Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid are showing they each have the ability to be Defensive Player of the Year, according to Philadelphia 76ers team-mate Danny Green.

The Sixers were 127-112 winners against the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday, with Simmons' 29th career triple-double leading the way.

The 24-year-old, who made the All-Defensive First Team in 2020, also had had a block and a steal to go with his 15 points, 11 assists and 12 rebounds, of which 11 were on the defensive end.

Team-mate Embiid - twice selected to the All-Defensive Second Team - balanced his 19 points with 11 defensive rebounds, a steal and an assist, too.

Green said of the pair after Philly moved to 5-1 at the top of the East: "They can be monstrous for us defensively.

"I think they have the potential, both of them, to be Defensive Player of the Year with their size, ability, reflexes, their footwork."

Coach Doc Rivers was on the same page, too, adding: "Ben has been, in my opinion, as good as anyone in the league defensively.

"Then having Joel to back him up, that combination defensively allows you to do a lot of things that you probably wouldn't do when you have the size of those two guys."

But the Sixers' two star names were not the only players contributing on both ends of the floor against Charlotte.

Tobias Harris was particularly impressive in a dominant display that led his team in scoring with 24 points but also included nine rebounds, six assists, four steals and three blocks.

Six games into the season, Harris is averaging career highs in rebounds (8.5), assists (3.2, same as 2019-20), steals (1.5) and blocks (1.5), and Simmons has noted the improvement.

"On both sides of the ball, offensively and defensively, he's been amazing," he said. "He's been an amazing factor for our team and he's going to be if we want to win a championship."

Simmons added: "We've got a good group, the chemistry's good off the floor. It makes it even better when you're winning, playing the right way, sharing the ball.

"Guys aren't worried about who's scoring the ball, as long as we're scoring and winning games.

"That's what it's all about for us. Our goal is to win a championship, and to do that, we need everybody."

Daryl Morey is already making moves as Philadelphia 76ers president of basketball operations, parting with Al Horford and Josh Richardson in pursuit of NBA glory.

Horford and Richardson only joined the 76ers at the start of the 2019-20 season, but the pair are reportedly moving to the Oklahoma City Thunder and Dallas Mavericks respectively.

According to ESPN, the 76ers traded Horford, the 34th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, a protected 2025 first-round pick and the draft rights to Vasilije Micic in exchange for three-time champion Danny Green and Terrance Ferguson.

Horford signed a lucrative four-year, $109million contract with the 76ers as a free agent following his time as a Boston Celtic but the experiment involving the five-time All-Star proved to be an expensive mistake.

The 34-year-old big man failed to combine with Joel Embiid in Philadelphia, where he was eventually demoted from the starting five, having averaged 11.9 points, 6.8 rebounds and 4.0 assists per game, as the 76ers were swept in the first round of the playoffs.

Philadelphia receive Green following his championship-winning run with the Los Angeles Lakers, who traded the former Toronto Raptors star for Oklahoma City's Dennis Schroder, while Horford's departure creates cap space amid links with Houston Rockets superstar James Harden.

Green, who won back-to-back titles with the Raptors and Lakers, averaged 8.0 points, 3.3 rebounds and 1.3 assists per game in his sole season in Los Angeles.

It was Morey's first move since ending his 13-year tenure as Rockets general manager before joining head coach Doc Rivers – who replaced Brett Brown – in Philadelphia, where the 76ers remain committed to building around All-Star duo Embiid and Ben Simmons.

On the same day as the 2020 NBA Draft, which saw the 76ers select Tyrese Maxey with the 21st pick on Wednesday, Morey also reportedly dealt Richardson.

ESPN reports the 76ers acquired the Mavericks' Seth Curry for Richardson and pick 36.

Richardson swapped the Miami Heat for the 76ers following Jimmy Butler's sign-and-trade deal, though he only showed glimpses as Philadelphia struggled to gel throughout the season.

In 2019-20, Richardson averaged 13.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.9 assists per game, while Curry averaged 12.4 points, 2.3 rebounds and 1.9 assists for the Mavericks last season.

