Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town: Sixers Host Wolves for Friday Nighter

Uh-Oh, Love Comes to Town: Sixers Host Wolves for Friday Nighter

Though it could hardly be classified as surprising, exactly, last Tuesday's loss at home to the Mavericks was still a tough pill to swallow. Yeah, the Mavs are probably a better team, but the Sixers were right there the whole game, and only came a few fourth-quarter jumpers away from pulling off a win that would have, as one of our commenters succinctly put it, put the league on notice. Now the Sixers have to be re-evaluated as a "Well they're good, but are they really all that good?" Which is fair, probably, but still disappointing.

At the very least, one thing you've got to give the Sixers--they've been beating the teams they should. The Sixers haven't lost to a team with a losing record since January, when the 22-24 Grizzlies beat them at the beginning of a hot streak that would eventually land them in the West playoff hunt. The Sixers hope to keep that streak alive as they host the Minnesota Timberwolves--a dangerous team, but one that a Really Good team should be able to handle fairly readily.

The Wolves currently sit at 15-47, good for last place in the West standings. They've been bad everywhere, but they've been particularly bad on the road, where they're an absolutely miserable 5-25. Despite yet another trip to the lottery, though, they've at least been home to one of the great breakout stories of the '10-'11 season: Power forward and rebounding machine Kevin Love, whose streak of 48 consecutive double-doubles is closing in on the 51-long stretch of Moses Malone in '78-'79. Coming off a 20-20 in a win at Detroit, Love shows no sign of slowing, and might be able to feast on the boards against the oft-undersized Sixers.

7:00 tip from the Wells Fargo Center. ""It's imperative to win those games at home," said Elton Brand in advance of tonight's game. "Coach said about a month ago, ‘We don't lose two home games in a row...It's a big deal for us [to win Friday]." Word. Let's do it.

Jahlil Okafor trade watch: Bulls reportedly unwilling to trade first-round pick

Jahlil Okafor trade watch: Bulls reportedly unwilling to trade first-round pick

With the NBA trade deadline nearly upon us — 3 p.m. Thursday — here is the latest on Jahlil Okafor. (We'll update this with news on Okafor throughout the afternoon.)

• The Bulls are still pushing to acquire Okafor, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of The Vertical.

Chicago has been one of the rumored destinations for weeks — in fact, the Bulls were reported as a suitor for Okafor before the Pelicans, Blazers and Pacers.

• What's the hold-up? According to K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune, the Bulls "have shown no inclination to this point of including" their first-round pick, along with a player, which is what the Sixers have been seeking for Okafor.

Johnson notes that forward Nikola Mirotic is available. Mirotic, 26, is a restricted free agent after the season. With Ersan Ilyasova traded to Atlanta Wednesday night, perhaps the Sixers could look at Mirotic as a backup four to Dario Saric. 

Mirotic's value is in his outside shooting — he's a 6-foot-10 forward who made 39 percent of his threes last season. But his numbers have dipped across the board this season and he's shooting just 38 percent from the field and 30 percent from three.

• According to ESPN's Marc Stein, Okafor's preferred landing spot is Chicago, his hometown.

• Obviously, it's not up to Jah — the Sixers will go with whichever offer is best.

Eagles wise to bring Jason Peters back, even with full salary

Eagles wise to bring Jason Peters back, even with full salary

This isn't a big surprise, but Jason Peters will be back with the Eagles — big salary and all — for the 2017 season.

While the Eagles approached the veteran left tackle about his contract in January, Peters has not restructured his deal, according to a league source. 

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport on Thursday morning reported that Peters will be back next season on his normal contract. 

Yes, Peters is expensive in 2017. His base salary after hitting another Pro Bowl escalator written into his contract is up to $10.45 million for next season (plus a $250K workout bonus), which comes with a big cap hit of $11.7 million. That cap hit is the highest on the team, but not outlandish for a high-caliber left tackle. 

The Eagles could have very well cut Peters and moved on. It would have saved them significant cap space to use elsewhere. They just wouldn't have found any player more valuable to pay with that money. 

Peters, 35, is still their best option to protect Carson Wentz's blind side. He made his ninth Pro Bowl in 2016 after playing all 16 games. The team hasn't been shy about wanting him back and Peters toward the end of the season said he wanted to return for another year. 

"We certainly want to have him back," Eagles vice president of football operations Howie Roseman said of Peters in early January.

“I love him. I want him on the team,” head coach Doug Pederson said with two games remaining this past season. “I don’t want him to go anywhere."

With Peters back, it means Lane Johnson's eventual trip to left tackle will be held off for another year. Eventually, he'll take over that spot … just not right now. 

During the season, Peters opened up about his future, saying he hopes Wentz can be the guy who finally gets him a Super Bowl ring (see story).