Sixers waive Brazdeikis, opening up a roster spot


Ignas Brazdeikis' stint with the Sixers did not last long.

The team on Thursday announced that it waived the small forward. The Athletic's Shams Charania first reported the news.

The Sixers acquired Brazdeikis in a three-team deal with the Knicks and Thunder hours before the trade deadline that was headlined by George Hill. There's no timetable yet for Hill's return from right thumb surgery in February. 

Brazdeikis, 22, started his NBA career in New York and was a productive player in the G League, averaging 20.9 points, 8.1 rebounds and 3.3 assists over two seasons.

He made his Sixers debut in their loss Sunday to the Grizzlies, playing eight scoreless fourth-quarter minutes, but it seemed highly unlikely he'd receive meaningful playing time anytime soon. The Michigan product had a $1.8 million club option for next season. 

Friday is this season's playoff-eligibility waiver deadline, meaning Brazdeikis could sign with another team at any stage during the rest of the regular season and be part of a playoff roster. 

For the Sixers, the move is significant in that it opens up a roster spot. The team was previously at the maximum of 15 active roster players and two two-way contracts after converting Paul Reed to a standard NBA deal and signing Mason Jones to a two-way. 

“We want to have that ability (to add a player). I’ve always wanted that," head coach Doc Rivers said Thursday. “With the Clippers, we always left one or two (spots) available ... I just think the flexibility is always good.”

The team's frontcourt depth took a hit in the Hill trade through the departure of Tony Bradley. President of basketball operations Daryl Morey isn't exclusively considering centers, though he acknowledged it's a position where the team might add.

“ … I think in the buyout market, it’s often a conversation about opportunity and role," he said hours after the deadline. We have probably more opportunity at that big spot, so I would expect a buyout would probably be more big — if we do any at all, it’d be more big. That said, we feel good. Joel and Dwight (Howard) can obviously play the five, more of a traditional five. As you mentioned, (head coach Doc Rivers) if he chooses can put unique lineups on the floor with Ben (Simmons) and Tobias (Harris) and Mike Scott (at center). We feel good about where we’re at but if a buyout comes along, more likely big than not.”

Several free-agent big men have signed elsewhere over the past couple of weeks, including LaMarcus Aldridge (Nets), Andre Drummond (Lakers) and Gorgui Dieng (Spurs). ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Thursday that Magic center Khem Birch is finalizing a buyout with Orlando and plans to sign with the Raptors. 

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