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LeBron on 76ers billboards: ‘It’s dope’

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A Philadelphia-area company paid for billboards in Cleveland that urge LeBron James to join the 76ers

Tom Withers of the Associated Press:

That is not the response I expected.

The billboards are flattering. It’s always nice to be wanted, and LeBron will be highly coveted this summer.

But this response will only fuel LeBron-to-Philadelphia rumors.

I believe many of the rumors about LeBron joining other teams come from his camp and are designed to pressure to the Cavaliers, specifically owner Dan Gilbert. For a while, that meant trading and spending to upgrade the roster (which the Cavs did). Now, it could be about securing the best-possible contract terms. Or it could just be about the vague notion of power.

Still, LeBron being so directly enthusiastic about another fan base’s push for him? That’s a different level.

As for the 76ers, they could make a decent case. Joel Embiid is just 23, and Ben Simmons is only 21. They, along with a solid supporting cast, could keep LeBron’s championship-contention window open the rest of his career. It doesn’t hurt that Simmons shares an agent, Rich Paul, with LeBron.

But that Klutch connection alone isn’t enough to get LeBron to Philadelphia. Embiid’s health is a make-or-break concern. And Markelle Fultz is a huge unknown.

I still believe LeBron’s first choice is returning to the Cavaliers. But that’s contingent them doing all they can for him. Today’s response might just nudge them in that direction.

PBT Extra: One last mock draft of NBA lottery

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DeAndre Ayton will go No. 1 to the Phoenix Suns Thursday night. Marvin Bagley III probably goes second to Sacramento (but that’s not a lock).

After that, things get wide open in the 2018 NBA Draft. Teams value different players at very different levels this year, and there are going to be a number of trades.

Which makes putting together a mock draft for this year more random than a roulette wheel. Not that it stopped me. Here is my final mock draft for the 14 lottery picks. I present it without much confidence, but I’m throwing it out there anyway.

Report: Dewayne Dedmon opts in for $6.3 million with Hawks

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The Hawks’ rebuild got going with big John Collins. Though they’re reportedly eying Luka Doncic with the No. 3 pick, they could easily draft another big – Jaren Jackson Jr., Mohamed Bamba, Marvin Bagley or Wendell Carter.

And then there’s veteran center Dewayne Dedmon.

He no longer fits in Atlanta (never did, really). But he’s not bypassing a chance to earn $6.3 million.

Shams Charania of Yahoo Sports:

There just wasn’t going to be that much money for the 28-year-old Dedmon in a tight market this summer.

Dedmon is a good defender, and he developed his ball skills – as a 3-point shooter and passer – in Atlanta last season. The Hawks could look to trade him. Maybe, in a deal primarily about his expiring contract, he adds extra value to the other team due to his playing ability.

If Atlanta doesn’t move him, Dedmon will be a fine player on a likely tanking team. At least he’s not good enough to subvert the Hawks’ tank, especially with the new lottery format.

Nick Young says ‘everybody needs to do cocaine,’ later insists he was joking

AP Photo/Mary Altaffer
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Nick Young will say and do nearly anything for attention.

Empowered by the Warriors’ championship, he swung for the fences when asked about Canada passing marijuana legalization.

Young, via TMZ:

“I want people to pass cocaine,” the NBA star told TMZ Sports outside 1 OAK on Tuesday night … “Everybody needs to do cocaine!”

Predictably, that caused a bit of an uproar. Then, Young backtracked:

Chill. You know I was just joking

A post shared by Nick Young (@swaggyp1) on

Too late, Nick. People are already asking questions you don’t want asked.

Report: 76ers trade No. 39 pick to Lakers

AP Photo/Chris Szagola
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The 76ers have too many 2018 draft picks – Nos. 10, 26, 38, 39, 56 and 60.

Philadelphia already has 11 players under contract for next season. Plus, the 76ers have the space to add premier players. There just isn’t room for everyone on the roster.

So, Philadelphia unloaded one of those selections.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:

This is good return for the 76ers, who everyone knew had to trade a draft pick. The rebuilding Bulls could easily land a higher second-round pick than No. 39 next year.

Why do the Lakers want an extra second-rounder this year? Second-round picks don’t count against the cap until signed, and they can always slightly sweeten a trade offer. They’re helpful for a team with big plans and little wiggle room.