Tagged in: philadelphia

Ben Simmons reports to Philadelphia 76ers

After staying away for the first two weeks of the preseason, 76ers All-Star guard Ben Simmons reported to the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Monday night, sources told ESPN.

As the Sixers played the Brooklyn Nets, Simmons took a COVID-19 test in the arena, sources said. The initial test starts several days of testing required by the NBA to clear him for a return to the team.

Simmons’ arrival settled several weeks of discussions between the organization and Simmons’ representative, Klutch Sports CEO Rich Paul, to get Simmons back into the marketplace, sources said.

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Simmons had held out in hopes of accelerating a trade. However, under the terms of the NBA’s collective bargaining agreement, for each preseason game he missed, he lost roughly $360,000 for failing to show up — totaling more than $1 million for the three games that he missed.

In addition, the 76ers could fine Simmons for missed practices: $2,500 for the first, $5,000 for the second, $7,500 for the third and for every practice after that it being left to the discretion of the team, with the ability to go up to $50,000.

Simmons, 25, has four years and $147 million left on his contract.

Simmons hadn’t spoken directly to team officials since a late August meeting in Los Angeles in which he reiterated his desire for a trade, sources said.

He had recently become more open-minded about the possibility of ending his time away from the team and reporting to Philadelphia, but the next step will be him committing to not just a return to the city — but returning the team on the court.

The Sixers have canvassed the league throughout the offseason for trades but have been unable to find a deal that would bring them a comparable star they’d want to continue to build a championship contender around All-NBA center Joel Embiid, sources said.

Those trade talks would likely continue with a Simmons return, but president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and coach Doc Rivers are hopeful to keep working to convince Simmons on remaining long-term with the franchise, sources said.

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Clint Capela signs contract extension with Hawks reportedly worth $46 million over two years

Atlanta Hawks center Clint Capela has agreed to a two-year, $46 million contract extension, tying him to the franchise through the 2024-25 season, sources told ESPN on Wednesday.

Capela had two years left on his existing contract, and he now is set to make $82 million over the next four seasons with the Hawks.

His representatives at Wasserman completed the new deal with Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk ahead of an Oct. 18 deadline for the extension.

Capela, 27, played an immense role in the Hawks’ run to the Eastern Conference finals last season. He averaged 15.2 points and a league-leading 14.3 rebounds in the regular season and played well in postseason series triumphs over New York and Philadelphia.

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He played an immense role in improving the Hawks’ defense, finishing with a 4.98 defensive real plus-minus, according to ESPN’s Stats & Info. He trailed only Utah’s Rudy Gobert, the league’s defensive player of the year, in that category.

The Hawks signed Capela in a 2020 trade with Houston, where he had played his first six NBA seasons.

Capela is the third Atlanta starter to sign a contract extension this summer, joining All-Star guard Trae Young and forward John Collins. With Capela, Young and Collins all signed to new deals this summer, Atlanta has now locked in its core group of players until at least 2025, when Bogdan Bogdanovic is set to become an unrestricted free agent.

The next deals that will have to be worked out are Kevin Huerter, who will be a restricted free agent next summer, and De’Andre Hunter and Cam Reddish, who still have two more years of team control before they hit restricted free agency in 2024.

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Philadelphia Eagles name Jalen Hurts starter

Eagles coach Nick Sirianni named Jalen Hurts the starting quarterback Tuesday after weeks of declining to do so, citing the importance of creating competition at every position.

“Jalen’s our starter. He’s done a great job,” Sirianni stated shortly after the roster was trimmed to 53 players.

“We wanted him to … take the reins and take advantage of the opportunity that he got, and we feel like the preseason he had, he did that. I consistently saw a player that got better every single day. I consistently saw a player getting better with his reads and his accuracy and his ability to run, and when not to run. He did exactly what we wanted him to do.”

This was the expected outcome, as Hurts took all of the first-team reps during training camp.

But multiple reports of the Eagles’ interest in Houston Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson and the recent purchase of Gardner Minshew helped fuel the idea that the organization isn’t sold on the 23-year-old Hurts.

