Posts for Sixers Category

Could the Sixers be Targeting EuroLeague MVP Luka Doncic?

JoyOnBroad - June 18, 2018

Former Cleveland Cavaliers general manager and possible future Sixers president of basketball operations David Griffin made an appearance on SiriusXM NBA’s Draft special and dropped a bit of a Philly-related firecracker:

With recent rumblings that Sacramento may be looking to draft Michael Porter Jr. at #2, NBA Mock Drafts are being turned upside down:

This brings me to the target I believe the Sixers should have their sights set on with a top-five pick. It once seemed inconceivable that Luka Doncic – the 2017-18 EuroLeague MVP – could’ve fallen out of the first two picks of the 2018 NBA Draft, but recent murmurs have begun to get louder with some believing he could fall to Dallas at No. 5. That brings us back to the Sixers. Could they be interested in bringing the 19-year-old Slovenian to the City of Brotherly Love? With moves like these, it would be hard to imagine passing up such an opportunity.

With that in mind, what would it cost?

From this initially-rage-inducing tweet came a possible answer. I would not under any circumstances include Markelle Fultz in a trade to move up in this draft. It’s important to keep in mind that some variation of a package including Fultz/10/26/Covington/Dario has been the tentative framework of a deal for disgruntled San Antonio Spurs superstar Kawhi Leonard.

Without Fultz, the Sixers would have to come up with another young player with high upside and good character. Could Dario Saric be an attractive piece in a potential deal? I would be hard-pressed to hold up a trade of 10/26/Saric for a top-five pick, which I realize still might not be enough. Perhaps a 2019 first round pick could sweeten the pot.

If these reports are to be believed, Dallas might have eyes for Doncic. If so, Brett Brown & Co. would need to trade up to No. 3 (Atlanta) or No. 4 (Memphis) in order to jump the Mavericks. Both teams have solid guards in Dennis Schröder and Mike Conley, respectively. Some mock drafts have big men Jaren Jackson Jr. and Mo Bamba going with the third and fourth picks. Perhaps a deal for Saric, No. 10 (Mikal Bridges?), and No. 26 could help Atlanta with their massive rebuild or Memphis with their hunt to return to the postseason.

What do you think? Would you trade 10/26/Dario for a top-five pick? Would you pursue Doncic, Marvin Bagley III, or Wendall Carter Jr.? Would you roll the dice on Trae Young becoming Steph Curry 2.0? We’re only three days from the draft!

Kawhi Leonard Wants Out and the Sixers are on the Clock

JoyOnBroad - June 15, 2018

Yesterday, I broke down a Woj report that San Antonio Spurs coach Greg Popovich would be sitting down in the coming weeks with his estranged superstar Kawhi Leonard with the hopes of working things out and discussing an extension. My oh my how things have changed:

As I wrote yesterday:

“What once seemed like an impossibility – parting ways with the 2014 NBA Finals MVP, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and two-time All-NBA First Team selection – now appears to be a formality, with the Sixers mentioned as a contender to acquire his services.”

ESPN’s Bobby Marks wrote of a hypothetical Sixers trade for Leonard:

“Philadelphia will need to rely on coach Brett Brown and his relationship with Leonard from his days as an assistant in San Antonio. Because Philadelphia is restricted in what it can offer Leonard in an extension before free agency (four years, $107 million; six months after he is acquired), both sides would be relying on a handshake agreement before the trade is completed. Essentially, the Sixers would be risking three assets because they trust Leonard.”

Recent Sixers assistant coaching hire Monty Williams spent the past two years as the vice president of basketball operations in the same front office as R.C. Buford, while Brett Brown served on Gregg Popovich’s staff with Leonard as a player. With Leonard now presumably on the trading block, the Sixers would appear to be a legitimate contender in acquiring his services.

A trade involving Robert Covington and Markelle Fultz, along using the Stretch Provision on Jerryd Bayless, could clear enough cap space for the Sixers to make a run at a max player like LeBron James or Paul George to pair with Kawhi, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid.

One would be reckless to ignore the potential package of draft picks and star players Boston could offer, including Kyrie Irving or – could they be so cold – Gordon Hayward. The Lakers are also believed to be interested in offering a package including young players like Kyle Kuzma, Lonzo Ball, or Brandon Ingram. In the latter scenario, they could clear enough cap space to make a super team of Kawhi, PG13, and LeBron. There’s also this:

And this, from the night before, is as close as you can get to tampering without burning your hand.

