It feels like the Philadelphia 76ers are turning the 2014 NBA draft into a top-selling gossip magazine. Rumor after rumor seems to be flooding in, and it's becoming difficult to distinguish what could actually happen from what's not plausible.
There's an amazing amount of drama leading up to draft night. And you know what?
It couldn't be more fun.
If we're going to be honest here, then the draft has the potential to completely change Philadelphia's future as a franchise. Not only with how good they could one day become, but also with how people across the country view them. This is important when it comes to what takes place in the next couple years because free agents could view the team in a more favorable light.
Philadelphia currently holds the No. 3 and No. 10 pick in the lottery, as well as five—yes, five—second-round selections. Having so many draft picks is great and all, but there's a better chance of us reading about a real-life Spiderman on June 26 than the Sixers keeping all seven picks. Still though, there isn't another team in the league with as much power as Philly.
Let's take a look at some of the latest rumors and gossip surrounding the Sixers and what they're going to do when the draft arrives.
People either loved hearing that Philadelphia was thinking about trading Michael Carter-Williams to the Lakers for the No. 7 pick, or they hated it.
Not many people fell in the middle on this one.
ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required) recently discussed the potential trade in his latest mock draft. He had this to say regarding Philadelphia and what they'll do with the No. 3 pick, potentially drafting Dante Exum:
He obviously plays the same position as Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams. However, the Sixers feel the two can play together and they continue to explore Carter-Williams trades that would land them a third pick in the top 10. The Lakers have strong interest in a package of Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young for the No. 7 pick and Steve Nash. But so far there hasn't been any traction on that deal, according to sources. Even if they don't move Carter-Williams, they might still lean toward Exum. They have him ranked as a stronger pro.
Let’s get Young’s name out of the way first. It’s crazy that Philly would move both Carter-Williams and Thaddeus Young in order to get the No. 7 pick, so don’t completely buy into that thought process. Young’s name is likely out of the picture with this deal, but the former Syracuse point guard’s is very much alive.
It's wild to think that Carter-Williams just won the NBA's Rookie of the Year award and now the Sixers are thinking about trading him. Sure, he failed to shoot the ball too effectively and was a turnover machine, but he was also incredibly dynamic on both ends of the floor. Not only was he able to win the award, but Carter-Williams also led all rookies in points, rebounds, assists and steals.
Moving Carter-Williams might sound stupid, but at the end of the day, the Sixers general manager is Sam Hinkie. He's the same guy who shocked the league by dealing Jrue Holiday during the 2013 draft, and he could very well do it all over again. If Hinkie believes something will make the Sixers better, then he's going to do everything he can to make it happen.
Regardless of who's involved.
Andrew Wiggins Falls to the Sixers
With this information, let's just say that Parker ends up with the Bucks for the sake of the discussion. This leaves the Cleveland Cavaliers—who have the first pick—as the wild card in Philly's hunt to land Andrew Wiggins. The only way for the Sixers to get their touted prospect is for the Cavs to surprise people and still take Joel Embiid, or shock the world and go with somebody else, such as Exum.
If Cleveland does keep the pick, it would be hard to believe that they'll take anybody other than Wiggins in this scenario. On top of that, there's a good chance they go with Parker at No. 1. If this took place, then it would be surprising to see the Bucks pass on the Kansas wing.
The outlook is certainly bleak regardless of the order of players taken with the first two picks. Wiggins sliding to No. 3 would be one of the draft's biggest surprises—and a reason for Philadelphia to go to Las Vegas after the draft.
There's just a very low chance of it happening.
Sixers Select Joel Embiid at No. 3
If Wiggins doesn't fall to the Sixers at No. 3, then there's a very good chance that Embiid will be available when Philadelphia makes its first pick. Does adding Embiid to a Philadelphia front line that already has Nerlens Noel make any sense?