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Addressing the Minshew trade, general manager Howie Roseman stressed the team’s history of prioritizing the quarterback position, noting that depth is especially important amid a pandemic and heading into a 17-game regular season.

Roseman stated he spoke with both Hurts and Joe Flacco about acquiring Minshew, telling them “we thought it was an opportunity to get a good player and a good person at an important position.”

“[Hurts] was great,” Roseman said. “Jalen is all about the team and he’s very confident in his ability and very secure in where he stands with all of us.”

Minshew will start off as the third-string quarterback behind Hurts and Flacco, according to Sirianni.

As for his level of interest in Watson, Roseman said: “I think we’re very confident and comfortable with the quarterbacks we have on our roster. Any player that is on another team is property of that team, and we’re going forward with who we’ve got here.

“We’ll see what happens over the next 24 hours with the rest of our roster, but when we talk about that quarterback room, we think we’ve got a good blend of youth, of experience, of talented guys, and we’re excited to start this season and to see the players we have on this football team.”

Hurts, the team’s second-round pick in 2020, started four matches as a rookie in place of Carson Wentz. He completed 52% of his throws for 1,061 yards with six touchdowns and four interceptions while rushing for 354 yards and three scores.

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Diamondbacks a perfect 4-0 against Phillies after 8-7 win

Carson Kelly hit a two run-homer and drove in three runs, Nick Ahmed added a two-run blast and Zac Gallen pitched five strong innings in his first start in his hometown, leading the Arizona Diamondbacks to an 8-7 victory over the slumping Philadelphia Phillies on Thursday night.

Asdrubal Cabrera, Josh Rojas and Drew Ellis had RBI singles as the Diamondbacks pounded Phillies pitching for 15 hits.

Gallen (2-7), who grew up in nearby Pennsauken, New Jersey, needed 103 pitches to get through five innings. He permitted just three hits and no earned runs while striking out six.

It’s been a long year for Arizona (44-85), but the Diamondbacks have been perfect versus the Phillies this season, winning all four contests, so far. Since 2017, Arizona is 18-5 against Philadelphia, the best record against the Phillies of any team in baseball in that span.

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Jean Segura hit a two-run home run to supply the brunt of offense for the Phillies (62-63), who have lost seven of nine to fall 5½ games behind the idle Atlanta Braves in the NL East.

Philadelphia is 4-11 since winning eight in a row and moving into first place earlier this month.

The Phillies tried to mount a comeback by taking advantage of two Arizona errors in the ninth inning. They added unearned runs on a fielder’s choice by Freddy Galvis, two-run double by Bryce Harper, and a two-run single by Didi Gregorius. But Philadelphia couldn’t finish it off as Noe Ramirez struck out Brad Miller with the tying run on base to earn his first save since 2018 when he was with the Los Angeles Angels.

The Diamondbacks jumped all over Phillies starter Matt Moore (2-4), tagging him for four runs and seven hits in just four innings.

Moore was pressed into emergency starting duty after scheduled starter Zach Eflin was scratched just a couple hours before the match with inflammation in his left knee.

Ahmed’s homer was a big blow in the fourth inning, as he crushed a 1-2 fastball from Moore to the deepest part of the ballpark in left centerfield for his fourth homer of the season to make it 4-0.

Kelly’s homer, his 10th of the season, seemed to put the game out of reach in the eighth inning, but turned out to be the game-winning RBI. Kelly also had an RBI single in the sixth inning to restore Arizona’s four-run lead after Segura’s homer an inning earlier.

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Joel Embiid, Philadelphia 76ers sign 4-year, $196 million supermax extension through 2026-27

Philadelphia 76ers star center Joel Embiid has signed a four-year, $196 million supermax contract extension, sources told ESPN.

The Sixers revealed Tuesday morning the 7-footer has signed a multiyear deal with the team, but did not disclose aspects of the contract.

The extension keeps Embiid under contract with the Sixers through the 2026-27 season for a total of $261 million. The four-time All-Star already was set to make $65 million over the final two years of his current deal.

