Ben’s New Deal
The Sixers announced on Tuesday afternoon that they have officially signed Ben Simmons to a five-year extension:
PHILADELPHIA – JULY 16, 2019 – Philadelphia 76ers General Manager Elton Brand announced today that the team and Ben Simmons have agreed to a contract extension. The new contract extends Simmons through the 2024-25 campaign.
“Ben Simmons is an important piece of our core and he is one of the NBA’s most dynamic and talented young players,” Brand said. “It was a priority for our organization that we finalize a contract extension with Ben this summer. He was Rookie of the Year in his first season, an All-Star in his second and we expect him to continue grow and succeed for seasons to come. Ben positively impacts the game in so many ways and we look forward to continuing our championship pursuits with him as one of our leaders.”
Shortly after the Sixers issued their press release, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported on some of the details of the deal:
Details on Ben Simmons’ five-year, $170M contract with the Sixers: No option in final year and a 15 percent trade kicker, league sources tell ESPN. — @wojespn
Simmons also has Designated Rookie Extension language in his contract that would elevate his compensation if he earns a spot on one of the All-NBA teams in 2019-20, per source. — @wojespn
Whether Simmons and the Sixers would work an option into the final year of the deal was one of the more interesting questions about the extension. Now that question has been answered and the Sixers have full contractual control of Ben Simmons through the 2024-25 campaign (Simmons’ age-27 season).
The 15 percent trade kicker is less than optimal for the Sixers, but by nature is really only something to worry about in the event that the Sixers look to move Simmons. (It’s also pretty standard that a player gets a trade kicker on these kinds of max extensions.)
Sixers’ favorites to win title?
Ok, not exactly. But FiveThirtyEight has released their 2019-20 NBA predictions and their model is very, very friendly to the Sixers, projecting Philly as having the highest chance of winning the NBA Finals at 27% and giving them far and away the highest likelihood of making the Finals at 55% (Houston is next, down at 36%). The model unsurprisingly projects the Sixers as a virtual lock to make the playoffs at >99% and has them finishing the regular season at 59-23 with an average point differential of +7.0 per game.
You can check out their full projections here.
Obviously this model shouldn’t be taken as gospel. And player health, continuity, fit — these areas can all be reasons a team comes in well short of their projections. So I wouldn’t be motivated to take a chunk of savings and drop it on the Sixers at +800 to win the Finals. However, it is interesting to see what an objective projection system thinks of the Sixers’ collection of talent. FiveThirtyEight added a new defensive metric to their CARMELO model (I should add that DRAYMOND has been widely criticized as being incomplete); given the Sixers makeup as a strong defensive unit, I wonder how much the projections would change if the model was to remove DRAYMOND from the algorithm.
Horford starting Jr. NBA camp in the Dominican
According to an NBA press release, Al Horford will launch a Jr. NBA camp in his native Dominican Republic:
NEW YORK, AND SANTO DOMINGO, July 17, 2019 – The National Basketball Association (NBA) and five-time NBA All-Star Al Horford of the Philadelphia 76ers, announced today the launch of the first Jr. NBA camp in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic. The three-day camp will host 108 local boys and girls (ages 14-16) from under-served communities across the Dominican Republic selected by Horford’s non-profit organization, La Tribu de Quisqueya.
The Jr. NBA camp will be held at the Carol Morgan School (CMS) – an international school which empowers students to become leaders of a multicultural, global society and will be supported by NBA partners, Altice, Banco Popular, Gatorade and Spalding.
The camp format, led by the NBA and Horford, will feature on-court drills, competitions and scrimmages, along with life skills sessions run by NBA coaches, trainers and staff to instill core values consistent with Jr. NBA principles. Joining Horford at the camp will be 76ers player development coach Drew Jones, who joined the organization from the Oklahoma City Thunder this summer. He played collegiately at Penn State University and then professionally overseas in Ukraine, Greece and Slovakia.
“It is a great honor for me to be able to team up with the Jr. NBA to help continue develop basketball talent in my native Dominican Republic,” said Horford. “I look forward to providing a fun, competitive and engaging three days for these youngsters.”
A noble effort from Horford here to provide for under-served communities, and for Sixers fans, well it’s always just that much better to be able to root for the good guys. Two thumbs up, Al.
Could the Sixers be closing in on Kyle Korver?
Elton Brand hopped on 97.5 The Fanatic on Tuesday morning to do an interview with Marc Farzetta and Tre Thomas. During the segment, Farzetta asked Brand if he was looking to add a shooter with the final one or two roster spots, to which Brand responded with the following:
We’d love to have that. Spacing is key. We’re going to hang our hats on defense, but when it’s crunch time you’re going to need spacing to operate. So we are looking for players that can space the court. We are in talks with a few of them, so we’ll see how that goes. Hopefully the city will have someone that they know and can receive them well.
For the majority of that quote, there’s not much reading between the lines to do. Of course the Sixers are looking for players that can space the court. Of course the Sixers are in talks with what few shooters are left on the market.
But if we want to put on our tin foil hats, the juicy part of that quote is when Brand says, “Hopefully the city will have someone that they know and can receive them well.” Now, Brand could very literally mean that he hopes the Sixers will be able to sign a player that the majority of Philadelphia basketball fans have heard of and that the fans will be excited about such a signing. OR, he could be hinting that the Sixers are very close to reaching an agreement with a player fans widely covet in Kyle Korver, who started his NBA career in Philadelphia.
Want to join me further down the rabbit hole? An anonymous Twitter user going by the handle @SourcesPlug and claiming to be a former NBA agent has “reported” multiple times that the Sixers and Korver have already reached an agreement and that Woj or Shams will be reporting as much any day now. You can scroll through his timeline and check his receipts for yourself. Hey, I’m just sayin’.