Andrew Wiggins

Sixers apologize for treatment of media during Andrew Wiggins pre-draft visit

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The Sixers reportedly really like Andrew Wiggins, so much so that they are willing to consider all options to ensure they’ll be in position to secure his services.

But there’s also plenty of misinformation that teams near the top of the draft order like to put out there this time of year, in order to ensure the guy they truly want is still there by the time their pick comes around.

If the way Philadelphia handled Wiggins’ pre-draft workout on Monday is any indication, though, they may indeed have already decided that he’s the one they want.

From John Gonzalez of CSNPhilly.com:

Wiggins was at PCOM on Monday. So were a handful of reporters. At some point, campus security and a Philadelphia police officer asked the media to leave (see story). Something about it being private property, even though that same group of reporters is there all the time for various reasons. …

Tuesday morning, after the media reconvened at PCOM and took another crack at talking to Wiggins -– he was scheduled for his official workout — the Sixers dispatched an emissary. He said there was a miscommunication. He said PCOM security acted without the Sixers’ knowledge. He said the Sixers didn’t know the media had been asked to leave. …

With Wiggins, they cut off communication. Then the Sixers ushered Wiggins out the PCOM back door, into an SUV, and off to the airport — where he somehow avoided detection by CSN reporter John Clark, who has Philadelphia International wired better than an airline electrician.

It’s worth noting that not all teams behave this way with prospects in for workouts before the draft, and in fact, plenty of them invite the media in to speak with the coach and GM (and sometimes the players) about how the day’s workout unfolded.

The Sixers apologized for not communicating better where Wiggins was concerned, and a team spokesman went on video with reporters to further explain Philadelphia’s position — which, essentially, is that they’re not all that interested in providing formal access to interview prospects in advance of the June 26 draft.

And honestly, that’s fine. Maybe the reporters in attendance could have been notified earlier that there would be no availability to avoid the uncomfortable situation, but from a team standpoint, there is nothing to be gained from having young prospects who are inexperienced in dealing with the press potentially divulge which way the team is leaning with so much at stake.

Philadelphia has seven picks in this summer’s draft, but its highest is third overall. Wiggins may still be there, but he might not — which would require trade talks with either Cleveland or Milwaukee to truly ensure that he ends up with the Sixers, making the team’s somewhat clandestine approach all the more understandable.

Wiggins comes to Philly to work out for Sixers

Report: Las Vegas also in contention for 2017 NBA All-Star game

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Where will the NBA hold the 2017 All-Star game?

Charlotte? No.

New Orleans? Probably.

New York/Brooklyn or Chicago? Maybe.

One more maybe: Las Vegas.

Scott Kusher of The Advocate:

The NBA held All-Star Weekend in Las Vegas in 2007. By all accounts, it was wild.

I’d be surprised if the league returned the event to Las Vegas, but at this point, I’d really be surprised by any option besides New Orleans.

Report: 76ers, Sam Hinkie’s ‘handpicked analytics crew’ splitting up

Ben Mikesell/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP
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The 76ers hired Bryan Colangelo, and Sam Hinkie bounced.

Now, much of Hinkie’s front-office is also heading out the door.

Zach Lowe of ESPN:

that regime — including deposed GM Sam Hinkie’s handpicked analytics crew — will be mostly gone by the end of August, league sources say.

If Colangelo hires his own analytics staff and integrates numbers into his decision-making, this is no big deal.

If Colangelo leaves those positions vacant, Philadelphia will be working from behind.

I’m betting on the former. He isn’t Hinkie, but Colangelo has discussed the importance of analytics. Let Colangelo hire his own staff, and everything might even flow more smoothly.

Mike Krzyzewski: Team USA having too much fun, needs to tone it down

OAKLAND, CA - JULY 26:  DeMar DeRozan #9 of the United States Men's National Team looks on during a break in the action against the China Men's National Team during the second half of a USA Basketball showcase exhibition game at ORACLE Arena on July 26, 2016 in Oakland, California.  (Photo by Thearon W. Henderson/Getty Images)
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Mike Krzyzewski hates fun (even more than he admits).

So, the coach wasn’t thrilled after Team USA’s exhibition win over China, which included DeMar DeRozan nearly 360-degree dunking on someone.

Marc J. Spears of ESPN:

I want to see Team USA make highlight plays. Dunk from the free-throw line. Shoot from halfcourt. Throw behind-the-back passes. Show up weaker competition.

So, it’s hard for me to get behind Coach K’s criticism.

But I also want to see the Americans win gold medals in the Olympics, and I’ll blame Krzyzewski if they’re not adequately focused.

Fair? Not one bit.

Doesn’t change what I want, though.

Report: Kevin Durant told Russell Westbrook he’d re-sign with the Thunder

OKLAHOMA CITY, OK - MAY 28:  Kevin Durant #35 of the Oklahoma City Thunder and Russell Westbrook #0 look on prior to game six of the Western Conference Finals against the Golden State Warriors during the 2016 NBA Playoffs at Chesapeake Energy Arena on May 28, 2016 in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement.  (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
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Kevin Durant said he had to distance himself from Russell Westbrook entering free agency. Yet, Durant listened to the Warriors recruiting him all season and had clearly been interested in Golden State for months.

The writing was on the wall.

Except, a few days before taking meetings in the Hamptons (which led to signing with the Warriors), Durant dined with Westbrook.

Royce Young of ESPN:

Three weeks ago, Kevin Durant’s sitting there at dinner, telling him “Hey, I’m coming back, man. Don’t worry about it.” And now, Russell Westbrook has been kind of thrown into this in having to decide his future a summer earlier than expected.

Kevin Durant, more so than even that, was telling people, “Hey, yeah, I mean I’m coming back.” Like I said in there, a week before Kevin Durant sat down in the Hamptons, he was in Oklahoma City ready to make an offer on a multi-million-dollar house. So, the guy was pretty serious about coming back, and then things turned rather quickly for him to leave. And there’s no doubt that the organization felt a little bit burned by this.

Maybe Durant said that. Maybe he meant it in the moment. Maybe he was just trying to appease someone he didn’t want to let down. Maybe he was unclear. Maybe Westbrook read too much into a more clear statement.

There’s a lot of room for imperfect recollection/interpretation. We’re dealing with human beings.

Likewise on the house. Who says Durant was “ready” to make an offer? That’s an awfully difficult assessment to make outside his head. Just as the Celtics had a list of players Durant wanted them to add, it seems he was preparing for all contingencies. It’s hard to nail down whether he was house hunting because he was certain he wanted to stay in Oklahoma City or whether he just wanted a new place if he stayed in Oklahoma City.

So much of what we know about Durant’s process for picking the Warriors suggests a rational decision. He considered them for months, met with multiple teams, conferred with his inner circle then made a choice.

If Durant told Westbrook or anyone else he’d re-sign with the Thunder, that obviously changes the equation. But I’m left wondering:

How many people in Oklahoma City heard what they wanted to hear rather than what Durant actually said?

How many people are incentivized to paint Durant as impulsive, because the alternative — Durant thoughtfully deciding the Thunder weren’t his best option — indicates deeper flaws in the franchise?