Sixers Plan to ‘Optimize’ NBA Draft, Trade Talks Heat Up

Klay Thompson

Getty Golden State Warriors star Klay Thompson hasn't played since Game 6 of the 2019 NBA Finals after suffering a torn ACL.

Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey hinted at trading up in next week’s NBA draft during his end-of-year media availability. And a new report indicates the Sixers may indeed give up the 28th overall pick.

According to Kyle Neubeck of Philly Voice, there is a “very good chance” the franchise deals their first-rounder for either a veteran player or future assets. This matches with what Morey told reporters last month, plus it jives with his aggressive style from his Houston days.

“If we keep the pick, I’m someone who likes to move up, move down, optimize the draft,” Morey said on June 22. “But if we stay with that pick [No. 28] like we did last year, I feel good about the players that would be available, yes.”

The Sixers have brought in a few players for pre-draft workouts, including Jeremiah Robinson-Earl (Villanova), Luka Garza (Iowa), Neemias Queta (Utah State). All three players are big men so it appears as if Philly might be poised to draft a backup center behind All-Star Joel Embiid.

“We need to be an overall better team with better players,” Morey said. “We need to make that happen. In terms of specifics, I can’t give you that.”

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Asking Price Too High for Golden State

The Golden State Warriors had been one of the first teams linked to Ben Simmons in a trade scenario back on June 25. Some preliminary talks had taken place, but asking price appears to be too high.

The Warriors are out of the Simmons’ sweepstakes, per Connor Letourneau of the San Francisco Chronicle. The Sixers want an All-Star-caliber player in return and the Warriors are unwilling to move Steph Curry, Klay Thompson, or Draymond Green.

“The 76ers are asking for a massive haul that includes an All-Star-level player,” said Letourneau. “Per a league source, Golden State wouldn’t be willing to give up what it would take to get Simmons.”


Sixers Land Florida Guard in Mock Draft

Meanwhile, Jeremy Woo of Sports Illustrated has the Sixers selecting Florida guard Tre Mann at No. 28. The 6-foot-4, 190-pounder is a quality jump shooter and perimeter creator, although he’s been called one-dimensional for a lack of awareness on the defensive end. Woo wrote:

Daryl Morey has never been particularly attached to his draft picks, and history suggests the Sixers will entertain offers for this pick, making it an interesting spot for a team to grab a player who unexpectedly slips to the back of the first round. Considering the large glut of guards penciled in all over this part of the draft, it’s inevitable that a few of them will fall.

The 19-year-old could go higher, with the New York Knicks (No. 21) and Los Angeles Lakers (No. 22) keeping close tabs on him. Mann averaged 16.0 points and 3.5 assists per game last season while shooting 40.2% from three-point range. He increased his scoring average by 10.7 points per game from his freshman to his sophomore season, the largest single-season jump by a Gator in 25 years.


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