The NBA off-season is heating up and the draft is only a week away. I’m not a betting man, but I’d feel pretty comfortable wagering that the Sixers will be in the running. Speaking of gambling, Kyle and I talked about updates in sports gambling on Friday’s Crossing Broadcast:

 

 

Crossing Broadcast: The Future of Sports Gambling

JoyOnBroad - June 15, 2018

Kyle and Russ cover Kyle’s recent trip to a sports gambling conference in New Jersey, the future of sports gambling in Pennsylvania, the technology barrier to narrow bets, and more. Also discussed: the Eagles Super Bowl rings, World Cup, and a delicious Gordon Ramsay meal.

Please subscribe to the show, leave a 5 star review, and follow us on Twitter: @CrossingBroad @JoyOnBroad

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Audio after the jump:

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Wojbombs in the Distance Give Me Hope for Kawhi

JoyOnBroad - June 14, 2018

Do you hear that sound in the distance? It’s not the concussive explosion of LeBron’s “Decision 3.0,” but if you listen closely enough, you can hear the foundation of the Spurs’ Way continuing to crack. We’ve heard all season about Kawhi Leonard’s distrust with San Antonio’s medical staff. His injury, and the subsequent back-and-forth between Leonard, his teammates, and the organization made the Markelle Fultz situation, at times, look kind of normal. Over the last few months, I’ve written about the possibility that the Sixers would look to acquire Kawhi this offseason via trade.

The prevailing wisdom on Sixers Twitter has been, “Well, how can you possibly make a trade for Kawhi (trading a combo of #10, #26, Fultz/Dario/Covington) without a GM?” It’s as if no one realizes that Monty Williams, who once led the New Orleans Pelicans to the playoffs twice in five seasons, just left a position in the Spurs’ front office. While Williams will be serving as an assistant coach on Brett Brown’s staff, the job that he did the past two years as the vice president of basketball operations was in the same front office as R.C. Buford. If team is better equipped to make a move for Kawhi Leonard, who better than the Sixers? Brett Brown served on Gregg Popovich’s staff with Leonard as a player, which gives insight to Kawhi the player, while William’s experience in a front office role provides insider information on Kawhi the man.

Now, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski is reporting that Spurs’ coach Greg Popovich is going to meet with Kawhi at some point this summer:

“Sooner than later, there will be a meeting set with Gregg Popovich and Leonard. It’s still in the planning stages. They have been in contact, but there will be a conversation — or, perhaps, a series of them — about whether a lasting trust and partnership can be rebuilt.”

Popovich is a year removed from having had a similar meeting with star LaMarcus Aldridge, who had requested a trade after a tumultuous season in San Antonio. Roughly two months after the death of his wife, Woj reported that Popovich’s long-term plans might not include coaching the Spurs:

“Few in his orbit expect Popovich to coach the Spurs beyond the 2020 Summer Olympics, and there always has been the possibility that he could spend the 2019-20 season traveling around the NBA and across the globe, preparing for his national team duties. Perhaps Popovich can have Leonard on Team USA in 2020, too, but that’s a conversation for a different day.”

What once seemed like an impossibility – parting ways with the 2014 NBA Finals MVP, two-time Defensive Player of the Year, and two-time All-NBA First Team selection – now appears to be a formality, with the Sixers mentioned as a contender to acquire his services. Don’t even get me started on my favorite hypothetical:

 

Of Course Colangelo Ignored Advice

JoyOnBroad - June 13, 2018

The tale of Big Collars Bryan Colangelo is a complicated one to say the least. In fairness, we won’t be able to fully evaluate his tenure as the Sixers’ president of basketball operations/general manager for at least five years. At that point, we’ll know who Boston ended up getting with Sacramento’s Top-1 protected 2019 pick (unless Hinkie bewitched the Sixers’ ball and we end up with that pick). We’ll also have a better idea of what player Markelle Fultz is. Will he ever live up to the billing of a #1 overall pick? He was, after all, the consensus #1 overall pick, right? Right? Bryan?

