PHILADELPHIA >> The redesign of the 76ers’ frontcourt rotation continued Wednesday with the expected signing of 6-10 Jonah Bolden.
A second-round Sixers draft selection in 2017, No. 36 overall, Bolden spent last season helping Maccabi Tel Aviv win the Israeli Basketball Super League title by averaging 7.6 points, 6.6 rebounds and 1.3 assists. Also, the Australia native played 29 games in the EuroLeague, where he was a finalist for the Rising Star Award after averaging 6.9 points and 5.5 rebounds.
More recently, Bolden played six games for the Sixers in the NBA’s Las Vegas summer league, averaging 6.5 points and 6.0 rebounds.
“We have been following Jonah Bolden for a while and are very excited to bring him into our program as a young, up-and-coming prospect,” said interim general manager Brett Brown in a statement. “He experienced positive growth and development last season at Maccabi Tel Aviv, a team led by Neven Spahija, who is a friend of our program and an excellent coach. Jonah’s style of play is that of a modern-day player and we’re thrilled to grow our team with him.”
Bolden averaged 4.6 points in 31 games in one redshirt-freshman season at UCLA. Afterward, he left to play professionally for a year in Serbia.
Able to play forward and center, and with the mobility Brown demands, Bolden effectively will assume the roster spot vacated when Richaun Holmes was traded to the Phoenix Suns for cash considerations. He will compete with re-signed free-agent Amir Johnson for center time behind Joel Embiid.
With Justin Anderson and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot traded in a complex deal that yielded Mike Muscala, and with Ersan Ilyasova signing as a free agent with the Milwaukee Bucks, the Sixers have rebuilt their front line. Free agent Wilson Chandler, Muscala and Bolden will back-up Embiid, Dario Saric and Robert Covington.
Reports persist, however, that Muscala will be flipped, along with Jerryd Bayless, in a trade for the Cavs’ Kyle Korver. Korver, a former Sixer, would fill the gap created when Marco Belinelli signed with San Antonio.
Bolden strengthens the Sixers’ Australian connection. His father, Bruce, played in the National Basketball League in Australia against Dave Simmons, the father of Ben Simmons. Brown once coached the Australian national team.
The Sixers did not disclose the terms of the deal.
The Sixers formally announced their deal for Muscala Wednesday. In the previously reported three-way trade, Luwawu-Cabarrot will go to Oklahoma City, Muscala will arrive from Atlanta, and Anderson and Carmelo Anthony will land in Atlanta. The Thunder will receive guard Dennis Schroder from Atlanta, which will gain a 2022 first-round pick from Oklahoma City.
Anthony is expected to be set free and sign with the Houston Rockets.
“Mike Muscala joins our program at a fantastic stage of his career. He has enjoyed some NBA success and his upside in the future is extremely bright,” Brown said in a statement. “We will use him both as a backup five and, at times, a power forward. His ability to shoot the ball and the energy with which he plays will help our basketball team.”
In 243 career games for the Hawks, the 6-11 Muscala, of Bucknell, has been a 37.8-percent three-point shooter. In 53 games last season, he averaged 7.6 points and 4.3 rebounds.
“We thank both Timmy Luwawu and Justin Anderson for their contributions in growing the 76ers strong culture,” Brown said. “They are fantastic people, extremely dedicated NBA players and will be missed. I believe their new situations will afford them the opportunity to find themselves and give them every chance to stay and grow in the NBA.”