Just two weeks after being acquired as a part of a three-team, seven-player blockbuster at the trade deadline, Ignas Brazdeikis has been waived by the Philadelphia 76ers.
We have waived Ignas Brazdeikis.
— Philadelphia 76ers (@sixers) April 8, 2021
The Lithuanian 22-year-old was shipped over from the New York Knicks alongside guard George Hill – who was moved to Philly from the Oklahoma City Thunder. “Iggy” went to prep school in Canada before playing one season of college basketball at the University of Michigan, a year that ended in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA Tournament.
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Brazdeikis was named Big Ten Freshman of the Year after averaging 14.8 points and 5.3 rebounds across his 37 starts with the Wolverines. The lefty was selected 47th overall by the Sacramento Kings in the 2019 NBA Draft, but was traded to the Knicks the following day.
After a big showing in the 2019 Summer League, averaging 18.0 points, 5.5 rebounds, and 2.5 assists, Brazdeikis appeared in nine regular season games with the Knicks that year. He spent much of the current season with the Knicks G-League affiliate, the Westchester Knicks, plus four contests with the big club.
Blessings!! Excited to get to work https://t.co/u05Rt7uWrg
— Ignas Brazdeikis (@_iggy_braz) March 26, 2021
Following the trade to the Sixers, Brazdeikis played in just one game – April 4 against the Memphis Grizzlies – going 0-for-3 from the field and grabbing two rebounds.
Sixers May Look at Buyout Options to Fill Roster Spot
It’s little coincidence that the Brazdeikis move comes only one day ahead of the NBA’s buyout deadline. With a roster spot now open, coach Doc Rivers and the organization has 24 hours to pick up a player for the 15th spot, in hopes of finding a cheap option that can fill a need.
Though it’s been discussed that this season’s crop isn’t as fruitful as some year’s past, there are some recognizable names who could fit in. Former University of North Carolina sharpshooter Justin Jackson was released by the Oklahoma City Thunder and is likely the most attractive option.
However, with Joel Embiid’s injury history and Dwight Howard’s knack for ejections, the Sixers are in most dire need of a center. Ideally, this third-string big man won’t be getting serious playing time in meaningful playoff games, but can fill in when Embiid and/or Howard get in foul trouble, need a breather, or just in case one of them goes down with an injury.
So if all else fails and Philadelphia isn’t able to strike an agreement with one of the more preferred pickups like Jackson, there is maybe one player available who could fit the bill and come at a very reasonable price.
‘Make’ Room for Another 7-Foot Center on the Roster?
Thon Maker hasn’t lived up to his selection as the 10th overall pick of the 2016 NBA Draft when he was taken by the Milwaukee Bucks. The only player chosen ahead of Maker who could be seen as more of a disappointment would be number four pick Dragan Bender.
Remarkably, Maker was just one selection ahead of All-Star forward Domantas Sabonis – though Sabonis was traded twice before finding his form with the Indiana Pacers. Other notable names passed up on draft day in favor of Maker include 20th overall pick Caris LeVert and 27th pick Pascal Siakam.
With all this being said, the Sixers might be wise to take a flyer on Maker, who is an even 7-feet tall and 221 pounds. Though he is lanky, the Sudan-born center has shot-blocking ability, averaging 0.8 blocks per game in 89 games over two seasons with the Detroit Pistons.
Maker also has playoff experience, having competed in 16 postseason games across his first three seasons with Milwaukee and Detroit. Maker most recently played for the Cleveland Cavaliers, getting into eight games at the start of this season before being waived on Jan. 14.
Additionally, although it’s been a couple of months since the 24-year-old played in an NBA game, it appears that the drive is still there.
Great to see @isaiahthomas back in the League, i love his competitive fire
I enjoyed playing against The Celtics most because of guys like him and @FCHWPO
Pelicans will need that 🔥 come playoffs/play-in.
— Thon Maker ™ (@ThonMaker14) April 7, 2021
With tenures already completed with the Bucks, Pistons, and Cavaliers, Maker has plenty of familiarity with the Eastern Conference, something that could come in handy later this spring, if the Sixers decide to pursue the big man.
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