Not so fast, says The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor:

“[Colangelo] hasn’t made any other notable signings or non-lottery draft picks, and dealt the draft pick used on Jayson Tatum and a future first from the Kings to the Celtics to trade up to no. 1 for Fultz. It was a decision praised at the time, but after Fultz struggled in his workout with the Sixers last June, league sources say some Sixers front-office members suggested that despite making the trade, the team should have taken a second look at Tatum or Lonzo Ball. But the idea was shot down by Colangelo, according to sources. Fultz was the choice. There was no turning back.

No turning back? Past the point of no return? What is this, the Phantom of the Opera?

On the bright side, Markelle Fultz is apparently working with shooting coach/trainer Drew Hanlen, who has previously worked with Joel Embiid and Justin Andersen of the Sixers, Bradley Beal of the Wizards, and Jayson Tatum of the Celtics.

If Hanlen can work any of his Beal/Tatum magic on Fultz, it might leave Colangelo feeling vindicated years from now, but if it doesn’t, his insistence on drafting Fultz could go down as one of his worst blunders ever.

Scott O’Neil vs. Howard Eskin

Chris Jastrzembski - June 11, 2018

Earlier on the WIP evening show, Howard Eskin reported that Scott O’Neil is planning to take a job with the Utah Jazz. O’Neil is the CEO of the 76ers, New Jersey Devils, and other entities under the umbrella of Harris Blitzer Sports and Entertainment.

This would be considered a big surprise after the Bryan Colangelo scandal. Why would the CEO of multiple entities leave for another job out west? Maybe he wasn’t happy with how the Colangelo firing went down?

A little after the “report” came out, O’Neil responded on Twitter and denied any truth to the matter.

“2 am slot.” Good jab. But a look at Eskin’s mentions shows how happy the fanbase would be if he actually did leave the organization.

That’s where the fun begins. Eskin didn’t take lightly to O’Neil’s comments and responded with tweets of his own. After the jump: Continue Reading

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Pre-Draft Workouts: Lonnie Walker, Miles Bridges, and Shake Milton

Kevin Kinkead - June 11, 2018

Lonnie Walker grew up a Sixers fan but doesn’t remember much about the 2000-2001 squad.

“I was only two years old. You kind of have to recollect those moments when you get older.”

All laughs from the Reading High School product, a 6’4″ shooting guard who spent Monday morning working out for the Sixers with five other NBA draft prospects. Among them were top-15 projection Miles Bridges, second round projection Shake Milton, and a group of forwards in Drew Eubanks, Nuni Omut, and Jared Nickens.

We only saw about 15 minutes of the session as it wrapped up. Walker spent that portion working with Bridges and Milton on the near court, going through a variety of 1v1 exercises, this one a simple perimeter close out drill:

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“Anything’s on the Table” – GM Brett Brown on Draft Night Strategy

Kevin Kinkead - June 11, 2018

The Sixers brought in a half-dozen prospects for pre-draft workouts on Tuesday, among them top-15 projections in Lonnie Walker and Miles Bridges.

But the big story, I think, is still Brett Brown in his new interim general manager role, an unfamiliar platform for him to stand on just ten days out from the draft.

Brown spoke to the media for 15 minutes after the workout and reiterated that he’s got a good group of people around him, a collection of basketball minds that will provide decision making “firepower” this summer. To that end, he says he’s comfortable handling trade offers and other negotiations and won’t be conservative going into the draft.

“Nah, I think anything’s on the table,” Brown said. “I think anything is on the table. I feel like we will be bold, we will be smart. Nobody is going into this with any other attitude than we will do our homework and we’ll be aggressive. I feel like the firepower, again, so that I’m clear, the firepower I have around me, and I’m in the role that you guys know – we have Marc Eversley leading the scouts, we have ownership that studies this, I think Alex Rucker and Ned Cohen are great. It’s stuff you spitball and go through, but nobody is going into this conservative. There will be an attitude and a boldness that if we feel we have to do something and it’s smart, then that’s what we’ll do.”

That’s good to hear, but any concerns from you, the fan? Do you feel comfortable with a head coach and a group of player-personnel executives handling the salary cap, agent talks, and trade negotiations? What happens if someone makes an offer for pick #10? It’s all worth thinking about.

The Sixers have six selections to work with, so I asked Brown what he was looking for specifically in this draft, and he gave a sort of non-answer while alluding to wing depth.

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