76ers president Bryan Colangelo opened his posttrade-deadline news conference with devastating news for some.
He announced on Friday morning that Ben Simmons would be sidelined for the entire season.
Simmons, the first overall pick in last June's NBA draft, had a scan on his broken right foot a day earlier at the Hospital of Special Surgery in New York. The scan revealed that the foot was not fully healed. Given that the Sixers only have 25 games remaining, the Sixers felt it was best to keep the 6-foot-10 standout on the shelf.
"We want to make sure Ben Simmons only takes the court when he's fully healed," Colangelo said. "We're not going to put him in a position to risk a re-fracture."
Hours after Colangelo's announcement, the team welcomed two of its newest members – Justin Anderson and Tiago Splitter.
They acquired Splitter and a protected second-round pick from the Atlanta Hawks for Ersan Ilyasova on Wednesday. The Sixers also have the right to swap another second-rounder in June's draft.
Splitter has yet to play this season because of hip and calf injuries. His contract expires at the conclusion of this season. The Sixers' goal is to rehabilitate the post player so he can be in position to sign a free-agent deal with a team of his choice this summer. Sixers head coach Brett Brown and Splitter have a relationship from their days with the San Antonio Spurs. Splitter was a player, while Brown was an assistant coach.
Meanwhile, the Sixers acquired Anderson and Andrew Bogut and top-18-protected first-round pick in June's draft from the Dallas Mavericks for Nerlens Noel. If the pick lands inside of the first 18 slots, the Sixers will receive Dallas' second-round picks in the 2017 and 2020 drafts.
Anderson, a second-year forward, was active for Friday night's game against the Washington Wizards at the Wells Fargo Center.
The Sixers style "reminds me a lot of my college [Virginia] when I was play for coach [Tony] Bennett," Anderson said. "We played hard and we played for one another. From when I hear about the guys here, the chemistry is awesome. I'm going to blend right in like a chameleon."
Being a Sixers also enabled him to be closer to family members and friends. Anderson is a native of Montross, Va. He played high school basketball for powerhouse Montrose Christian School in Rockville, Md.
But Anderson had a tough time getting to Philadelphia on Friday. He arrived at the Dallas/Fort worth International Airport 45 minutes before his flight was to depart and was hold it was too late to check his luggage. So Anderson hopped on a later flight. He fell asleep after the plane took off, and woke up thinking he was in Philadelphia. However, the plane returned to Dallas due to mechanical problems. He didn't arrive in Philadelphia until around 4 p.m.
While he looks to play a key role with the Sixers, Splitter looks to help the young players.
"I see what I see and talk to the young guys and help them develop into great players," Splitter said. "There's a lot of great players here already. You guys see how this team in playing. Some nights, it's unbelievable. They just have to do that on a consistent basis."
They'll just have to do without Simmons.
He suffered a Jones fracture of the fifth metatarsal in his right foot on Sept. 30, the final day of training camp. The doctor's visit and subsequent scan on Jan. 23 revealed an inside portion of the bone wasn't fully mended together. That scan led the Sixers to having a second one on Thursday.
"Ben Simmons is heartbroken," Colangelo said.
Richaun Holmes has confidence that Simmons will come back and have a solid rookie year next season.
"Philadelphia is in for something next season. When he steps on the floor, it's definitely going to worth the wait."