TORONTO — Norvel Pelle’s two-way contract with the 76ers has expired.
The Sixers decided to activate the reserve center for Wednesday night’s 107-95 loss to the Toronto Raptors. It was the 45th and final day the team was allowed to have him on its roster because of his two-day deal.
So what’s the next step for the reserve center? The initial plan was to sign Pelle to the 15-man roster or release him after his 45 days.
“I don’t know,” he said. “It’s between my agent and the Sixers front office.”
The Sixers had been stretching out his days by recalling him only on game days when needed. He sat out Monday’s 117-111 road victory over Brooklyn. Pelle also missed Friday’s 100-89 home win against Chicago.
“You go back and look at the importance of the game,” coach Brett Brown said of activating Pelle for Wednesday. "You start, like, weighing the games. As an organization, you judge a Toronto game would be more important than a Lakers game for the obvious [Eastern Conference] standing reasons. I think that had something to do with it.”
The Sixers (29-17) dropped one spot to sixth place in the East, two games behind the third-place Raptors (30-14). On Saturday, the Sixers will host the Lakers, whose 35-9 record tops the Western Conference.
The Sixers would have to release a player from the 15-man roster to make room for Pelle. However, it’s no secret that they’re trying to make upgrades to the roster before the Feb. 6 trade deadline.
So instead of just waiving a player, the Sixers would like to first see what they can get for that person via a trade. As a result, that would require Pelle and his agent, Tod Seidel, in the Sixers organization that something will eventually work out. If not, they could try to opt out of his two-way deal since there was an agreement in place.
Several NBA teams are interested in signing the rim protector.
But in addition to signing or waiving him, the Sixers could also try keep him on the Delaware Blue Coats until the end of the G League season. At that point, in late March, he could play with the Sixers until the end of the regular season. However, as a two-way player, he would not be eligible for the playoffs.
Pelle went into the Toronto game averaging 2.6 points, 3.6 rebounds, 1.5 blocks and 11.1 minutes in 13 appearances this season with the Sixers. He had four blocks against the New York Knicks in his debut Nov. 29. The 26-year-old also has recorded three blocks in a game twice. He had 1 point, 4 rebounds, and 2 blocks in 12 minutes Wednesday.
Asked if he felt sad that his tenure with the Sixers might be over, Pelle said: “There is no feeling. I came and did what I had to do. So my stamp is proven to show what I can do and that I can help the team. Everything is going to be up to my agent and the front office.”
In addition to being the team’s best rim protector, Pelle excelled at rolling to the basket in pick-and-rolls. And despite being slender, the 6-foot-10, 235-pounder has held his own in the paint.
“I think there’s been a physicality that has impressed me,” Brown said.
Sending him to the G League or releasing him would leave the Sixers at a huge disadvantage, considering he has moved ahead of Kyle O’Quinn on the depth chart while starting center Joel Embiid remains sidelined with a finger injury.