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June 06, 2017

How the latest NBA Draft and free agency news and rumors affect the Sixers

In Philadelphia, it’s officially draft season. The Phillies will kick things off a week from Monday with the No. 8 overall pick in the MLB Draft, followed by the Sixers at No. 3 in the NBA Draft on June 22 and the Flyers at No. 2 in the NHL Draft June 23.

For this post, though, let’s stick to basketball. Here is how latest NBA Draft and free agency news and rumors from the past few days could potentially affect the Sixers.

Kings things

Taking a look at Chad Ford’s latest mock draft, there is a rumor that the Viveks strongly covet Kentucky point guard De’Aaron Fox, who will also work out for the Sixers and Lakers next week:

The Kings also like Jackson, but he too looks like he'll be off the board before they draft. There's talk inside the organization about combining picks Nos. 5 and 10 to move up in the draft to secure Fox. If they found a taker, that would be a high price to pay to move up two to three spots.

How it affects the Sixers: There’s a lot unpack here. If Lonzo Ball goes No. 2 to the Lakers, Ford is making it sound like Sacramento would be willing to do our Sixers draft scenario from a few weeks ago: No. 3 (De’Aaron Fox) for Nos. 5 and 10. At the time, I expressed doubt that the Kings would be willing to overpay that much looking at the lottery landscape. If the Sixers coveted someone like Malik Monk, Dennis Smith, Jonathan Isaac, or Jayson Tatum, though, they could then possibly pair that player up with rangy French point guard Frank Ntilikina as a potential backcourt of the future.

Remember, Magic Johnson saw Fox smoke Lonzo Ball in the NCAA Tournament. There were also rumors over the weekend that the Lakers weren’t nearly as high on Ball as what had been previously reported. Maybe this would allow the Sixers to draft Lonzo at the third pick, which just so happened to be another one of our draft scenarios.

Coming to America

Let’s forget about potential Sixers draft picks and talk about the guy they actually took at No. 26 last season, draft-and-stash Turkish shooting guard Furkan Korkmaz. Korkmaz, still under contract in Turkey, is coming to Philadelphia to meet with the Sixers.

Bryan Colangelo described the situation to reporters after Monday’s draft workouts.

“There’s still talk and he’s got a desire to come over this year, but I think all of that is still subject to discussion, negotiation, whatever you want to call it,” Colangelo said. “There’s a buyout in his contract that will be somewhat restrictive with respect to him coming over given his draft slot and his slotted salary within the rookie scale. And I would say that this will be a great opportunity for him to just get to know us all a little bit better. And, again, we can get an assessment, our coaches can get an assessment of where he is.”

How it affects the Sixers: It sounds like there is a chance Korkmaz could also play in summer league, which would be a pretty cool thing. For the Sixers, he might be the victim of a numbers game in terms of coming over to the NBA next season. I currently see 12 players under contract with a reasonable chance of sticking around, one No. 3 overall pick, and a bunch of second-rounders.

Unless the Sixers completely punt on free agency, my guess is that they would rather see Korkmaz develop both his body and game in Europe for a year or two before coming over while they evaluate some other young wings. For now, though, it’s good to see the strength coaches and Brett Brown will get to meet with him for a few weeks.

Another shot

Jan Vesely was three years and out after being drafted by Washington with the sixth overall pick a few years ago, but according to Basketball Insiders, the Sixers are one of three NBA teams that have interest in bringing him back:

The Brooklyn Nets, Philadelphia 76ers, and Dallas Mavericks have expressed interest in bringing Jan Vesely back to the NBA, league sources told Basketball Insiders.

How it affects the Sixers: The Sixers seem pretty set at center, but I do believe that Bryan Colangelo watched Vesely play (and play well) pretty well against Dario Saric and Anadolu Efes in the Turkish playoffs at around this time last year. He was the definition of an NBA bust, but it seems like Vesely’s time in Europe has served him well. Colangelo hasn’t been afraid of signing players from overseas in the past, so this free agency rumor is fairly unsurprising.

Quick hits

•    Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid will unsurprisingly not be participating in summer league, but chin up, Sixers fans. This July is when the NBA starts fearing Guo Ailun:

•    Oh yeah, one more:

If none of those names show any interest, maybe Coach K is available.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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