Sixers amnesty Brand, sign guard Nick Young

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Sixers amnesty Brand, sign guard Nick Young

NEW YORK A quiet offseason took a dramatic turn on Friday morning when the 76ers jumped head first into the free-agent waters.

The team signed shooting guard Nick Young to a one-year deal worth 6 million, according to a team source. In acquiring Young, which cannot be announced until July 11, the deal could mean the end of Lou Williams in Philly.

Or does it?

Shortly after coming to terms with Young, a team source said the Sixers had exercised the amnesty clause on veteran power forward Elton Brand. By using their amnesty, the Sixers removed Brands 18 million off the salary cap, which will allow the team to sign Young as well as pursue a scorer and some backcourt depth. One of those signings could include Williams, who led the team in scoring last season.

The moves also clear enough space under the cap that the Sixers could take on salary in a trade, too.

As for using the amnesty clause, teams under the salary cap can bid on Brand like an auction. According to reports, the teams currently under the salary cap include Dallas, New Orleans, Portland, and Houston. If no team places a bid, Brand becomes a free agent and can sign with any team.

At age 32 with 13 NBA seasons on the odometer, the past three seasons have not been easy for Brand. Last year he finished the season with a dislocated thumb and broken hand as well as a beat-up body. The year before that, he was coming off shoulder surgery. And though he came into 2011-12 relatively healthy, it took Brand a while to find his rhythm and legs during the compressed, rapid-fire schedule.

Brand played most of the second half with a dislocated thumb, and then during the playoffs he injured his neck and shoulder so badly that it limited his range of motion.

But when it comes to heart, toughness and professionalism, there are few athletes in sports that can measure up with Brand. With a pair of legs that dont carry him as quickly as they used to and rigid scar tissue taking hold of his hands, shoulders, feet and legs, its a wonder that he did not miss more games.

Nevertheless, Brand was the one player his teammates and coaches could go to no matter what. Moreover, Brand was the one voice in the Sixers locker room that carried the most weight.

Hes one of our proudest players, coach Doug Collins said during the playoff series against the Celtics. I admire him and respect him to the ultimate. He was a much-maligned player here for a couple years, with his contract and his injuries. Im going to give him every chance to be successful. Thats what you do with players who are professional. Its what Im going to do. The guys who are out there fighting for you every single night, you have to give them the chance to do that.

Young, a 6-foot-6, five-year veteran out of USC, averaged 14.2 points per game for the Wizards and Clippers last season. A floor spacer, Young attempted 282 three-pointers last season and hit them at a 37 percent clip. Young is also a good free-throw shooter and made his first 30 of the season with the Wizards and 38 of his first 39. He scored at least 20 points in 14 games with a season-high of 35.

Youngs best season was two years ago when he averaged 17.4 points in 64 games to lead the Wizards.

Whats next for the Sixers? With Young in and Brand out, the Sixers have approximately 36 million of the 58 million cap marked for 10 players, including first-round draft picks Maurice Harkless and Arnett Moultrie. Teams must spend at least 85 percent of its cap space per the collective bargaining agreement, which means the Sixers have a few more millions to spend.

Sit tight, it looks like the Sixers are just getting started.

E-mail John R. Finger at jfinger@comcastsportsnet.com

Sixers to host 6 more prospects for pre-draft workouts Monday

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Sixers to host 6 more prospects for pre-draft workouts Monday

After attending private, agency-run pre-draft workouts, the Sixers will host six players Monday at their practice facility for more workouts.

Joel Bolomboy, James Webb III, Tim Quarterman, Brannen Greene, Danuel House and Isaiah Taylor are all members of the third group of prospects to participate in team-run workouts in Philadelphia.

Bolomboy, a power forward, averaged 17.1 points, 12.6 rebounds and 1.2 blocks his senior season at Weber State.

Quarterman entered the draft following his junior year at LSU, where he played with Ben Simmons. The point guard averaged 11.2 points, 4.6 rebounds and 3.6 assists per game last year in Baton Rouge.

Webb, a forward, left Boise State following his sophomore year. He averaged 15.8 points, 9.1 rebounds and 1.4 steals last season.

Greene declared for the draft after his junior year at Kansas. The guard averaged 5.4 points and 2.1 rebounds while shooting 49.2 percent from three last season for the Jayhawks.

House, a guard, transferred from the University of Houston to play his junior and senior seasons at Texas A&M. He posted 15.6 points, 4.8 rebounds and 2.1 assists last season.

After three seasons at Texas, Taylor, a point guard, declared for the draft. He averaged 15.1 points, 2.8 rebounds and 5.0 assists this past season while helping the Longhorns reach the NCAA Tournament.

The Sixers hold the first, 24th and 26th picks in the draft, which takes place on June 23 at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

NBA draft profile: Providence PG Kris Dunn

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NBA draft profile: Providence PG Kris Dunn

Kris Dunn

Position: Point guard

Height: 6-4

Weight: 205

School: Providence

Point guards are coveted on NBA rosters, and a team could land a long-term solution with Dunn. Last season, he averaged 16.4 points, 5.3 rebounds, 6.2 assists and 2.5 steals in 33.0 minutes per game. The Sixers met with Dunn at the draft combine and plan to work him out as well. In order for the Sixers, who hold the first, 24th and 26th picks, to acquire Dunn, they would have to make a trade to move up in the selection order. 

