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June 01, 2017

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

With the NBA Draft now three weeks from today, the rumors have started to heat up as we all wait for the finals to begin at last. Here’s how some recent rumors from around the league would affect your Philadelphia 76ers:

Draft chatter

With Markelle Fultz already getting familiar with Danny Ainge and the Boston Celtics organization, it looks like there won’t be much drama with the top overall pick.

How about Lonzo Ball and the Lakers, though? Well, Lonzo’s workout with Los Angeles is scheduled for next Wednesday and that is the only workout he has agreed to. But according to Basketball Insiders’ Steve Kyler, there is a sense that Ball being drafted by the Lakers isn’t quite the slam dunk many originally thought it was:

With reports surfacing that the LA Lakers and former UCLA guard Lonzo Ball have finalized the details of a workout and face to face meeting in LA next week, there is a growing sense that unless Lonzo absolutely blows the doors off, he may not be the Lakers’ guy.

The Lakers are weeks away from needing to make their final decision, but there are many that believe the Lakers could go after both Kansas forward Josh Jackson and Kentucky guard De’Aaron Fox (who made my Mock at 2 this week) with the second overall pick. It’s become so real that Ball’s camp, which started the process saying he’d only meet with the Lakers, have expressed a willingness to meet with the Philadelphia 76ers and possibly the Sacramento Kings depending on how things go with the Lakers. Neither are expected to get a workout out of Ball, but both may get a chance for a face to face meeting.

How it affects the Sixers: It’s just one rumor but Lonzo Ball falling to No. 3 would allow the Sixers to draft a high-upside player who I believe meshes perfectly with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Just last week, I wrote that if the Lakers drafted Josh Jackson, “I’m running Adam Silver right back to the podium to announce the Sixers are taking Lonzo Ball third. Like, actually tossing the commish back on the stage.”

Again, this is just one of what will be many draft rumors. And even if I believe that the Lakers will eventually settle on Lonzo Ball with the second pick, they are certainly a wild-card now with Magic Johnson at the controls for his first draft.

Speaking of Lonzo, this was a good story in the Los Angeles Times about how LaVar Ball never interfered with the UCLA basketball program.

La La Land

ESPN reported that the Clippers, with the massive financial advantage, still see the San Antonio Spurs as a threat to sign Point God Chris Paul in free agency. But on CBS Radio, The Vertical’s Adrian Wojnarowski said that all signs still point to the Clippers:

"Listen, Chris Paul, financially, the difference with him staying in L.A. and to get paid, I'd have a hard time imaging him leaving there," continued Wojnarowski. "There's so much money for him to be made and at that Los Angeles market, just in terms of his marketing endorsements, I still think they're a pretty overwhelming favorite to re-sign him."

How it affects the Sixers: It means that if they want to sign J.J. Redick and his three-point shooting in free agency, they can make an offer. If the Clippers re-sign both Paul and Blake Griffin, Redick will be someone that the Clips can’t afford to keep unless Steve Ballmer wants to pay a massive luxury tax bill.

An old friend

The Sixers decided in February that they weren’t going to deal with Nerlens Noel’s restricted free agency, so they shipped him to Dallas at the NBA trade deadline.

According to Dallas Basketball’s Mike Fisher, Noel is going to cost the Mavericks a max salary of about $108 million over four years:

A source from another NBA team (not the Mavs) tells me that there will be "multiple'' clubs willing to pay Noel his max once he hits the restricted-free-agent market on July 1. And just so there is no confusion as to what that "max'' is: Assuming the cap at $101 million, as the NBA is expecting, Noel's contract can start at 25 percent of the cap with eight-percent annual raises. That equals $25.25 mil as his starting salary and about $146.45 million over five years.

Competing bidders can offer restricted free agent Noel a four-year max deal, also worth 25 percent of the cap and also starting at $25.25 mil, but with just five-percent annual raises, equaling about $108.575 million over four years. Dallas can match any offer and retain.

How it affects the Sixers: It doesn’t, not anymore. The Sixers clearly decided at some point that they weren’t comfortable paying Noel the max, but hey, I figured we would keep tabs on the original Process Sixer just as he’s about to get paid. Good for Nerlens.

Quick hits

•    We have written about Utah Jazz swingman Joe Ingles and his Australian connection with Brett Brown, but it does sound like Ingles’ major preference is to stay in Utah.

• And finally...   

You know, just so every single draft prospect in the lottery can be linked to the Sixers at No. 3 in some rumor or another.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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