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May 23, 2017

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

Last week, we looked at how some of the NBA rumors (J.J. Redick, Boston and Los Angeles trading for a star, etc.) could possibly affect the Sixers. Well, today we’re going to do the same:

Sixers Workouts

According to Adam Zagoria and Jonathan Wasserman, the Sixers have been keeping tabs on a couple of draft prospects who aren’t Josh Jackson, Lonzo Ball, or Jayson Tatum:

The Knicks and 76ers are among the teams who’ve reached out to N.C. State point guard Dennis Smith Jr.’s camp to set up workouts ahead of the NBA Draft, a source told ZAGSBLOG.

There are plenty of smart people on my Twitter timeline who believe that Smith should be in heavy consideration if/when the Sixers are picking at No. 3, which kind of shows how many legit options there are at that spot. Smith is popping up in the 7-10 range in a lot of mock drafts, as is Frank Ntilikina.

Although both Smith Jr. and Ntilikina are point guards, they’re pretty different players. Smith is an explosive athlete (sort of in the Russell Westbrook mold) who can dunk on opposing defenses in traffic. Ntilikina is the super long defender who might be more suited to an off-ball role, which wouldn’t be a terrible thing next to Ben Simmons.

I would expect both players receive an invite to Camden to at least work out for the Sixers, because that’s the team picking third in what feels like a pretty strong Top-10 will likely have plenty of options.

Josh Jackson legal trouble

If the Sixers are going to draft Kansas swingman Josh Jackson, they are going to have to do some serious off-court research.

According to the Kansas City Star, Jackson has signed a "court-mandated diversion agreement" that will make him "attend anger management classes, refrain from alcohol and recreational drugs during the diversion period of 12 months and a write an apology letter" to Kansas women's basketball player McKenzie Calvert.

He also signed a "stipulation of facts" regarding the incident in question from December, when Jackson kicked Calvert's car and verbally harassed her:

I followed Calvert out, yelling at her and calling her names,” the document reads. “Calvert entered her 2016 Ford Focus, which is registered to Timothy Calvert, and locked the doors. I kicked her vehicle, breaking the left rear taillight and denting the driver’s door.”
Also according to The Star, Jackson agreed to pay a restitution of $3,150.45 to Calvert's father if he violates the diversion agreement.

Chacho back to Europe?

We wrote about Sergio Rodriguez and his slim chances of returning to the Sixers a few weeks ago, and according to Eurohoops, El Chacho will likely be a top target of CSKA Moscow this offseason:

Rodriguez ended his NBA season with the Sixers, after being paid 6,8 million US dollars, and he is also a free agent. He had said that he would like to remain in Philadelphia, however, considering also the fact that some of the money he got went to his buy out from Real Madrid, CSKA Moscow is one of the few clubs in Europe that can compete with an NBA offer moneywise.

CSKA Moscow is a big-time club team in Europe, and if their top point guard Milos Teodosic decides to give the NBA a whirl, they would obviously have a hole at that position. It makes sense that Rodriguez, a top international point guard for many years before playing for the Sixers, is a name that would pop up in rumors.

Spurs free agents

There’s a good chance that 28-year-old Spurs point guard and unrestricted free agent Patty Mills will be linked to the Sixers in rumors this summer. The dots aren’t all that hard to connect, as Mills has the skill set to fit with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid (career 39.5 percent three-point shooter) and has the obvious Aussie connection with Simmons and Brett Brown.

The Spurs could potentially land a big-time free-agent point guard (Kyle Lowry, Chris Paul?) this offseason as they look to compete with Golden State in the Western Conference.

Mills deflected free-agent talk after the Spurs were swept out of the playoffs on Monday night by the Dubs:

Mills had a really tough series as the Spurs’ starting point guard after Tony Parker and Kawhi Leonard went down, but you know, that’s what the Warriors tend to do to their opponents. He’s a good player, and we’ll see what he costs in free agency. But if the Spurs land a big fish at point guard, it would make sense for the Sixers to target Mills in free agency if the price and years are right.

And while we’re on the topic of the Spurs, it wasn’t a rumor that the Sixers were interested in Manu Ginobili last year. Watching the end of last night’s game, though, it was obvious that Manu staying in San Antonio was the correct move for all parties involved:

Walton on Ball

Just because we can’t go a few days without mentioning LaVar Ball, Luke Walton appeared on The Dan Patrick Show last week and was asked about the father of the player his team has been linked to the most:

“Well, obviously, he’s from L.A., he went to UCLA, and he’s an unbelievable player,” Walton said. “I absolutely love his game, the way he passes, the way he makes everybody on his team better is an unbelievable skill. It’s a joy watching him play. I think that’s right now on paper a great fit.”

Walton went on to say he wouldn’t ask Steve Alford about LaVar, but somebody in the Lakers organization certainly will.

“When we get closer to the draft, I’m sure we’ll get a packet of information on every player that we’re really interested in and sit down and discuss it all,” Walton said. “But right now, I’m not concerned at all [about LaVar]. I’m mostly concerned with what player can help us win more than 26 games the most.”

To me, it seems like Lonzo Ball playing for the Lakers next season was almost meant to be, for better or worse.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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