Sixers' Brown says Moultrie sent to D-League to get in shape

YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Lavoy Allen goes after the ball against theCeltics' Avery Bradley in the third quarter.
YONG KIM / STAFF PHOTOGRAPHER Lavoy Allen goes after the ball against theCeltics' Avery Bradley in the third quarter.
Posted: February 07, 2014

BEFORE THE 76ers took the floor against the Brooklyn Nets on Monday, forward Arnett Moultrie sat slumped in front of his locker, looking very much like a teenager who had just had his cell phone taken away. When prodded, Moultrie proclaimed his disappointment at not being in uniform yet this season, despite the fact that he has been practicing with the team for a couple of weeks as he tries to return from preseason ankle surgery.

He said conditioning was not a factor, but added that he didn't want to talk about it.

Read into it what you will, but Moultrie was playing the next night - for the Delaware 87ers, the Sixers affiliate in the NBA Development League. While it could have been a direct result of his words on Monday, coach Brett Brown attempted to downplay that before last night's 114-108 loss to the visiting Boston Celtics.

"It was actually planned long before his comments," said Brown, almost convincingly. "You see a young player that competitively wants to get out on the court. In a twisted way you applaud that. The bottom line for us is we've asked our players to get in career-best fitness and that is one of those not-negotiables. We want him to play well when, ultimately, he gets on an NBA court. For him to not play for the duration that he has, and then just throw him out when it's not the career-best fitness that we demand from our program, then we're not going to do it, it's really that simple."

It's probably a little more complicated than that, but Brown chose to downplay the move.

"I don't want to make this bigger than it is," Brown said. "It's just a 23-year-old who wants to play and we want to get him in shape where he can deliver at a good rate and life moves on. He went down there with a professional attitude. He didn't treat it like he was going to detention. Life moves on."

In his first game for Delaware, Moultrie came off the bench and had 17 points and three rebounds in 21 minutes.

He has been the forgotten player this season, and understandably so. Veteran shooting guard Jason Richardson hasn't been around the team all that much as he recuperates from major surgery on his left knee last February. But last night, before the 76ers-Celtics game, Richardson was on the court lofting jumpers and partially showing the form that made him one of the most feared three-point shooters in the game.

"If I'm healthy, the end of March," said Richardson, 33, of a possible return. "I definitely don't want to say a guaranteed date because you have to see how the knee responds. It's going to be 100 percent. It's all about activating the muscles again."

Brought in here a year ago to be the sniper the team so desperately needed, Richardson missed the final 42 games of the season due to the injury. He knows if he comes back it will be a vastly different situation with this rebuilding organization.

"Player-coach," he laughed when asked what role he may have. "I'm the old guy on the team. I've been through everything and had a long career. Scoring doesn't matter to me. It's about winning."

But that obviously is something that's not going to happen any time soon, and Richardson has a $6.6 million player-option for next season.

"That's definitely one thing that I always wanted to do, win a championship," he said. "But I won't chase a championship. To me, even though you want one, I would never hop teams just to chase one."

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