Veteran wingman Marco Belinelli will reportedly sign with the Philadelphia 76ers after he clears waivers with his former club Atlanta Hawks. The Hawks released Belinelli last Friday, a day after the NBA trade deadline.
Belinelli, who turns 32 next month, has already played for seven teams in his so far 11-year career, namely the Golden State Warriors, Toronto Raptors, Chicago Bulls, San Antonio Spurs, Sacramento Kings, Charlotte Hornets, and most recently, the Hawks.
Belinelli averaged 11.4 points, 1.9 rebounds, and 2.0 assists in only 23.3 minutes per game for head coach Mike Budenholzer this season, his first and only in Atlanta. His numbers were near his career highs despite getting his lowest playing time in seven years.
The Hawks tried to trade Belinelli before last Thursday’s deadline, with speculations linking him to the Los Angeles Lakers, San Antonio Spurs, and Oklahoma City Thunder, but no deal had pushed through. ESPN mentioned that the Sixers were also “among teams believed to be interested in trading for him (Belinelli).”
However, with Belinelli now in the open market, the chances of the Sixers landing him has actually increased. A player must be waived by his mother team before March 1 so he can be allowed to play in the postseason. Belinelli was released much earlier than that.
Yahoo! Sports reporter Shams Charania tweeted that Belinelli intends to join the Sixers “once he clears waivers,” which means that the Italian international could be on head coach Brett Brown’s roster anytime this week.
Marco Belinelli plans to sign the Philadelphia 76ers once he clears waivers, league sources say.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) February 11, 2018
The Sixers are short on veteran players, with starting shooting guard J.J. Redick as the only one with an extensive playoffs experience. With Philly in the playoff picture, Belinelli’s presence would indeed help the young team be more competitive in the postseason should they successfully qualify.
Philadelphia is currently eighth in the East with a 28-25 record, only a half-game behind seventh-seed Miami Heat and two games in front of ninth-place Detroit Pistons.
Getting Belinelli would not only provide them with locker room leadership but can also add much-needed bench depth and outside shooting, two other things that the Sixers are said to be lacking at the moment.
Belinelli is a career 37.7 percent shooter from three-point range. This season, he has shot 37.2 percent in 52 games for the Hawks.