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Jonah Bolden says he’s playing for Sixers this season

Jonah Bolden will wear jersey number 36. He was the 36th pick in the 2017 draft.

Jonah Bolden (43) shoots a free throw for UCLA during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Gonzaga, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Spokane, Wash.
Jonah Bolden (43) shoots a free throw for UCLA during the second half of an NCAA college basketball game against Gonzaga, Saturday, Dec. 12, 2015, in Spokane, Wash. Read moreYoung Kwa / AP

LAS VEGAS — Jonah Bolden expects to be on the 76ers roster this season. He made that clear Thursday night after practice with the Sixers' NBA Summer League squad.

"My plan is to come this year," said Bolden, a second-round pick in 2017 who played this past season for Maccabi Tel Aviv of the Israeli Premier League and the EuroLeague.

"That was the plan from Day 1 with [former Sixers general manager] Bryan [Colangelo]," he added. "That's still the plan now without Bryan. All respect to Bryan. I appreciated all he did for me.  …  But the plan is coming over this next season, 2018-19."

Colangelo resigned last month after being tied to damaging and anonymous Twitter accounts. In May, he said that  Bolden would likely play for the team in 2018-19.

Lack of a roster spot was the main reason the 6-foot-10 power forward didn't join the Sixers this past season after he was selected 36th overall in the draft. Perhaps as a reminder that 35 teams passed on him, Bolden will wear jersey number 36.

Bolden signed a three-year contract on July 21, 2017, with Maccabi. However, he said the plan was always for him to play there for just one season. The Australian has an NBA-out clause in his contract that will allow him to join the Sixers next season. He acknowledges there's a formal buyout, which is reportedly $400,000.

"That's between my agent, my team — the team I was on Maccabi — and the Sixers," Bolden said. "They have to figure that all out."

He averaged 6.9 points, 5.5 rebounds, 1.6 assists, 1.2 steals and 21.1 minutes in 29 EuroLeague games, with 28 starts. Bolden shot 31.9 percent on three-pointers.

Thursday marked his first practice with the summer-league team. Because he's still under contract with Maccabi, the Sixers, through the NBA, submitted a letter of clearance to FIBA to allow him to play.  Even though the 22-year-old learned Tuesday that he would be cleared, it did not become official until Thursday.

In a couple of months, he'll be living his dream.

"This is the league that everyone dreams about," Bolden said. "It's no different for me. I dreamed about being here, getting my name called [in the NBA draft], which happened.

"But also, I don't feel like I've fulfilled my dream until I've played in the league. Summer league is what it is, but it's not the league."

Sixers second-year swingman Furkan Kurkmaz joined the team Thursday after competing for his native Turkey in a World Cup qualifier. Zhaire Smith, Demetrius Jackson and Chris McCullough will join Kurkmaz and Bolden in the starting lineup this summer.

The Sixers also picked up guard Askia Booker. Like Bolden, he did not receive his FIBA clearance from CB Sevilla of the Liga ACB until Thursday.

The team waived Tra Holder, Aaron Epps, Phillip Carr, David Cohn and Haywood Highsmith.

The summer league starts Friday and runs until June 17 at UNLV. On Friday, the Sixers will face the Boston Celtics at 7:30 p.m. at the Thomas & Mack Center. They'll meet the Los Angeles Lakers at 11:30 p.m. Saturday and the Washington Wizards at 5:30 p.m. Monday.

The teams then will be seeded in the tournament, which starts Wednesday.