Danny Green expects superstar Los Angeles Lakers team-mate LeBron James to rest if the 2020-21 NBA season gets underway on December 22.

The NBA is reportedly planning for a 72-game regular-season schedule, which would begin prior to Christmas Day.

James, 35, helped the Lakers to their first championship in 10 years after topping the Miami Heat in the NBA Finals inside the Orlando bubble amid the coronavirus pandemic earlier this month.

Lakers guard Green, 33, commented on the league's plans for the upcoming campaign.

"If we start in December, I think most guys [are like], 'I'm not going to be there,'" Green told The Ringer NBA Show podcast. "If I had to guess, because we have a lot of vets [veterans] on our team, it's not like we have a lot of young guys or rookies ... to have that quick of a restart, I wouldn't expect to see [LeBron] there.

"I wouldn't expect to see him probably for the first month of the season. He'll probably be working out with us ... but I just don't expect guys to want to be there, or show up willingly.

"I think at this moment, and it might be different in two weeks when guys are like, 'All right, I'm gonna get back in the gym, start working out.'

"When we get back in the gym, it's not right to basketball. It's, 'All right, let me start getting into shape' -- lifting a little bit, start running around a little bit. Then I'll pick up a ball."

James celebrated a fourth league title after posting his 11th Finals triple-double of 28 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists against the Heat at Walt Disney World Resort, where the Lakers sealed a 4-2 series triumph.

It was his first championship with the Lakers, having struggled for form and fitness during his maiden season in Los Angeles in 2018-19.

James set the record for most postseason appearances with 260, while the veteran became the first player in NBA, MLB, NFL and NHL history to win the Finals MVP with three different teams, having also received the honour with the Cleveland Cavaliers and Miami Heat, per Stats Perform.

In his 17th season, James moved clear of Magic Johnson, Shaquille O'Neal and Tim Duncan with a fourth Finals MVP – now only trailing Michael Jordan (six).

James is the fourth player all-time to score 30,000-plus points and win four or more championships. Kareem Abdul-Jabbar tops the list with 38,387 points and six titles, ahead of Michael Jordan (32,292 points and six titles) and Kobe Bryant (33,643 points and five titles).

LeBron James said the Los Angeles Lakers must play better after failing to clinch the NBA Finals against the Miami Heat on Friday.

The Lakers stood on the cusp of their first championship since 2010 but went down to the Heat 111-108 in a wild Game 5 at Walt Disney World Resort.

James posted 40 points and 13 rebounds as the Lakers' series lead was cut to 3-2 after Jimmy Butler's triple-double fuelled the Heat in a thrilling showdown in Orlando, Florida.

Eyeing his fourth title, James became the first player to post 40-plus points in a loss with a chance to clinch in the NBA Finals since Michael Jordan in Game 5 in 1993, per Stats Perform.

The Lakers can still close out the Finals on Sunday, and James warned improvement is needed if the storied franchise are to end a 10-year wait for glory.

"Obviously it was back and forth, big play after big play," James told reporters following an entertaining finish, which saw seven lead changes in the final three minutes.

"A couple of questionable calls that swayed their way and put Jimmy to the free-throw line. Obviously, we can't do that. He's been damn near perfect at the free-throw line in the series.

"We just needed to get one stop. We felt like if we could get one stop, we could do something on the offensive end. But we got a hell of a look. We got a hell of a look to win the game, to win the series.

"Didn't go down. And then we got the offensive rebound, we turned the ball over. I thought we had a lot more time than I think we even thought after the offensive rebound, and a pass wasn't executed as we would like.

"But we've got to be better. We've just got to be better in Game 6 and close the series."

James added: "I've always stayed even keeled. You know, throughout the highs, throughout the lows, you stay even keeled and get better with the process. You stay in the moment, which I am, and understanding that we can be better.

"And how we make the adjustments and how we learn from tonight, tomorrow in our film session and when we get together and prepare ourselves for Sunday, will show the difference."

