones of this team are Embiid and Ben Simmons. If they recover from their respective injuries and live up to expectations, then this team should -- with its wealth of assets and cap room -- be in position to complete "The Process". 

If not, then there's probably nothing Nerlens Noel could have done about it anyway.

Bryan Colangelo on Noel trade, Okafor market, 'regret' with Embiid injury

Bryan Colangelo on Noel trade, Okafor market, 'regret' with Embiid injury

Here are some assorted quotes from Sixers president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo, after he opened his day-after-trade deadline press conference by announcing Ben Simmons is out for the season.

On Nerlens Noel
"Nerlens was obviously a part of something here over the last several years that has become a tough slog through of a lot of losing and unfortunately a lot of things that brought people to a point where it was about moving forward. 

"That's where we are today. Nerlens is a player that contributed a lot to the organization in a lot of ways. A respected teammate. We think that in Dallas he's got an opportunity to achieve what he'd like to achieve, which is a starting role and a commensurate contract."

Draft picks involved in Noel trade
"The value of second-round picks is higher with the use of two-way contracts.

"In terms of the first, not dissimilar to what happened with the OKC pick that's due to us. You never know what's going to happen in this league, you never know how it's going to turn out. 

"We're realists, we talk about the true value of the pick as two seconds."

Why not a better return for Noel?
"The market dictates what's there. And interestingly given our situation with multiple talented bigs, I think its pretty safe to say that people view us as a place to come if they're looking for a big.

"Several bigs were out there and available.

"Trade went down early, Nurkic going to Portland. There was some conversation obviously with Jahlil early, some advanced discussions.

"The situation with Nerlens, him being a RFA certainly affected how people approached that type of player.

"It was more or less the case that concern with how that contract might look in the future was a concern and (caused) apprehension."

Regret how you handled Joel Embiid's injury status?
"I regret saying day to day when it should have been out indefinitely.

"It was a mistake to put out day to day. It won't happen again.

"Two to three weeks may have been mentioned as a possibility, but to say that publicly might not have been the best thing at the time because I was also told sometimes it's four to six weeks for a bone bruise to resolve itself.

"Sometimes, taking it a step further, sometimes a bone bruise may stay on a scan for six to eight weeks."

Market for Okafor?
Because Okafor is on a rookie contract with two years left, Colangelo said the market for him was "more broad" and more conducive to a trade, but the right offer did not materialize.

Colangelo said talks could be revisited in the offseason.

Adding Justin Anderson in Noel deal
"Justin Anderson is a young wing that we think is going to add something to this team in the way of a defensive-minded approach, talent, athleticism.

"We like to describe him as someone who's got that edge. ... Philly fans are gonna love Justin's approach to the game.

"We're excited. He adds something to the mix that we're excited to have."