Sixers Sign High-flying Center Norvel Pelle to Two-way Contract

Updated: 1:39 p.m. 

Size and defense have materialized as two prominent themes for the Sixers in the first two days of free agency.

The Sixers' latest two-way player, Norvel Pelle, brings both those qualities to the table. The 26-year-old Pelle, who played for the Delaware Blue Coats last season, is heading to the NBA, his agent, BJ Bass, announced Monday night.

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The team made it official on Tuesday. Bass told NBC Sports Philadelphia that it's a one-year contract.

As a two-way player, Pelle won't be able to spend more than 45 days with the Sixers and will not be eligible for the playoffs. That means he should still be a frequent attraction at 76ers Fieldhouse in Wilmington, Delaware.

Pelle is a sensational rim protector, a high-leaping, high-energy 6-foot-11 center who made the G League's All-Defensive Team in 2018-19. His offensive game is not expansive, with lobs a notable hallmark. He averaged 11.1 points, 8.6 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game last season.

He said Tuesday that the two-way deal is "exciting."

"It's another chapter," Pelle said. "Another way to start working toward my other goal," of making the active roster. 

A native of St. John's, Antigua and Barbuda, Pelle has had an unorthodox route to the NBA. His stops along the way included a stint with the Delaware 87ers in 2013-14 and professional experience in Taiwan and Italy.

Before that, Pelle's path was also uncommon as he never played college basketball because of eligibility issues. He has experience playing for the Lebanese national team. 

"It helped me because I didn't get a chance to go to college. … I went overseas. Being over there by myself, I had to mature quick," Pelle said. "That helped me to come over to the states. Whereas if I was to go to college, I'd still have that little baby inside of me. This has helped me to mature. You know certain things aren't going to go your way and you control what you can control." 

Shake Milton was the Sixers' other player under a two-way contract, but the team is signing him a four-year NBA deal, a team source told NBC Sports Philadelphia on Tuesday night (see story). That leaves the Sixers with one open two-way spot.

Both Milton and Pelle are participating in the Sixers' summer league minicamp, which runs through Wednesday. The team's first game of summer league is Friday in Las Vegas at 3:30 p.m. against the Bucks. 

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