LAFAYETTE — It came a day later than he might’ve been hoping for, but Shawn Long has found a home.
The former Louisiana-Lafayette big man agreed to a two-year partially guaranteed contract with the Philadelphia 76ers Friday. Long was not selected in Thursday’s NBA draft.
Long did not immediately respond to a request for comment, but took to Twitter on Friday afternoon to confirm the news.
“Thank you @Sixers for the opportunity. I am very excited to get to work and make the absolute best of this,” Long tweeted from his account, @shawnlong21.
Cajuns coach Bob Marlin said Long was prepared to go undrafted Thursday, and was in good spirits Friday despite not being drafted.
There was a thought that Long might find a home with the Sacramento Kings, who held the draft’s penultimate pick, but those plans changed when the Kings unexpectedly found themselves able to take on Kentucky forward Skal Labissiere at the end of the first round.
The 76ers were one of “about four teams” that had reached out to Long before the draft about signing a free agent deal.
“He’s excited about it,” Marlin said. “He was real good this morning. A lot of people were concerned that he wasn’t drafted, fans and people, but he was not. He knows what’s in front of him, and he’ll make the most of this opportunity.
“I told him this afternoon, ‘The interviews are over, it’s time to get to work.’ ”
The 6-foot-11 Long will join a talented group of young big men in Philadelpia, most notably the No. 1 pick from Thursday’s draft, Ben Simmons.
“He’ll be there with the Louisiana Player of the Year, Ben Simmons,” said Marlin about Simmons, who played his college ball at LSU.
Beyond Simmons, who is expected to fill a role as a ball-handler as a professional, the 76ers currently have three post players on their roster who were top-six NBA draft picks the past three seasons in Nerlens Noel (2013, No. 6), Joel Embiid (2014, No. 3) and Jahlil Okafor (2015, No 3).
Those three might not all be there by the time Long dons a Sixers uniform for the first time, however.
Multiple reports have indicated Philadelphia is actively seeking to unload Okafor, whose conduct off the court diminished an otherwise solid rookie season when he averaged 17.5 points and 7.0 rebounds per game.
The Sixers were also reported to be in discussion with the Boston Celtics about a trade package including Noel, though the trade was not completed.
Embiid is about to embark on his rookie season, as he has missed each of the last two seasons with injuries.
“This is a great opportunity for Shawn,” Marlin said. “Philly was the first team he worked out for, we knew they liked him.”
Marlin said Long will work out for about a week in New Orleans before making trips to Utah and Las Vegas for the summer league.