The Lakers had a chance to win the game at the death and clinch the title as James – surrounded by three defenders – found team-mate Danny Green alone at the top of the key.

However, Green's shot fell short as the Heat went on to close out the win with back-to-back free throws.

"I won't let a play here or a play there change my outlook on the game and how I play the game. I mean, if you just look at the play, I was able to draw two defenders below the free-throw line and find one of our shooters at the top of the key for a wide open three to win a championship," James said. "I trusted him, we trusted him, and it just didn't go. You live with that. You live with that.

"It's one of the best shots that we could have got, I feel, in that fourth quarter, especially down the stretch with two guys on me, Duncan Robinson and Jimmy, and Danny had a hell of a look. It just didn't go down. I know he wish he can have it again. I wish I could make a better pass. You know, but you just live with it."

Los Angeles Lakers star Anthony Davis will miss the showdown with Western Conference rivals the Oklahoma City Thunder, the NBA franchise announced.

Having already confirmed superstar LeBron James (illness) and Danny Green as absentees prior to tip-off against the Thunder on Saturday, the Lakers added Davis to the list.

Davis – initially listed as questionable for the clash – missed Friday's win over the Dallas Mavericks due to a gluteus maximus contusion suffered against the New York Knicks on Tuesday.

Flourishing since arriving from the New Orleans Pelicans in a blockbuster trade, Davis has been averaging 27.1 points, 9.4 rebounds and 3.2 assists per game for the Lakers.

The Lakers are riding a seven-game winning streak as they top the Western Conference with a 31-7 record.

Former NBA commissioner David Stern underwent emergency surgery after suffering a brain haemorrhage on Thursday.

According to reports, the 77-year-old was taken to hospital after collapsing at a New York restaurant.

An NBA statement read: "NBA Commissioner Emeritus David Stern suffered a sudden brain haemorrhage earlier today for which he underwent emergency surgery.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with David and his family."

Stern spent 30 years in charge of the league before relinquishing the commissioner role to Adam Silver in 2014.

NBA Hall of Famer and former Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Magic Johnson was among the well-wishers who shared messages of support on social media.

"Join Cookie and I in praying for my good friend who helped save my life, former NBA Commissioner David Stern," he wrote on Twitter.

"He suffered a brain haemorrhage and had to have emergency surgery."

Lakers shooting guard Danny Green posted: "Biggest prayers out to David Stern and the Stern Family....sad sad news, but we know he's a fighter and will make it through!"

Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James is excited for the team's NBA season-opener against the Los Angeles Clippers.

James and the Lakers will open their campaign against city rivals the Clippers – led by Kawhi Leonard – in Los Angeles on Tuesday.

Three-time NBA champion James is coming off a difficult first season in LA, where a groin injury restricted him to 55 games as the Lakers missed the playoffs for the sixth successive campaign.

James – who failed to appear in the postseason for the first time since 2004-05 – cannot wait to get started against the Clippers.

"Opening night is great. It's like the first day of school," James, who averaged 27.4 points, 8.5 rebounds and 8.3 assists for the Lakers after arriving from the Cleveland Cavaliers, told reporters on Sunday.

"Laying your clothes out the night before. Just that excitement of getting things back going.

"I love to play the game. I obviously had the longest lay-off of my career, so to be where I'm at physically and mentally, no matter who we opened up against. For everybody, Tuesday is a great day."

Danny Green is one of the new faces at the Lakers, whose offseason was headlined by the recruitment of All-Star Anthony Davis.

Green teamed up with Leonard last season to lead the Toronto Raptors to their maiden NBA championship before moving to the Lakers, while the latter joined the Clippers.

"Everybody's excited to get the season started, but we know we're nowhere near where we want to be at — most teams aren't," Green said. "So, even though it's regular season, these games are going to be very much like preseason games.

"We just try to get better and win as we're getting better and getting to learn each other — learn the systems, learn our identity and also how to play other teams and other team's identity.

"But we're excited from all angles: From the players, to the coaches, to staff to the fans and we're going to have some fun with it but we're not nowhere where we want to be."

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