Rumor: Would Sixers be willing to trade Michael Carter-Williams and draft Dante Exum?

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There are front offices around the NBA who LOVE Dante Exum.

He’s the mystery man for most fans and a few front offices — he’s a 6’6” combo guard with a 6’9.5” wingspan, he is quick, has tremendous ball handling skills and a nice Basketball IQ for a guy who will still be 18 at the time of the draft. He can get to the line with the best in this draft. He’s about what could be — a big point guard with passing skills or a two guard who can double as a playmaker. The big negative is his shot — it needs work. Plus he hasn’t been sharpened against the same level of competition as the other guys in this draft.

The Sixers, with the No. 3 pick, are one of the teams were Exum has some fans in the front office, except the Sixers already have a tall project of a point guard who needs to improve his shot in Rookie of the Year Michael Carter-Williams.

But the Sixers could take Exum and then move Carter-Williams, an idea they have discussed internally, reports Chad Ford at ESPN ($$, and hat tip Hoopshype).

The Philadelphia 76ers are Exum fans as well, and if Wiggins is off the board, Exum will be in the mix. They think Exum and Carter-Williams could play together in the backcourt, although it would not be a very good shooting tandem. I think the more obvious fit comes if they trade Carter-Williams, an idea I’m told they have bounced around.

Teams bounce around a lot of ideas, I would say don’t bet on this one.

Andrew Wiggins and Joel Embiid are 1-2 on most draft boards right now, with Jabari Parker locked in at the three spot. That could shift a little but some order that is your top three, with the Sixers taking whoever is still on the board from that group.

Which makes Exum a potential pick of the Orlando Magic at No. 4, putting him as the point guard next to Victor Oladipo in a young backcourt.

PBT’s draft expert Ed Isaacson of NBADraftblog.com and Rotoworld had Exum going fifth in his first mock draft, the Utah Jazz, with them making Exum the two guard next to Trey Burke. Isaacson is not as high on Exum as some around the league.

The question is just how high up the draft board are one of those people who love Exum.

Remembering Notre Dame, Laker legend Tommy “the hawk” Hawkins

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Tommy Hawkins passed away recently at the age of 80.

The former NBA player was the first black athlete to earn All-America honors in basketball at Notre Dame (he still holds the school’s total rebounds record), was drafted in the first round, and went on to have a 10-year NBA career playing for the Minneapolis/Los Angeles Lakers as well as the Cincinnati Royals. Los Angeles fans may also remember him as the long time director of communications for the Los Angeles Dodgers after his playing days ended.

The NBA put together this well done video look back at Hawkins’ career.

Celtics’ Brad Stevens said early September tests will show if Thomas ready for camp

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Isaiah Thomas said he expects to be ready for the Celtics’ training camp next month. The guard’s All-NBA season came to an early end in the playoffs when he aggravated a labral tear in his right hip initially suffered back in March. At least the injury did not require surgery.

Players are also about the worst judges of when they will recover from an injury. They pretty much all think they are invincible and will be healthy faster than doctors predict.

Coaches tend to be more pragmatic. Take Boston’s Brad Stevens, who told Chris Mannix on The Vertical Podcast that tests in a couple of weeks will show if Thomas is ready for camp.

“He has another follow-up and another scan in the early part of September. Obviously, it’s been a lot of appropriate rest, a lot of rehab. There have been some good strides here certainly in the last month or few weeks, but we’re not going to know that until after that early September timeframe.”

The Celtics are understandably going to be cautious with Thomas, while Thomas wants to prove he is healthy and has no ill effects from the injury as he enters a contract year (one where he expects to get PAID). Also, the Celtics could use him in camp as they start to figure out how he and Gordon Hayward can share playmaking duties.

Still, from the outset, the timelines have suggested he should be ready for camp in late September. Coaches are just cautious on these things by nature.

Allen Iverson predicts LeBron James will win MVP

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LeBron James has four NBA MVP trophies in his case. (Does he keep that case in his home in Akron or the one in Los Angeles… that’s a question for another day.) Only Kareem Abdul-Jabbar (six) and Michael Jordan (five) have more.

Could LeBron James add a fifth to his case this season?

Allen Iverson said yes at last weekend’s Big3 playoffs in Seattle.

LeBron was fourth in preseason odds to win the MVP at 15/2, behind Russell Westbrook, Kevin Durant, and Kawhi Leonard.

To me, LeBron could be a good bet. If/when Kyrie Irving is traded, the chances of LeBron getting the MVP go up. If LeBron puts up impressive numbers (again) and leads a depleted Cavaliers team to a top two seed in the East, he is certainly going to be in consideration. And should be.

It’s a long season, and personally, I think you need to get midway through the season before seriously considering the year-end awards. But history says LeBron will be in the mix, and Allen Iverson could be proven prophetic.

Phoenix Suns with quality solar eclipse joke on Twitter

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With the cooler-than-I-expected solar eclipse on Monday came a lot of bad solar eclipse jokes on Twitter. Because that’s what Twitter does. Especially the NBA Twitterverse. We knew a lot of “where on the flat earth will Kyrie Irving watch the eclipse?” jokes were coming.

There were a couple of good ones, however.

Appropriately, the Phoenix Suns won the day.

One personal favorite here, an old meme that never goes out of style.