June 22, 2016

Colangelo wants to trade back into Top 8, which puts the focus on Kris Dunn and Boston

Sixers NBA

If the top overall pick in Thursday’s NBA Draft now seems like a foregone conclusion, there is still the pesky matter of the Sixers’ frontcourt logjam. Are Bryan Colangelo and Brett Brown willing to go into the season with Joel Embiid, Nerlens Noel, and Jahlil Okafor all in the frontcourt?

According to ESPN’s Marc Stein, the Sixers are trying to solve that problem by unloading one of Okafor or Noel for the No. 3 overall pick. The Boston Celtics apparently aren’t interested, as they’re shooting higher. As Stein reports, though, Danny Ainge is having a difficult time finding a trade partner:

But sources told ESPN that the Celtics, to date, have been rebuffed in their efforts to assemble a sufficiently enticing deal to acquire any of these four prime targets: Chicago Bulls All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler, Utah Jazz guard Gordon Hayward and Milwaukee Bucks teammates Jabari Parker or Khris Middleton.

The Philadelphia 76ers, sources say, have been trying for some time to convince the Celtics to part with the No. 3 pick in a deal headlined by Sixers big man Jahlil Okafor or teammate Nerlens Noel, but Boston, to date, has resisted those pitches.‎

The name that you hear connected with the Sixers over and over again in reports and rumors is Providence point guard Kris Dunn. The Sixers have a need at the position, although you would have to imagine that Ben Simmons fills the role of primary playmaker in the long run. Dunn is a solid prospect with excellent defensive tools, but his fit with Simmons on the offensive end is questionable at best.

Colangelo was asked on Wednesday if he would be interested in moving back into the top-10. The Sixers president of basketball operations said that the front office has identified six to seven players at the top of the draft and that he would be interested in moving back into the top-10… but only for the right price.

“We would like to and I’ve been pretty consistent about that,” Colangelo said. “If it becomes available, we’ll certainly do that. I think there is a cut-off at which point it’s probably not productive for us to move. We’re not going to make a bad deal in terms of overpaying for something in that range. But I believe something in the Top-8 or so would be something that would work for us as an organization.”

That sounds great and all, but what exactly is that cut-off point? When it comes to the crowded frontcourt, there’s a real chance that draft night might represent the Sixers’ best opportunity to get value for Noel or Okafor.

“We’re still working on that every day, but like I said, we’re not going to make a bad deal,” Colangelo said. ”So we will do everything we can to make the right choice if we decide to ultimately move one [of the big guys].”

Colangelo mentioned that the Sixers were “one of a select group of teams” to receive medical information from a few top prospects, and you have to wonder if Dunn is one of those players. The 22-year-old point guard had a lot of trouble getting his right shoulder healthy at Providence, so his medical information might matter more than most potential draft picks. The Sixers, without a traditional starting point guard, might be more appealing to Dunn than the team with Isaiah Thomas, Avery Bradley, and Marcus Smart.

There are a lot of variables at play that span across multiple teams, but there at least seems to be potential for a “No. 3 for Sixers Big Guy” deal. Then again, if Colangelo is telling the truth about six or seven targets, maybe it’s not necessarily just Boston or bust.


Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann