Sixers GM says he never had conversations about acquiring Anthony Bennett

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The Sixers were a late addition to the trade between the Cavaliers and the Timberwolves that sent Kevin Love to Cleveland, but like so many of the team’s moves over the past two seasons, they weren’t looking to get anything in return that might help their chances of winning in the upcoming season.

Philadelphia ended up sending Thaddeus Young, its last remaining veteran talent on the roster, to Minnesota in exchange for Alexey Shved and Luc Mbah a Moute — two players that are expected to remain, but won’t do much in the way of increasing the team’s competitive chances.

It’s worth wondering if the Sixers might have been able to land Anthony Bennett in the deal, the top overall pick in the 2013 draft who underwhelmed in his rookie season, but looked much sharper during this year’s Summer League in Las Vegas. But GM Sam Hinkie said acquiring Bennett wasn’t something that was ever discussed.

From Tom Moore of The Intelligencer:

“I can tell you unequivocally we didn’t have any conversations about (Bennett),” the Sixers’ general manager said during a 30-minute conference call Tuesday.

The Sixers ended up trading veteran forward Thaddeus Young to Minnesota on Saturday for the expiring contracts of Luc Mbah a Moute and Alexey Shved, as well as the Heat’s top-10 protected 2015 first-round pick. A deal for Bennett, as well as the Sixers’ interest in him, had been reported earlier this month.

Hinkie called it “a move we think moves our program forward. One (thing) that matters is a first-round pick in the ‘15 draft. That’s important. You don’t see a lot of first-rounders trading hands.”

Essentially, Hinkie valued a future first round pick more than what he believes a previous one in Bennett will ultimately become, and given the team’s current strategy, that makes a significant amount of sense.

While the pick they received is top-10 protected, the Heat should easily be good enough next season to avoid finishing the year as a lottery team. If all goes as planned, this gives the Sixers have another opportunity to swing for the fences in the draft, in hopes of landing a superstar talent that will change the course of the franchise.

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.