Strengths
Dunn brings a physical presence to the one spot. At 6-foot-4, he has a 6-9 wingspan and can create size mismatches at the point guard position. Dunn is athletic with strong leaping abilities, which allows him to move well without the ball to the basket and attack the rim as well. While Dunn can score (16.4 points per game), he also averaged 2.5 steals per game this season.

Beyond the numbers, he has immeasurable mental strength and focus after overcoming obstacles to reach the highest level of basketball.

“You’re going to get someone who works hard every day,” Dunn said at the combine. “I like to say I’m a blue collar worker. Nothing was ever given to me and I go after it with everything I have.”

Weaknesses
As an NBA point guard, Dunn has to be disciplined running the floor. At times in college he went for the highlight play over fundamentals, resulting in turnovers (3.5 per game). He will have to improve shot selection in the pros. Dunn took 21 more field goal attempts from his junior to senior season but actually made one less year to year. He also shot 69.5 percent at the line. 

How he'd fit with the Sixers
The Sixers had a revolving door at the point guard position this season. They didn’t have a consistent starter until late December when they traded to re-acquire Ish Smith, who is a free agent this summer. Dunn could be their point guard for the future. 

NBA comparison
Dunn has been compared to Wizards All-Star point guard John Wall. At the combine, Dunn said he liked that comparison because of Wall’s defensive skillset.

Draft projection
Dunn is projected to be drafted as high as in the top five. He could be selected lower, though, given teams close to the top already have point guards.

Pelicans' Bryce Dejean-Jones killed after going to wrong apartment

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The Associated Press

Pelicans' Bryce Dejean-Jones killed after going to wrong apartment

DALLAS -- New Orleans Pelicans guard Bryce Dejean-Jones was fatally shot on his daughter's first birthday after he mistakenly went to the wrong apartment in Dallas, a death that rattled the NBA over Memorial Day weekend.

"We are devastated at the loss of this young man's life," the Pelicans said Saturday in a statement.

Dallas police said Sunday they would not have more information about the shooting until after the holiday and did not answer The Associated Press' question regarding whether the man who shot the 23-year-old Dejean-Jones would face charges. It is legal in Texas for someone to use deadly force to protect themselves from intruders.

Dejean-Jones was visiting his girlfriend for his daughter's first birthday and had gone for a walk early Saturday, according to his agent, Scott W. Nichols. His girlfriend lives on the fourth floor, and Dejean-Jones, who was visiting the complex for the first time, went to the third.

A man living at the apartment was sleeping when he heard his front door kicked open, police Senior Cpl. DeMarquis Black said Saturday in a statement. When Dejean-Jones began kicking at the bedroom door, the man retrieved a handgun and fired. Dejean-Jones collapsed in an outdoor passageway, and he died at a hospital.

Dejean-Jones's father told KCAL-TV that his son was "tenacious."

"He has had so many things that have happened to him along his path," K.C. Jones told the station. "He made up his mind that he wanted to do what he was doing -- play pro ball. And whatever it took, he was going to get there. He was going to do it."

In Dejean-Jones' only NBA season, which ended in February because of a broken right wrist, the 6-foot-6 guard started 11 of 14 games and averaged 5.6 points and 3.4 rebounds.

Nichols said Dejean-Jones had nearly completed his rehab and was set to begin shooting with his right hand again next week.

"It's shocking this happened," Nichols said. "Wrong place, wrong time, I think."

NBA Commissioner Adam Silver called it a "tragic loss" and said Dejean-Jones "had a bright future in our league."

Dejean-Jones was signed by the Pelicans last summer after not being selected in the 2015 draft.

"I just lost my best friend/cousin last night enjoy life because you never know if tomorrow is guaranteed," Shabazz Muhammad of the Minnesota Timberwolves wrote on Twitter.

Dejean-Jones was part of the 2014-15 Iowa State team that went 25-9, captured a Big 12 title and made a fourth consecutive trip to the NCAA Tournament. He also played at Southern California and UNLV; he was suspended late in the 2013-14 season from UNLV for conduct detrimental to the team, and announced that he was leaving USC midway through the 2010-11 season.

Former Cyclones coach Fred Hoiberg, now the coach of the NBA's Chicago Bulls, added in a statement that Dejean-Jones was a "passionate and talented player that lived out his dream of playing in the NBA through hard work and perseverance."

Julie Keel, a spokeswoman for Camden Property Trust, the real estate company that owns the apartment complex in Dallas, confirmed that the complex's apartment manager had sent out an email to residents saying that the person who had been shot had been trying to break into "the apartment of an estranged acquaintance" and that this person had "inadvertently" broken into the wrong apartment.

Black said he could not confirm that Dejean-Jones was trying to access an acquaintance's apartment.

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