Embiid, who represented himself in the negotiations, became eligible for a supermax extension this summer after concluding second in MVP voting and making the All-NBA second team with averages of 28.5 points and 10.6 rebounds in 51 regular-season games in 2020-21.

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This contract is fully guaranteed and includes a player option for the final year, sources said, but does not include the same provisions protecting the Sixers in case of catastrophic injury to Embiid’s lower back or feet, like the five-year, $147.7 million deal he signed in 2017.

Since the 2017-18 season, Embiid has avoided the kind of injuries that stalled the beginning of his career.

The longest stretch of games that Embiid missed in one season was the 11 games he missed this past spring with a bone bruise in his left knee.

He suffered a tear in his right meniscus during this season’s playoffs but missed just one game and did not need surgery after the season, according to sources.

Embiid’s extension will begin in 2023-24 and is based off a projected $124.95 million salary cap for that season.

Embiid, 27, has spent his entire career with the Sixers since being drafted No. 3 overall in 2014, posting career averages of 24.8 points and 11.3 rebounds while leading Philadelphia to the playoffs in each of the past four seasons.

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Phillies extend winning streak to 4 with 9-5 win over Nats

Rhys Hoskins homered and drove in three runs, Didi Gregorius hit a two-run homer and the Philadelphia Phillies extended their winning streak to four matches with a 9-5 triumph over the Washington Nationals on Wednesday night.

Philadelphia is 55-53 and two games over .500 for the first time since July 18, when it was 47-45. The Phillies started the day 1½ games behind the NL East-leading New York Mets.

The Phillies erased an early 3-0 deficit and set up a chance for a four-game sweep on Thursday afternoon. Nationals reliever Jefry Rodriguez hit Hoskins with an up-and-in pitch in the top of the seventh. Hoskins motioned to the Phillies’ dugout, then looked at Rodriguez before going to first base.

Gregorius hit a 412-foot home run on the next pitch. Hoskins started yelling at Rodriguez before the ball cleared the fence, prompting Rodriguez to yell back.

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Philadelphia used four doubles to build a four-run fourth inning and take a 4-3 lead. 

Andrew Knapp, Travis Jankowski, Jean Segura, and Hoskins all doubled in the inning. Bryce Harper drove in a run with a single.

Hoskins hit a two-run homer in the fifth inning, his 24th of the season.

Luis García and Carter Kieboom hit back-to-back homers against Philadelphia starter Chase Anderson in the second, giving Washington an early three-run lead.

Victor Robles’ first career leadoff homer came on Anderson’s first pitch Wednesday night. The homer was just the second of the season for Robles, a one-time top prospect who struggled in 2020 and is doing so again this season.

The Nationals are using the rest of the season to assess prospects, and also giving the 24-year-old Robles an opportunity to bat leadoff after mostly hitting ninth in his short career.

Anderson pitched three innings, permitted three earned runs on three hits (all homers), walked one, and struck out one.

García also homered in the seventh for his first career multi-homer game.

Matt Moore (1-3) picked up the win in relief. Washington starter Paolo Espino (3-3) allowed six earned in his five innings.

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Miller hits 3 HRs, Phillies rout reeling Cubs 8-0

Brad Miller hit three home runs in a match for the first time in his career, and the Philadelphia Phillies routed the sinking Chicago Cubs 8-0 on Thursday night.

Miller hit a solo drive in the third inning and added two-run homers in the fifth and seventh innings.

With a chance at joining the other 18 players who have hit a record four home runs in a game, Miller popped up in the ninth. He grounded out in his first at-bat.

Manager Joe Girardi wanted to get the left-handed batting Miller, a utility man and pinch-hitting specialist, in the lineup versus Cubs right-handed starter Adbert Alzolay. Miller started at first base while Rhys Hoskins got the night off.

“We just liked the matchup and he came up really big for us,” Girardi said. Miller hadn’t homered since June 6 and began the day with six home runs this season. The 31-year-old infielder broke out with his 14th career multi-homer game and his parents in the stands at Wrigley Field — he now has 104 homers in nine big league seasons.

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“It was really special,” Miller said. “I felt like I was dreaming.”

Miller has been working with the Phillies hitting coaches after a tough June when he had just two hits and walked nine times in 43 plate appearances over 20 games.

“To turn the page and being able to contribute was really nice,” Miller said. “I need to take that mindset in there to do damage and drive the ball.”

And drive the ball Miller did.

“None were cheap shots,” Phillies starter Zach Eflin said. “He crushed all of them.”

Eflin (4-6) settled into pitch six solid innings as the Phillies took three of four games at Wrigley. Didi Gregorius added a two-run shot and All-Star catcher J.T. Realmuto scored on a double steal.

The Cubs lost for the 12th time in 13 and dropped to 43-45 as they struggled at the plate without injured stars Kris Bryant and Javier Báez.

It was 24th time a Phillies batter hit three homers in a contest and the first since Jayson Werth tagged Toronto for three in May 2008.

Miller homered early to left-center off Alzolay (4-9), who lost his fifth consecutive start.

Cubs manager David Ross said Alzolay’s lack of execution, not lack of stuff did in the righty — especially against Miller.

“A little bit of command issues, especially fastball command from my view,” Ross said.

Miller turned on Alzolay’s 0-2 pitch the next time up for a drive deep down right field line that made it 4-0. Miller launched the first pitch he saw from reliever Cory Abbott in the seventh off Wrigley’s right-field message board.

Eflin scattered five hits while striking out five and walking one.

Chicago couldn’t muster much against Eflin after ending an 11-game losing streak, its longest since 2012, on Wednesday with an 8-3 win. The Cubs were in a first-place tie in the NL Central on June 24 when starter Zach Davies front-ended a combined no-hitter over the Dodgers.

The Phillies took a 1-0 lead in the second when Realmuto plowed home on a double steal.

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Without Embiid, 76ers roll past Wizards and into 2nd round

Ben Simmons challenged Seth Curry during an afternoon “Call of Duty” session to score 30 points and send the 76ers into the next round of the playoffs. With Joel Embiid hurt, Simmons told Curry he would do his part and get a triple-double.

Maybe there’s something to this pregame gaming hobby.

“Clearly Seth listens to Ben so we’re going to use Ben as a translator for Seth from this point forward,” Sixers coach Doc Rivers stated.

Fire up the console for another round.

Curry scored a playoff career-high 30 points and Philadelphia defeated Washington 129-112 on Wednesday night to end the Easter Conference series in five games, overcoming Embiid’s absence because of a knee injury.

Atlanta awaits after beating New York in Game 5 later Wednesday. Game 1 is Sunday in Philadelphia.

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Sixers fans couldn’t wait, chanting “We want Brooklyn!” as the seconds ticked off in Game 5.

Embiid gets a few extra days of rest.

With an NBA title still in sight, the 76ers will need their injured franchise center — healthy and ready to roll — in the second round versus Atlanta.

“Jo’s been huge for us all year. It’s only right we give him as much time as he needs to get right and come back and help us win it all,” Curry said.

Tobias Harris added 28 points and teamed with Curry and Simmons to carry the offensive load with Embiid out. Simmons had 19 points, 11 assists and 10 rebounds to keep the top-seeded 76ers in the hunt for their first championship since 1983.

Embiid is day to day with a small lateral meniscus tear in his right knee and he was reduced to Philadelphia’s biggest cheerleader as the Sixers put the misery of last season’s first-round sweep behind them.

Embiid gave a sneak peek that the injury suffered in a Game 4 loss might not keep him out very long.

The NBA MVP candidate had the crowd going wild when he hit the court for pregame warmups. He shot jumpers around the perimeter, fadeaways, even some free throws — all without any sort of noticeable knee brace under his white leggings —- and put on a show that proved his absence might not last beyond Game 5.

Rivers, in his first campaign, said he expected Embiid to return in the postseason.

“I don’t know when or how early,” he said. “I’m hopeful. I think that’s a better way of putting it.” Sixers fans broke out “Trust the Process!” chants over the final minutes and the laborious rebuilding plan that brought the franchise Embiid and Simmons will surely need both of them to finish the job.

