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June 21, 2017

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

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As the kids are saying nowadays, the NBA offseason is already pretty lit. The Sixers have certainly been part of the nonstop action with the blockbuster trade at the top of the NBA Draft that will send Markelle Fultz to Philly Thursday night.

We already discussed the Lakers-Nets trade and how it directly affects the Sixers because of the trade with the Celtics and pick protections involved, but there are plenty of other important storylines around the league. Here are how some of the other recent draft and free agency news and rumors could affect your Philadelphia 76ers:

Paul George latest

We discussed the Lakers’ pursuit of Paul George and how the Sixers would prefer if Los Angeles landed PG-13 next offseason. But up until the draft, there will be plenty of trade rumors involving George. At the moment, there are conflicting reports out of Los Angeles and Indy:

An Indiana Pacers’ trade involving Paul George being completed before Thursday’s NBA draft doesn’t appear imminent. The Pacers, according to multiple league sources, are considering multiple trade offers for George, but the team doesn’t feel pressure to get a deal done by Thursday.

New team president Kevin Pritchard has engaged in trade talks with teams such as the Houston Rockets, the Cleveland Cavaliers and the Los Angeles Lakers.

How it affects the Sixers: Again, the Sixers don’t want George to relocate to Los Angeles until next offseason. The Wizards have also been linked to the Pacers swingman in trade rumors, and John Wall certainly sounds intrigued about the potential of playing with George in the nation’s capital.

The Rockets, who always seem to be major players in free agency, are also “aggressively trying to make trades” according to ESPN’s Marc Stein. One of the players they could potentially trade is point guard Patrick Beverley, who acknowledged the speculation:

Beverley, in response to the prospect that he might be dealt, told Houston's Fox 26 TV this week: "[There's] some speculation I might be going to another team. There are a lot of teams that want my talent. That's a special feeling."

Would the Sixers have some interest? Beverley is the perfect fit as an off-ball point guard next to Ben Simmons, but the addition of Fultz gives the Sixers much less of a need at that spot. Still, Beverley is an excellent veteran on a dirt-cheap contract. The same can also be said for this guy, who Sixers fans know quite well:

Dwight Howard trade

After the Russell trade, there was another Woj Bomb on Tuesday night that saw Dwight Howard on the move from Atlanta to Charlotte:

How it affects the Sixers: On paper, this looks like an easy and perhaps decisive win for Charlotte because they got a superior player, moved up ten spots in the second round, and also moved off a bad contract in Plumlee. The only rationale I potentially see here for Atlanta is that perhaps they’ll let Paul Millsap (who?) walk in free agency and join the same tanking ranks the Sixers hope to finally leave this season.

Celtics standing pat?

After the trade, it was clear that the Celtics front office wasn’t as enamored with Fultz as many others are. Danny Ainge said that he was confident Boston will get the same player at 3 that they would’ve drafted anyway at 1, and it appears like that will be Duke swingman Jayson Tatum:

Jimmy Butler is the other name in trade rumors connected to the Celtics, and K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune is reporting that he would prefer to stay in Chicago rather than move to Cleveland:

The Celtics remain the team with the most logical assets. But after serious talks between the franchises last June and more dialogue at the February trade deadline, the teams haven't engaged as much this week to this point. The Timberwolves, Suns and Nuggets are teams that also logically could make a play at Butler.

If the Bulls move into the top-five of this week's draft, De'Aaron Fox and Josh Jackson are two players on whom they have done plenty of pre-draft work.

How it affects the Sixers: The Celtics are always going to be in trade rumors with all of those assets, but it sounds like they’re going to keep this pick. That’s going to put a huge magnifying glass on Danny Ainge and his front office’s scouting chops. If the third pick turns out to be an all-star, they could look like geniuses. But if that player doesn’t pan out and Markelle Fultz is a star point guard, the Celtics are going to look pretty bad.

So yeah, talking about this trade over the next decade is going to be fun.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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