That remains to be seen, but it hasn't stopped the Sixers from saying Embiid is very much in the picture at No. 3:
Philly.com's Bob Cooney doesn't list his source, but it wouldn’t make much of a difference. It would be troublesome to hear that Philadelphia wasn't at least going over the idea of taking someone as talented as Embiid.
There's just one problem, though.
The Sixers already went through drafting an injured player last year in Noel. It would be more than difficult for them go through it all over again and wait on another top pick to be healthy enough to play.
Embiid's talent overrides the potential problem of finding where he fits on Philadelphia's roster. Unfortunately for him, his health quashes any chance of him ending up in the City of Brotherly Love.
Thaddeus Young Gets Moved for Another First-Round Pick
Young has been nothing but productive and an excellent teammate over the course of his career in Philadelphia. His seven years in the league have flown by, and it would feel a little strange to see him play for a different organization.
A roster without Young might feel off, but a reality of being traded still remains.
NJ.com's Eliot Shorr-Parks is convinced that Young will get moved on draft night. Shorr-Parks brings up some interesting points when discussing whether or not it would be a good idea to move the skilled power forward:
Still, Young could become a free agent following next season if he declines his player option, and his value may never be higher. The argument could be made for holding onto him until the trade deadline next season, hoping to pry a pick away from a team that feels Young could be the last piece for a playoff push.
It is also true that in a loaded 2014 draft class, moving up at all in the top-10 is great value. The difference between the Sixers picking at No. 8 and No. 10 could be landing stud prospect Aaron Gordon of Arizona, or settling for a guard like Nik Stauskas of Michigan.
It's important to remember that Young isn't just an average player with some upside. He's already hitting his potential, and his 2013-14 numbers of 17.9 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.1 steals per game show it. Young seemed to be the only player on the Sixers whose numbers were coming from how truly talented he was and not because of an increase in minutes or change of playing style.
Again, he's been nothing but great, yet we're talking about the Sixers. Not one player on their roster is safe.
He's had a great career in Philadelphia, but it would be more surprising to get through the draft and see him still on the Sixers.
Seeing him go would be sad nonetheless.
Philadelphia Trades for the No. 1 Pick
Talking about Young getting traded is the perfect transition toward discussing the Sixers moving up to get the No. 1 pick in the draft.
This is one of the older rumors on this list, but potentially the most exciting. ESPN's Chad Ford (subscription required) said this about Philadelphia and its ultimate quest to land Wiggins:
Wiggins has been the target all year for the Sixers. He finally traveled to Philly on Monday for his first workout. The Sixers have been actively trying to trade up to make sure they land him, and I'm told a swap of No. 1 for No. 3 and Thaddeus Young isn't totally out of the question -- as long as the Cavs have some reasonable belief that the Bucks would pass on Joel Embiid at No. 2.
The question then becomes what would the Sixers have to give up in order to make that happen.
The first thought that comes to mind is Thaddeus Young and both lottery picks. The chances of this exact trade are lower than Kwame Brown's career numbers, though. Philadelphia traded Holiday away in order to potentially land two lottery picks in the 2014 draft. Throwing both of them to the Cavs for one selection just isn't in the Sixers' best interest.
Look for Philly to try to package Young, the No. 3 pick and multiple second-round picks for the top spot. It's not a likely situation, but certainly one that's possible with the magic of draft night.
Sam Hinkie Delivers a Great Draft
This isn't so much of a rumor as a hope for all Sixers fans.
Enduring a brutal 2013-14 season with all eyes looking toward the draft hasn't been anything close to easy. It was clear that Hinkie and Co. were putting all of their stock into what was going to take place come June 26, 2014.
The lottery didn't help Philadelphia in any way, but there's still a ridiculous amount of hope. There's a good reason for it, too.
His name is Sam Hinkie.
He was partly responsible for turning the Houston Rockets into the team they are today as the assistant general manager, and he's the head man for the Sixers. Philly couldn't be in better hands, and fans should be confident in knowing he has nothing but Philadelphia's best interest in mind.
Now's the time to see what other tricks he has up his sleeve.
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