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Catching Up With the Sixers

The Sixers, both young and old, are keeping themselves busy as the lockout grinds on. If/when the season starts, the work they're putting in now could pay dividends.

After a brief tease, the lockout again seems doomed to rob us of meaningful basketball for the foreseeable future. When the sides met earlier this week, the players had an ultimatum at the ready: the owners could have a larger split of revenues or a hard cap, but not both. Depending on who you ask, this is either a sign of movement, or a sign that not a whole lot has changed. Either way, the odds of the season starting on time are slim, at best. As the endless summer grinds on, let's take a quick look at how the Sixers' players are keeping themselves busy. 

Marreese Speights has been tearing up Impact Basketball's summer league in Vegas. Check out Liberty Ballers' firsthand report, complete with video of Speights dunking on JaVale McGee not once, but twice. Speights looks like he's slimmed down a bit, but I wouldn't put a ton of stock into his performance in Vegas. He's always been the type of player who thrives in games with zero structure. This league was made for him to hoist shots and play no defense. It's great to see him drop the extra pounds, if not more than a bit ironic that it took him until a contract year to show any motivation, and it's probably going to be all for naught as the lockout erases at least the early season.

Nikola Vucevic has been playing in EuroBasket for his homeland, Montenegro. He's put up pedestrian numbers in about 14 minutes per game. Vucevic will remain overseas until the lockout is resolved after signing a one-year contract to play in Montenegro.

Elton Brand has done his best to maintain the momentum built in the regular season and serve as a bit of a surrogate coach while the players are locked out. He organized a workout in LA which featured the key Sixers. Andre Iguodala even cancelled a trip to Paris to attend.

Evan Turner spent time with famous shooting coach Herb Magee earlier this summer, and presumably he's taking advantage of the extra alone time to reinforce the mechanics of his new shot now.

Craig Brackins signed a contract with Maccabi Ashdod, in Israel. His contract only runs through December and includes an out, so expect him back in Philly (or the D-League) if the lockout ends before then.

Thad Young has been working out, but his restricted free agent status is keeping him away from the various five-on-five games popping up on both coasts. He's receiving what is probably sound advice to do everything he can to avoid injury prior to his first legit payday.

Doug Collins has met with his assistants, and is currently looking for someone to replace Quinn Snyder who bolted for a similar job with the Lakers.

The sale to a group led by Josh Harris marches on toward approval (which could happen within a week or two). One of Harris' guys from the business world will be the CEO of the team when the sale is finalized. Adam Aron is a senior Apollo, the firm co-founded by Harris.

And finally, Lou Williams is going to take part in a game at the Palestra on September 25th. Unfortunately, it looks like Lou and "Team Philly" will probably play the role of the Washington Generals to "Team Melo's" Harlem Globetrotters. Melo's team also features both Kevin Durant and LeBron James. Tyreke Evans is the only NBA starter on team Philly which is made up of guys from the Philly area, plus Lou.

The Sixers are a young team, they seem to be keeping themselves busy, they probably won't experience much roster turnover when the lockout ends and they won't have to deal with a new coach and/or a new system. All of those factors could potentially give them a leg up when games are finally played. Any edge would be greatly appreciated by a team that has started 3-13, 5-18 and 13-20 over the past three seasons. Without their typically dreadful start, homecourt in the first round of the playoffs could be within reach, assuming the season starts at all.