June 22, 2017
The NBA Draft has finally arrived. And although some of the drama typically reserved for this night was sprung on Sixers fans a few days early when the team traded up to No. 1, there's still plenty of reason for them to be excited by the selection of Markelle Fultz (even if it's a forgone conclusion at this point).
Add to that the fact that this has been one of the craziest starts to an NBA offseason I can remember, and it becomes tough to keep up with all the Sixers news. Don't worry, we've got you covered with another edition of What They're Saying.
But first, here's a look at what we're saying:
• How the latest NBA Draft and free agency news and rumors affect Sixers (Hofmann)
• Fultz has been saying 'Trust the Process' longer than Sixers fans: 'I thought I came up with it' (Mullin)
• How Lakers' trade and rumors affect Sixers-Celtics deal (Hofmann)
• Five trade targets for Sixers at end of first round (Hofmann)
• Sixers reportedly one of several teams to contact Knicks about Porzingis (Mullin)
Now onto the links...
First, Joel Embiid spent some time chatting with free agent J.J. Redick, who has previously been linked to the Sixers.
Then, he sub-tweeted Kristaps Porzingis…
The New York Knicks are locked in one of the strangest disputes with a player I can ever remember happening. Kristaps Porzingis is the only ray of hope for the franchise—and really the only thing saving Phil Jackson from the unemployment line—yet they seem openly pessimistic about his future in New York.
Seeing this, a hero has emerged in Philadelphia, ready to save Porzingis from a series of increasingly adversarial meetings with the Zen Master. In Sixers world, Joel Embiid suggests they don’t care a whole lot about those pesky exit meetings, and he seems eager to share the spotlight with Porzingis in Philadelphia. [libertyballers.com]
We don't care about Exit meetings in Philly... you're welcome to join— Joel Embiid (@JoelEmbiid) June 22, 2017
The Spurs are reportedly open to moving Danny Green, who has a past with Sixers coach Brett Brown during his time as an assistant in San Antonio. And CSN Philly’s Jessica Camerato thinks a reunion in Philly makes perfect sense:
Green would fit the Sixers' needs: outside shooting, defense and a veteran presence. Last season, Green, who turns 30 on Thursday, averaged 7.3 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.8 assists and shot 37.9 percent from three in 26.6 minutes as a starter. … He is set to make an affordable $10 million next season with a player option for the same amount in 2018-19. That's a bargain in today's market and less than what some free agents will be garnering this summer. …
Looking at the current roster, Nik Stauskas could be appealing to the Spurs. He improved last season to 36.8 percent from three and is a long-range contributor who can play multiple positions. Stauskas also has an expiring contract.
Then there's the ongoing uncertainty about Jahlil Okafor's future with the Sixers. Center (and former Sixer) Dewayne Dedmon is opting out of his contract with the Spurs to become a free agent. Would they take a look at Okafor at the five spot? [csnphilly.com]
As Hinkie once famously put it, “You don’t get to the moon by climbing a tree.” The Sixers are still reaching for the stars — but for the first time, they feel close enough to touch. (Hinkie politely declined to comment on moon missions and other matters for this story.)
So that’s it, then. This must signal the end of the rebuild and, with it, the Process. The NBA can rest easy and leave all those frantic lottery austerity plans to collect more dust in a basement vault somewhere. The Sixers have a nice young team and oodles of cap space. They must be ready to graduate to some other post-Process phase, right?
Except this doesn’t really feel like a pivot point. The Fultz trade didn’t seem to signal that the Hinkie era was finally finished and the Colangelo era had untethered itself from the previous administration. Quite the opposite, actually. Past, present, and future feel inextricably linked. Who’s to say where one begins and the other ends? As Sixers fans learned from their favorite podcast (more on that in a bit), the Process is the NBA’s version of the Ship of Theseus — a grand thought experiment with endless answers. If the past few days taught us anything, the heated conversation about what the Sixers were and what they hope to become will continue unabated. Part of that is owed to Hinkie, and part to Colangelo, and part to the independent uprising that rose around them. [theringer.com]
Tatum, the Duke forward projected to go in the top six picks during Thursday night's NBA Draft, said during Wednesday's media availability in New York that a private session for the Sixers was his first workout.
Prior to Kentucky guards Malik Monk and De'Aaron Fox, and then Washington guard Markelle Fultz visiting last week, Sixers president Bryan Colangelo said the Sixers had either seen or scheduled visits with nearly all of the high-level prospects but that some agents didn't want that information made public. [buckscountycouriertimes.com]
The 76ers will select Fultz with the first pick in the NBA draft Thursday night, and the prospect of adding a 6-foot-4 combo guard — an ideal stylistic complement for Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, and the rest of the Sixers’ roster — has infused the franchise and its fans with giddiness and hope. Yet out of Fultz’s only season of college basketball, there’s a red flag on his curriculum vitae, a big honking pimple on an otherwise flawless complexion. Forget the uncertainty that accompanies any draft pick. Forget the six late-season games that Fultz missed because of a knee injury. Washington finished 9-22, a bottoming-out that cost Romar his job after 15 years there, and if there were concerns over Ben Simmons’ talent and intangibles after Louisiana State went 19-14 with him, then the Huskies’ record with Fultz must fire off signal flares and set off sirens about his character and ability, right?
How good can the kid really be if his team didn’t even reach the NCAA tournament? If his team didn’t even reach .500? If his team won just nine games? [philly.com]
Sales have spiked since Saturday, since news of their trade with the Boston Celtics to acquire the No. 1 pick in Thursday's draft. The Sixers have sold a franchise-record 14,000 season tickets for 2017-18 and expect to sell out all of their home games…
With management preaching patience, the Sixers have been quietly increasing their season-ticket sales. During the summer of 2013, they sold 3,400 season tickets. Last season, almost 10,000. And now, 14,000.
They're first in the league in new full-season ticket packages. [ESPN.com]
This is really well done…
No wonder they’ve sold so many season tickets.
Getting the first selection this time wasn’t part of the plan, however. It was a combination of circumstances, some very unlucky, which still conspired to produce what appears to be a fortunate ending. If the franchise has seemed to be star-crossed regarding the health of key players — with it taking several years for some stars to uncross — the events that put the Sixers in position to add guard Markelle Fultz could be the sign that luck is finally evening out for them.
“Things happen for a reason,” Bryan Colangelo, the team’s general manager and president of basketball operations, said this week. “This wasn’t by design, not by plan.” [philly.com]
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