Sixers on All-Star Break: Noel, Simmons to Miami, Stauskas on TV

Joel Embiid, Jahlil Okafor and Dario Saric are in New Orleans during All-Star weekend as members of the BBVA Rising Stars Challenge game. (Embiid also was selected to the Skills Challenge but is not participating in either event because of injury.) 

Where are the rest of the Sixers spending their time off? 

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They shared their plans before leaving for the break.

Nerlens Noel is taking his All-Star break to South Beach with teammate Ben Simmons, who posted this photo on Thursday. 

"Me and Ben are going on a trip," Noel said. "Ben's just a great kid. He's just real down-to-earth, outgoing kid that wants to work and be good. We're definitely going to do some work out there."

Basketball will be a focal point of Noel's time in Miami. He plans to be joined by Sixers assistant coach/head of strength and conditioning Todd Wright to stay game-ready.

"I think that'll be good, just to get in the gym," Noel said. "I'm going out there to hang out, enjoy the weather and keep up with some work, stay in shape."

Nik Stauskas is stepping in front of the camera again for All-Star coverage in his native Canada.

"I'm going to be working in New Orleans on TV for TSN," Stauskas said. "I'll be doing the rookie-sophomore game, the All-Star practices, the Saturday night activities and the All-Star Game Sunday."

Stauskas has done television work in the past and has picked up keys to a successful broadcast.

"Being natural, being yourself, preparing, making sure you know what you're going to say and not sounding stupid, having fun," he said. "I feel like I'm at my best when I'm just having fun and talking about the game."

T.J. McConnell is returning home to plan his upcoming September wedding with his fiancee Valerie.

"I'm going to the fine city of Pittsburgh," McConnell said. "I've got to do a lot of stuff for my wedding when I'm back home. We've got to meet with the priest and we're doing the taste testing. (I want) vanilla, I'm not a big cake guy."

McConnell is expecting 300 guests and still has a lot of details to iron out before he drives back to Philadelphia on Sunday.

"I'm looking forward to finalizing everything because it's coming up here pretty soon," he said.  

Chasson Randle is experiencing his first break in the NBA. He is attending NBPA meetings held in New Orleans, getting involved early on as a rookie.  

"I want to take in the whole experience," Randle said of All-Star Weekend. "I want to enjoy it and see what it's all about. It's a players' league and we have to have some type of say in what goes on in our careers. I just want to inform myself (at the meetings)."

After that Randle will travel to California, where he played four years at Stanford, to visit his girlfriend and friends.

"I like to relax," he said. "Half Moon Bay is my spot. It's on the water and there's a nice restaurant there I like to eat at."

Sergio Rodriguez is heading to the Bahamas to seek out some sun.

"I need to be in warm weather," he said.

The veteran point guard is striking a balance of unwinding and keeping up with basketball on the break.

"I'm looking forward to it," Rodriguez said. "Trying to disconnect a little bit from the season and at the same time keep working because it's not easy to take a few days off and then have a back-to-back right away. I will have to work out, keep in shape."

Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot is off to Disney World for two days and then coming back to Philadelphia to practice.

"I'm going to Orlando with my girlfriend because she loves Disney," he explained.

Luwawu-Cabarrot has been to Disneyland Paris while living in France. This will be his first trip to the theme park in the United States.

"I just want to have fun," he said. "I will probably go on roller coasters."

Richaun Holmes leaves the All-Star Weekend destination selection to his wife. They make it a family trip with their young son RJ.  

"Me, my wife and my son are going to Vegas," he said. "It's where she wanted to go, she gets to pick this vacation. We're going to shows, definitely the Michael Jackson one, Blue Man Group for sure, and chill by the pool."

Holmes will also train at the local Impact Basketball facility to stay in shape. Most importantly, he gets to spend time with his loved ones.

"I can't even describe it," he said of being with them. "It's going to be great."

Robert Covington is going back to his alma mater, Tennessee State, in Nashville.

"I've got a couple appearances down there and then my school plays two games," he said.

Covington appreciates the time he spent at the school and how those years helped shape him in an NBA player.

"It's always a good feeling considering how much love and support I have there," he said. "I always get shown the most respect when I go back. I always enjoy going back because that's part of my family and part of where I really found myself as a person."

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