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May 26, 2017

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

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Even after a week that had Dennis Smith and Otto Porter news and rumors concerning the Sixers, we’ve had a busy couple of days. Let’s start with the draft prospect that always seems to be making news, one way or another:

Lonzo says no to Celts, maybe to Sixers

The Boston Celtics own the No. 1 overall pick in the 2017 NBA Draft. When the team with the top pick asks a prospect to work out, they usually say yes. That was true of Brandon Ingram and Jaylen Brown coming to PCOM last season.

Well, Lonzo Ball isn’t your average top prospect. And despite the fact that Boston owns the top pick in the draft, Danny Ainge said that Ball’s camp declined to work out for the Celtics:

"We don't deal with [Ball's camp] all that much. They didn't show up at the combine, which is very common -- many of the top 10 or 15 players don't show up for the combine. ... We just tried to get him in for a workout and they politely said no."

So, it’s Lakers or bust, right? Not so fast, my friend. According to ESPN’s Chris Haynes, Ball is considering working out for the Sixers:

A final decision will be made once Ball's agent, Harrison Gaines, and Sixers general manager Bryan Colangelo have had an extensive conversation about the identity of the team, sources told ESPN.

That dialogue is expected within the coming weeks. Most expect Ball to be off the board after the first two selections.

The Balls are wondering about Brett Brown’s plan to play Ben Simmons at point guard and where Lonzo would fit in. It’s not a rumor that they want Lonzo to have the basketball in his hands at all times. I wrote today about how I feel like Lonzo’s NBA destiny isn’t as a pure point guard, which would make him a great fit in Philly.

Regardless of whether the Sixers can get Lonzo to Camden for a workout, there isn’t much he’s going to showcase in a 1-on-0 setting that we already don’t know. I’m sure the front office would love to bring him in for an afternoon, but that ultimately shouldn’t affect their decision at No. 3 should the Lakers pull a shocker and draft someone else.

Okafor staying in Philly?

According to Basketball Insiders’ Steve Kyler, Jahlil Okafor may not be on the move this offseason:

There is a sense that Okafor could be had in the draft, as picks and assets often change hands on draft night. Okafor could be on the move, although it seems less certain than some of the other names in play. That’s simply because the 76ers won’t give Okafor away and extracting value for him may be tough given how up and down his NBA career has been.

This seems mostly like speculation, but I believe that the Sixers should take what they can get for Okafor. While I understand that the Sixers wouldn’t want to give the former No. 3 overall pick away for nothing, Richaun Holmes clearly deserves to be their backup center for the upcoming season. It feels like the best situation for both parties would be for Okafor to be traded somewhere else.

Monk workout

According to the Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, Bryan Colangelo and members of the Sixers front office went to New York to catch Malik Monk, Harry Giles, and T.J. Leaf work out. From Monk’s point of view, you would have to imagine the Sixers would be one of his preferred destinations as a knockdown shooter who doesn’t need the ball. It’s not exactly breaking news that the Sixers will obviously take a good hard look at Monk as well:

Pompey also tweeted that the Sixers checked out Justin Jackson and Jarrett Allen, both of whom, barring a trade, likely won’t be drafted here:

Quick hits

•    Longtime Process nemesis Stan Van Gundy was on Detroit radio this week, where he was pressed about Sam Hinkie and the Sixers rebuilding strategy (Sixers stuff starts at the 15:00 mark).

The host, Mike Valenti, felt that the Process was worth it and the Pistons are in NBA purgatory. Van Gundy pointed to all of the losses accumulated and the effect that has on a fan base. The whole thing is really worth a listen:

•    Brett Brown is apparently in a legal battle with one of his former players in Australia.

Follow Rich on Twitter: @rich_hofmann

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