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June 09, 2017

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

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We are now less than two weeks away from the 2017 NBA Draft, which means there are going to be more and more rumors leading up to June 22nd. Here’s how the latest batch could affect the Sixers.

Shopping second-rounders

The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey is reporting that the Sixers are trying to trade at least of their second-round picks in the 2017 NBA Draft:

"They're trying to sell one of the second-rounders," said an executive, who spoke on the condition of anonymity. Another said: "Their last two second-rounders are in play [for possible trades]. The word is out there."

How it affects the Sixers: This makes perfect sense when you look at the Sixers roster. There aren’t enough spots for four second-round picks, and it’s kind of hard to draft four Euro-stashes. If the Sixers keep all of their “legitimate NBA players,” that makes 13 spots already accounted for. Move it up to 14 for the No. 3 overall pick, which leaves one spot open before free agency and any of the second-round picks are drafted.

Basically, I wouldn’t be surprised if the Sixers traded two of their second-round picks on draft night.

Lakers talk

Let’s take a break from the Lonzo Ball rumors for a second and talk about the Lakers potentially landing Paul George in free agency next summer. Over at Bleacher Report, Kevin Ding is reporting Magic Johnson and the Lakers front office are tasked with finding another star to play next to George.

And yeah, I was kidding about Ball. No more rumors that the Lakers aren’t going to draft him, but he did work out in Los Angeles this week. When asked if he wants to play for the Lakers, he responded, “Of course. I want to stay home.”

Lonzo also said, “They have a lot of good players. I just think they need a leader, a point guard. I feel like I can bring that to the team.” Shots fired at D’Angelo Russell?

How it affects the Sixers: Lonzo Ball’s workout could have a major effect on the Sixers’ next decade, but we don’t actually know how it went or what the Lakers are thinking. As for George, I do wonder if the state of the Lakers roster means anything to him. Sure, you get to go home, but none of their young players have flashed anything close to star potential and there are two brutal contracts (Timofey Mozgov, Luol Deng) on the books for three more seasons.

King moving west?

Writing for The Ringer, Kevin O’Connor speculates about the possibility of LeBron James eventually taking his talents somewhere in the Western Conference in free agency. Specifically, the target destination is both Los Angeles franchises simply because James would want to live there. This could become a major storyline if Cleveland isn’t able to win a title and again is overmatched by Golden State next season:

Rumblings across the league suggest that LeBron will consider taking his talents out West… Multiple league sources I’ve spoken to think the Lakers or Clippers are viable destinations for King James. Jalen Rose said this week on First Take that he expects LeBron to make a move from Cleveland to California, where he already owns a house 30 minutes away from Staples Center.

How it affects the Sixers: LeBron to the Sixers! OK, not really. James has already delivered one title to Cleveland, and the Cavs unfortunately don’t have any way to get better outside of trading Kevin Love or Kyrie Irving (good luck). While this is just conjecture at this point, I predict that this rumor will become a storyline over the next 12 months. LeBron going to California will always be good news for the other Eastern Conference teams, like the Sixers.

That said, a team needs to prove to James that they can beat Golden State. The Lakers and Clippers aren’t even in the ballpark at the moment.

A possible suggestion for LeBron: Go play in San Antonio with Kawhi, Pop, and another star. There’s a much better chance that you can beat the Warriors with that team and infrastructure than with whatever the Lakers currently have.

Through the wringer

How it affects the Sixers: It doesn’t, not really anyway. This is the conditioning test that the Phoenix Suns put NBA Draft prospects through, seeing how many times a player can run up and down the floor in three minutes. The Suns run this drill every year, and after some Twitter sleuthing, I found out who holds the all-time record.

T.J. McConnell.

Quick hits  

Makes sense.

Doesn’t make sense.

With Boston and the Sixers competing in the Asset Wars, Hayward going to Miami wouldn’t be a bad thing for Philly.

The Knicks’ potential choice between Frank Ntilikina and Dennis Smith Jr., who didn’t work out in New York, could be a fascinating one.


Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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