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March 28, 2017

Breaking down how the latest NBA rumors affect the Sixers

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Back in the offseason, I described the Sixers’ signing of 30-year-old Spaniard Sergio Rodriguez as a “creative solution to their temporary point guard problem.” But after El Chacho’s one-year contract is up, will he be back next season?

Last weekend in Chicago, the Inquirer’s Keith Pompey caught up with Rodriguez, who said he would love to be back in Philly:

"I think playing with Ben would be great," said Rodriguez, who will become an unrestricted free agent in July. "The good thing is I could choose where to go and where to be. And, of course, I want to stay here and try to be better next year because I'm adjusting to a new situation."

Rodriguez has fit in well in the locker room and is fun to watch when he’s running the pick-and-roll, but he hasn’t played all that well on balance this season. My guess, with a point guard-heavy draft and T.J. McConnell making relative pennies for a few more years, is that he won’t be back with the Sixers next year.

One thing is for sure, though: From an organizational standpoint, it’s a good sign to hear that Rodriguez wants to stay with the Sixers.

Brooklyn max offer for KCP?

Detroit Pistons shooting guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope has been linked to the Sixers in free agency rumors, but it appears one team is really down with KCP (yeah, you know me). That would be the Brooklyn Nets, in the weird position of sitting on cap space but also having no incentive to tank. And thanks the logo aficionados at Nets Daily, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on a podcast that the Pistons are ready for the max offer sheet from Brooklyn this summer:

I was in Detroit two weeks ago. They're already joking how fast will the max offer sheet for K.C.P come from Brooklyn. Will it be one minute, five minutes after the allowed deadline for offer sheets?

The New York Post also reported that Caldwell-Pope will be a top target for Brooklyn. We’ll see how his free agency shakes out, but the Sixers are a more attractive situation than Brooklyn if the money ends up being equal. For his part, Stan Van Gundy seems to know how restricted free agency works. In fact, he said so in the most Notorious SVG way possible:

Blake leaving the Clippers?

The latest Doc-Rivers Orlando rumors just add fuel to the fire that the Clippers are a ticking time bomb if they can’t right the ship. And in his latest piece for Bleacher Report, Kevin Ding mentions a couple of potential alternate landing spots for Blake Griffin if the All-Star power forward does decide to leave the Clippers:

That Griffin would also stay and reap the biggest payday he can seems likely, too—in theory. But more and more people around the league believe he would be open to a fresh start—perhaps with the Lakers or the Boston Celtics, who have coveted Griffin for years and would offer a new chance to win. The most intriguing fit might be if he were to go home to Oklahoma to join Russell Westbrook and the Thunder, but his interests in the entertainment industry make staying in Los Angeles a priority.

From the outside, it feels like Griffin will re-sign with the Clippers, who are both in Los Angeles unlike the Celtics and still a somewhat competitive team unlike the Lakers. But as Sixers fans know, what Los Angeles (draft pick implications) and Boston (potential playoff series down the road) do could have an impact on Philadelphia. If the Clippers continue to falter down the stretch, the rumors could heat up.

Former Sixers

A few years ago, Sixers fans thought that this summer would be about deciding on Nerlens Noel and Michael Carter-Williams’ second contracts. Now with both of the OG Process draft picks out of town, they are in much different situations as restricted free agency looms.

Provided he can stay healthy for this last little portion of the season, Noel figures to cash in more than his former AAU and Sixers teammate. In a recent piece, Tim MacMahon brought up Bismack Biyombo’s four-year, $72 million contract as something that will be brought up in negotiations, adding the Mavs are “more than willing to pay the going price for a big man who fits well.”

For his part, Noel sounds like he feels comfortable in Dallas. Since being traded to the Mavs, he’s averaging 8.8 points, 7.6 rebounds, 1.3 blocks, and 0.7 steals in 23.6 minutes per game:

"I definitely feel like I'm in a position to be a long-term situation here," said Noel, who admits he was frustrated as part of The Process-created center logjam with the 76ers. "There are a lot of things that come into it, but I'm definitely comfortable in the system. I'm going to continue to grow as this season ends and continue to capitalize on my opportunities and maybe even get more opportunities."

After getting traded from Milwaukee, Carter-Williams finds himself in a weird spot with the Chicago Bulls. Battling injuries and also being taken out of the rotation at times, he’s averaging 7.4 points (on 39 percent shooting and 23 percent three-point shooting), 3.8 rebounds, and 2.5 assists in 20.1 minutes per game.

While Noel seems like a decent bet to stay in Dallas, MCW’s situation appears much more fluid. From the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson:

Traded twice in four seasons, Carter-Williams is looking forward to restricted free agency. He didn't rule out a return to the Bulls.

"This is the first time I have control," he said. "I want to feel that comfort where I can get better, and be in a good situation."

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann