76ers Cut Five, Set Opening Day Roster
With the NBA set to begin its regular season Tuesday night, the 76ers had to set their opening day roster by 5 pm tonight.
That required the Sixers to trim their 20-man offseason roster down to 15, the maximum* allowed during the regular season.
To get down to 15 players the Sixers announced that they waived point guards Pierre Jackson and Scottie Wilbekin, shooting guard Jordan McRae, small forward J.P. Tokoto, and big man Furkan Aldemir.
Jackson was drafted by the 76ers 42nd overall in 2013, but traded on draft night to the New Orleans Pelicans. The 76ers re-acquired his rights last summer, but Jackson ruptured his Achilles during the summer league and missed the entire season. The Sixers signed Jackson once again during this past offseason, but Jackson was slowed down by a nagging groin injury.
“He was 70% of Pierre [Jackson],” Brown said after the Sixers concluded practice today before the deadline. “We are injured, and that factors in to a lot of these decisions.
“I think there’s a lot of things that are NBA about him,” Brown continued when asked about Jackson. “He combines that scoring ability, and he actually sees the floor [well]. He’s one of our best passers out of a pick and roll. It’s just he was 70% [healthy].”
Wilbekin started for most of his final two seasons at Florida, averaging 13.1 points, 3.6 assists, and 1.6 steals per game during his senior season, where he shot 39% from three point range. After going undrafted in 2014 Wilbekin played overseas this past season, appearing in 9 games for AEK Athens and 32 games for Cairns in Australia.
McRae averaged 18.7 points per game for Tennessee during his senior season and was drafted 58th overall by the 76ers. He split time last season with Melbourne United in Ausralia, where he averaged 19.9 points per game, and with the Delaware 87ers, the 76ers D-League affiliate.
Tokoto was an early entry candidate in the 2015 draft who left UNC after averaging 8.3 points, 5.6 rebounds, and 4.3 assists per game as a junior. Known as a strong defender and a good athlete, the 76ers selected Tokoto with the 58th pick in the 2015 draft with the hopes that they could build up his jump shot. Tokoto made just 21 three pointers during his three year college career.
Aldemir, known for his rebounding, was acquired by the 76ers in July 2013 in a trade that brought in Royce White from Houston. Aldemir played part of the 2014-15 season with his Turkish club, Galatasaray, where he averaged 7.1 points and 11.1 rebounds per game in Turkish League play before being released from his contract. He then joined the 76ers, where he averaged 2.3 points and 4.3 rebounds per game.
The roster cuts mean that T.J. McConnell, a point guard out of Arizona, and Christian Wood, a big man out of UNLV, will make the team. McConnell, a pass-first point guard, is a strong defender who played well in the preseason. Wood is an incredibly talented big man who was once projected to be a first round pick in June’s draft, but went undrafted after teams were scared off because of concerns about his maturity.
* the Sixers can apply for a hardship exception to temporarily expand their roster to 16, but they will need for four players to miss at least three games before they can apply for the exception.
76ers Don’t Claim Ish Smith Off Waivers
It was reported yesterday that the 76ers were considering putting in a waiver claim on point guard Ish Smith, who was waived by the Washington Wizards on Saturday.
Smith played 25 games for the Sixers last season, starting 14 of them. He averaged 12 points and 6.1 assists in just over 27 minutes per game with the team.
It was reported today that New Orleans claimed Smith’s one year non-guaranteed deal off of waivers. Because the 76ers had a higher waiver priority than New Orleans, this means that the 76ers elected not to claim Smith off of waivers.
If multiple teams submit a waiver claim in the same player, the team with the worst record is awarded the player.
The moves leaves the 76ers with the following player:
Big men Nerlens Noel, Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor, Christian Wood, Carl Landry, and Richaun Holmes, wings Nik Stauskas, Hollis Thompson, JaKarr Sampson, Robert Covington, and Jerami Grant, and point guards Tony Wroten, Kendall Marshall, Isaiah Canaan, and T.J. McConnell.
76ers sign/waive/designate Jordan Railey
Earlier today the Sixers also signed Jordan Railey, a 7 foot center from Washington State.
The 76ers immediately waived Railey and designated him as an affiliate player, which means they will retain his D-League rights if he signs with the D-League. Such a contract would be with the D-Leauge, however, and any team could sign him to an NBA contract.
Railey averaged 6.6 points, 3.2 rebounds, and 1.0 blocks in 16 minutes per game for the Cougars. He shot just 42.8% from the free throw line during his four year college career.
D-League teams retain the rights to players who played for them within the last two seasons. Jackson played for the Idaho Stampede in 2013-14 and McRae played for the Delaware 87ers in 2014-15. As such, the Stampede and 87ers would hold the rights to Jackson and McRae, respectively, if either signed with the D-League.