76ers

Sixers open to all options — including trade — with 3rd pick

Sixers open to all options — including trade — with 3rd pick

CAMDEN, N.J. — In addition to wondering who the Sixers will draft with the third pick, it's fair to wonder if the Sixers will use the selection at all. 

“It’s good to be at three,” president of basketball operations Bryan Colangelo said Wednesday. “We’re excited about the pick. We think we’re going to add a great player or we’re going to have some leverage in discussions with other teams about certain situations that we might entertain.”

Draft picks are another form of trade bait. Each year there are teams around the league looking to move up the board, and the third overall pick is enticing.

Just as teams amp up their discussions at the trade deadline, the draft is another opportunity to have conversations about moving players and picks. Exploring who could be interested in a team’s pieces is part of the business.

“I’m not saying I will (trade the pick),” Colangelo said. “What we say all the time is, we leave all our options open and we’ll look at all the scenarios that can play out with respect to the value of that draft asset.”

The Sixers already are stacked with young pieces, including three top-three picks in Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Jahlil Okafor. This is the time to see if they could acquire a more established player with the third pick or a combination of the third, additional picks (the Sixers have four second-rounders) or even someone currently on the roster.

The player that jumps out as a candidate for a trade package is Jahlil Okafor. The Sixers attempted to move him at this past trade deadline. They remain open to the possibility of trading him.  

“I want to find a situation that’s great for us and great for Jahlil, and if that means him staying here then that’s great,” Colangelo said. “He’s a great kid and a great player and we’re going to see how he fits with this group.”

Fit is a factor when the Sixers look at No. 3. They plan to implement a unique system with the 6-foot-10 Simmons at point guard when he makes his NBA debut next season. He has recently been playing 3-on-3 and Colangelo said he is “doing very well.”

How Simmons’ role will impact the Sixers’ decision remains to be seen as they weigh their options at different positions.

“Being in the third spot here in this draft, we can talk probably about a scenario where we address both: the best talent and the best fit for the organization,” Colangelo said. “We’re going to look at everything as we make a decision, but both things will be strongly considered …

“I think any of the guards on the board could complement Ben Simmons, regardless of where he plays.”

The Sixers will hold workouts leading up to the draft and prepare to make the third selection, whether they end up keeping it or not. 

“We feel we’re going to get a very good pick at No. 3," Colangelo said, "and we’re confident in our ability to do that."

Al Horford makes a donation for coronavirus relief in Dominican Republic, regions where he's played in United States

Al Horford makes a donation for coronavirus relief in Dominican Republic, regions where he's played in United States

Al Horford has donated $500,000 to support coronavirus relief in the Dominican Republic, as well as in each region of the United States where he's played for a team, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium.

Horford’s father Tito was the first Dominican-born NBA player, and Al was born in the country. The family later moved to Michigan, where Horford attended Grand Ledge High School. He went to the University of Florida and has played for three NBA cities — Atlanta, Boston and Philadelphia. 

Several other members of the Sixers organization have also made charitable donations during the coronavirus pandemic. Joel Embiid has pledged to donate $500,000 to COV-19 medical relief efforts. Ben Simmons launched “The Philly Pledge,” an initiative which encourages donations to Philabundance and the PHL COVID-19 Fund that’s received support from a wide range of Philadelphia athletes, among them teammates Matisse Thybulle, Tobias Harris, Norvel Pelle and Marial Shayok. 

Sixers managing partners Josh Harris and David Blitzer have made several donations related to coronavirus relief, including to Philabundance and to CHOP and Cooper Hospital.

Limited partner Michael Rubin aims to have his company Fanatics produce a million masks and gowns for hospital and emergency healthcare workers. 

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Sixers Home School: The night Allen Iverson crossed over Michael Jordan

Sixers Home School: The night Allen Iverson crossed over Michael Jordan

There's a lot of home schooling going on right now, so why not use some of this time to learn more about the history of your favorite teams? In this edition of Sixers Home School, we look back at the night Allen Iverson crossed over Michael Jordan.

In a vacuum, rookie Allen Iverson crossing over the legendary Michael Jordan on March 12, 1997, at what was then known as the CoreStates Center was impressive enough.

Putting it into context makes you understand just how big of a deal it was at the time.

The 21-year-old Iverson was having a strong rookie campaign after the Sixers drafted him No. 1 overall. He was still a month away from setting an NBA rookie record with five straight games of 40-plus points. He wasn’t sporting what would become his trademark cornrows — though he did rock them when he won MVP of the Schick Rookie Game. 

This night was when he began to really put a bow on what would turn into a Rookie of the Year season.

As for Jordan and the Bulls, they were ho humming their way to a 69-win season and their fifth title in seven years. Jordan was 33, and though his game had evolved, he was as dominant as ever. Scottie Pippen and Dennis Rodman provided all the help he would need.

But on this night, it wasn’t about the Bulls, who celebrated receiving their championship ring ceremony by trouncing the Sixers and shutting down Iverson earlier in the season.

This was about the kid from Hampton, Virginia. The six-foot guard from Georgetown that grew up idolizing His Airness, but also told a coach back in high school that he was good enough to take him. 

“I remember the first time I played against him,” Iverson said in his Hall of Fame speech. “I walked out on the court and I looked at him, and for the first time in my life a human being didn’t look real to me.”

Though the first time the two actually talked was not necessarily cordial.

“The first time I ever talked to him was that year playing in the Rookie Game,” Iverson said in an interview with Complex. “I’ll never forget it because he said, ‘What’s up, you little b----?’ I’ll never forget it.”

Whether the moment provided extra motivation or what, Iverson was at times the best player on the court — which, given who was on the court, is a hell of a statement.

Iverson would finish with a game-high 37 points and foul out in a four-point loss. No, the Sixers didn’t win that night, but the fact that Iverson nearly willed a team full of guys like Scott Williams, Mark Davis and Rex Chapman to a victory over that juggernaut was remarkable.

But over the course of time, nobody remembers — or really cares — who won that game. It was the moment A.I. crossed over M.J. It wasn’t quite a torch-passing moment as Jordan would go on to win another MVP and championship, but it was a clear indication that Philadelphia had drafted a star.

That highlight dominated every sportscast the following day and had Sixers fans' imaginations running wild.

The legend of Iverson only continued to grow from there as he became one Philadelphia’s most celebrated athletes and joined his idol in the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 2016.

Years later, he spoke to Jordan about the moment he got him with his legendary crossover.

“I went to a Charlotte game and I was telling him how much he meant to me and how I rocked with him,” Iverson went on to say in the interview with Complex. “He was like, ‘Man, you don’t rock with me like that because you wouldn’t have crossed me like that.’”

For as much as Iverson had idolized Jordan, his desire to beat him and be the best outweighed that.

“I always knew that once I got to the league, I was going to try my move on the best,” Iverson said, “so he was just a victim that night.”

That night, a star was born and a legacy was just beginning.

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