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Eagles claim former Lions second-round running back Kerryon Johnson off waivers

The Philadelphia Eagles have taken a flyer on Kerryon Johnson, claiming the former second-round pick off waivers from the Detroit Lions.

Philadelphia adds Johnson to a crowded backfield as the Eagles will pick up the remaining salary on his rookie deal, a cap number of $2,069,359 for 2021 (the final year of his rookie contract). 

Johnson electrified the NFL as a rookie in 2018, rushing for 641 yards and three touchdowns in 10 matches. He became just the 10th rookie since the AFL-NFL merger to average 5.4 yards per carry in his rookie campaign (minimum 100 carries).

Johnson had a chance to become the featured back in 2019, but averaged just 3.6 yards per carry while rushing for 403 yards and three touchdowns in eight games. 

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A meniscus tear in his right knee altered his season in 2019, one year after a knee strain caused him to miss the final six games in his rookie season.

Relegated to third on the Lions’ depth chart, Johnson had 52 carries for 181 yards and two touchdowns in 2020 (averaging 3.5 yards per carry). He has 1,225 rushing yards and and 527 receiving yards in three seasons (4.3 yards per carry). 

Where Johnson fits in the Eagles’ plan at running back will be determined.

Philadelphia has Miles Sanders as the No. 1 running back, but there are spots on the depth chart open for competition. 

Boston Scott and 2021 fifth-round pick Kenneth Gainwell will compete for playing time on the depth chart, but the Eagles also signed Jordan Howard this offseason on a non-guaranteed deal. The Eagles also have Jason Huntley, Adrian Killins Jr., and Elijah Holyfield on the 90-man roster. 

Johnson should find a way to make the roster and receive snaps if he’s healthy. How Eagles head coach Nick Sirianni will use him in the rotation will be one of the intriguing storylines of offseason minicamp. 

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Carson Wentz not interested in backup role, will want to leave Philadelphia Eagles if Jalen Hurts remains starting QB

Carson Wentz is not interested in being a backup quarterback and would want to move on from the Eagles if the current situation — with Jalen Hurts starting under center — continues in Philadelphia, sources connected to the team told ESPN.

Although the Eagles’ quarterback situation stays fluid with three games left this season, Wentz is not pleased with the way events have unfolded in the organization, according to sources.

Eagles coach Doug Pederson has not said whether the quarterback switch is permanent — only going so far as to announce Hurts as the starter for Sunday — but player and team sources told ESPN’s Chris Mortensen last weekend that Hurts will remain the starter this season.

Philadelphia’s decision to bench Wentz for Hurts has garnered the attention of other teams around the NFL, with some expected to inquire about Wentz’s availability in a trade, according to sources.

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The Eagles (4-8-1), a long shot to win the NFC East but still in contention, started their final three-game stretch versus the Arizona Cardinals on Sunday, when Hurts  made his second straight start in place of Wentz. The rookie led Philadelphia to an upset victory last Sunday over the New Orleans Saints and could make Philadelphia’s franchise quarterback decision even more difficult if he continues to play well.

The Eagles selected Hurts with their second-round pick in this year’s draft and gradually worked him into their offense, initially using him under center in limited special packages before eventually giving him the full-time job — and benching Wentz — in Week 13 against the Green Bay Packers.

Hurts played well in Green Bay but was even better last week versus New Orleans, passing for 167 yards and a touchdown while running 18 times for 106 yards. He took no sacks and turned the ball over once while becoming the fifth Eagles quarterback to rush for 100 yards in a game in the Super Bowl era.

After initially saying he was unsure who would start Sunday, Pederson announced Monday that Hurts would remain the starter versus Arizona.

Team sources told ESPN earlier this month that the Eagles intend to keep Wentz despite his season-long struggles and want him be a major part of their team going forward.

But if the Eagles ultimately decide to move on from Wentz, they must make that decision by the second day of the 2021 league year — sometime in mid-March — because on the third day of the league year, his $22 million base salary for 2022 becomes fully guaranteed and his 2021 roster bonus of $10 million is paid out.

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