Seltzer's Notebook | Brown Sees Statement in Belinelli Signing

by Brian Seltzer Reporter

In the short term, Brett Brown expects Marco Belinelli, acquired by the 76ers Monday afternoon after formally clearing waivers, to help the team in a variety of ways, from floor-spacing, to giving the bench unit a helpful boost.

Stepping back, and assessing the transaction from a big picture perspective, the fifth-year head coach believes there’s a greater takeaway to be had.

To Brown, that a veteran of Belinelli’s experience and pedigree chose to sign with a promising, up-and-coming franchise like the Sixers, rather than another, more proven destination was telling. He viewed Belinelli’s decision as a sign of a landscape that’s gradually changing.

“When you start looking at the competition, we were aware of who else was chasing him, I’m proud for the program,” Brown said Monday. “That’s a statement for the program. He found attraction in our young program to come up here and join us. That’s a real statement to our young players.”

Brown said that he and the Sixers made an aggressive pitch to Belinelli, in the midst of his 11th season in the NBA. And while Belinelli had options - to the tune of more than half a dozen other suitors, he estimated - in the end, it sounded like he didn’t need to be sold on much.

The 31-year old had been loosely keeping tabs on the Sixers throughout the season, knew of Brown’s solid reputation, and felt that Philadelphia was the right spot for him.

“I’m really sure about Philly,” Belinelli said. “I think this is the right choice for me.”

In particular, the Italian shooting guard liked how the Sixers “play together” on offense and defense. He’s also bullish on what the club has been building.

“We are talking about two of like the best players in the league,” Belinelli said, referring to youthful standouts Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons. “Ben likes a lot to pass the ball. Joel is a great offensive guy, he can really do everything offensive. I never seen something like that in  my life. I think it will be really nice to play with this kind of guy.”

Teaming up with fellow seasoned sharpshooter JJ Redick, a past rival or sorts, was also appealing.

“We play against each other a lot of times,” said Belinelli. “Finally, we don’t need to guard each other, but we play on the same team, so that’s a good thing.”

Having spent the bulk of his time with the Sixers not only trying to develop talent, but doing his best to help bring in some from the outside the organization as well, Brown was pleased the front office found a mutually interested partner in Belinelli. He seemed to want to be a Sixer as much as the Sixers wanted him.

“He chose us,” Brown said. “That’s rare. That hasn’t been the path that we have been on. It’s a real statement to where we were, and where we are. I think to our young guys that people want to play with and recognize as talents like we do, it’s a star on the program’s forehead.”