The Philadelphia 76ers decided to waive big-man Daniel Orton prior to Tuesday night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.
The team released the reserve center on Tuesday, less than three months after signing him to a multiyear, non-guaranteed contract. The move came less than an hour before the contract-guarantee deadline. NBA teams had until 5 p.m. to make decisions regarding the contracts of players in non-guaranteed deals.
The decision to waive Orton is a surprising one. Although Orton is averaging just 3.0 points and 2.8 rebounds per game, he is one of the few big men the Sixers have that can protect the rim. After being here for a few months, however, Sixers coaches must have felt they didn’t see enough during his four starts in 22 games for the Sixers this season.
Orton flew to Cleveland with the Sixers for Tuesday’s game against the Cavaliers at Quicken Loans Arena. He attended Tuesday’s team meeting.
“The program is at a stage to where we are trying to identify people to move forward with,” coach Brett Brown said. “We felt like we had a fair enough time to make a judgment on Daniel in relation to: Is he going to fit in for the long term? He’s a really good player.”
Brown noted that reserve power forward/center Arnett Moultrie will return from an ankle injury in a few games. He also pointed out that the Sixers have an up-tempo style of play. The 6-foot-10, 275-pound Orton is better-suited in a half-court set.
The former University of Kentucky big man scored a season-high 10 points in 36 minutes during a loss to the Pacers on Nov. 23. He was suspended for one game in December for an altercation with Trail Blazers center Meyers Leonard.
Brown said part of the move stemmed from the impending return of forward Arnett Moultrie, who’s been out all season after undergoing surgery on his left ankle in September.
If the meeting goes well, he could be viewed as a possible replacement for Orton.
Hollis Thompson, Brandon Davies, Lorenzo Brown, and Elliot Williams survived the deadline and had their deals guaranteed through the rest of the season.
With Orton’s departure, the Sixers’ roster stands at 14 players, one below the limit.
The spot will likely get filled with a player signed to a 10-day contract. Devin Ebanks reportedly met with the Sixers during the D-League Showcase, and reports stated another player or two were possibilities.
Ebanks is an intriguing talent. The 6-foot-9, 215-pounder averages 24.5 points and 9.7 rebounds for the Dallas Mavericks’ D-League affiliate.
He spent three seasons with the Los Angeles Lakers before signing with the Mavericks in the offseason. Ebanks played in college at West Virginia.
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