It's weird to be so excited about basketball in July. Well, maybe weird for other fan bases.
The Sixers have had what seems like a long history of excitement about hoops in the mid-summer months, as the offseason has been the highlight of the year for fans of "The Process."
But as the tanking of the last four years seems to finally be dissapating, this could be the last time Sixers fans say the summer is better than the actual NBA season.
Ben Simmons, who missed all of 2016-17 after getting foot surgery, would typically be a prime candidate to play in the NBA's Summer League, which starts next week. But the Sixers are being cautious.
"We feel it's not prudent at this time," Sixers GM Bryan Colangelo said. "He's doing really well and everything's moving along. We just feel that at this stage, it's the right decision not to have him play."
Their other first-overall pick, Markelle Fultz, is still in contract negotiations but is expected to make his deal official sometime very soon, perhaps before the Summer League kicks off. If so, he will likely suit up and play.
"It's anticipated that Markelle will play," Colangelo said. "We are going to be in Utah and Las Vegas in the next month. There’s other things that need to be worked out first and foremost in terms of protecting Markelle contractually and otherwise. I think that's no different than Ben last year; we took care of our business first before he took the floor."
Other players expected to fight for roster spots, or for minutes, include Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, drafted last year, Aaron Harrison, Melo Tremble and Larry Drew II. As for the slew of internationals selected in the latter half of the 2017 NBA Draft, most if not all will remain overseas.
"The international players are subject to agreements with their clubs," Colangelo said. "That can be a little bit tricky with respect to getting authorization and permission to do so. We are going to have those conversations and negotiations."
Philly kicks off its Summer League slate on July 8 against the Warriors.