Sam Hinkie pleased with Sixers' draft positioning

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Sam Hinkie pleased with Sixers' draft positioning

The Sixers will not be on the clock first when the NBA draft rolls around on June 26 at the Barclays Center.

However, they will get two cracks early in the first round after landing the No. 3 and No. 10 picks in Tuesday’s draft lottery (see story).

While fans might have been pushing for the Sixers to secure the No. 1 overall pick -- which went to Cleveland for the third time in four years -- team president and general manager Sam Hinkie came into the night with a realistic outlook.

“I am afraid it makes me boring,” Hinkie said. “I came in knowing what the odds are. You hope for good luck. I am not under any illusions that my hope really helps. So you say what scenarios can you live with? I can get really comfortable one through five. We could find players that can help us in all those spots.”

“The fact that we ended up with the third pick and the 10th pick in a draft like this is reason to be excited.”

Of course, Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Joel Embiid have been tabbed as the consensus top three players in the upcoming NBA draft. With the Cavs at No. 1 and the Milwaukee Bucks picking second, the Sixers are at those teams' mercy.

Just don’t expect to hear about which player Hinkie favors over the others.

“Now we are back to my stone face because this is the time of the year where there is a lot of information to be gained and a lot to be lost the more you say,” Hinkie said. “We are likely to be active all around the draft. That is not unusual for us. But you have to be pretty careful that people don’t know what it is you are going to do.”

One thing Hinkie is willing to share is that the Sixers franchise is an appealing destination for young players.

“Most of the top players in this draft find Philadelphia a really attractive place because they want to be in a place where they have opportunity,” Hinkie said. “They want to play in a big market and they recognize what a platform it is in Philadelphia. They want to get better and they realize that Philadelphia, with our coaching staff and with our roster, you can come and play and get better.”

Hinkie and the Sixers will spend the next month watching prospects work out as they prep for the draft. Given that the Sixers have those two lottery picks and a handful of second-round selections, the front office must be knowledgeable about all of the players available.

After all of the Sixers' wheeling and dealing during last season’s draft, be prepared for anything on June 26.

“I think you have to be open to whatever may come along the transit,” Hinkie said. “But if you ask me today on a night like this in New York, we are excited about the players we might get and being able to add them into our program.”

Adjusting to new home, Ben Simmons plays role model at Sixers Camp

Adjusting to new home, Ben Simmons plays role model at Sixers Camp

WAYNE, Pa. — Three steps. 

That’s all it takes before Ben Simmons is recognized walking through the streets of Philadelphia. 

This year’s No. 1 pick has been in the spotlight long before the Sixers drafted him in June, and now he's experiencing what it's like to be known as an NBA player in his new city. 

“I’ve been enjoying walking around South Street, getting some Ishkabibble's,” Simmons said Tuesday after a special appearance at the Sixers' Camp at Valley Forge Military Academy. 

At 6-foot-10, Simmons towers above most on the court, let alone on the sidewalk. Fans have been eager to welcome him to Philadelphia for a new chapter of the organization after three years of struggle. 

“Positive things,” Simmons said of the comments he receives. “I think a lot of people are excited, so I’ve been looking forward to it.”

Simmons understands the impact a professional athlete can have on young fans, and was excited to be at camp Tuesday.

Growing up in Australia, he never had the opportunity to hear from NBA players when he attended basketball camps. Now that he's in that position, the 20-year-old was glad to provide that memory to the 240 campers. 

“That would mean a lot if I was able to experience that,” Simmons said. 

Simmons demonstrated skill drills, such as passing fundamentals, interacted in a Q&A session and signed autographs for each camper. He also took individual photos for those who traveled internationally, including from Nigeria, Italy and Greece. 

“I’m just like them, but older,” Simmons said. “I’m just trying to be a good role model to them.”

Simmons plans to spend most of the offseason in Philadelphia as he gets settled into the city. He still has to move into his new home, but at least he knows where to get a cheesesteak in the meantime. 

NBA Notes: Dion Waiters signs 1-year deal with Heat

NBA Notes: Dion Waiters signs 1-year deal with Heat

Two people with knowledge of the situation tell The Associated Press that the Miami Heat have agreed to terms on a one-year deal with free agent guard Dion Waiters.

The two sides came to agreement on Monday. Waiters will make $2.9 million. The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not announced the deal.

Waiters averaged 9.8 points for the Oklahoma City Thunder last year, but had several big games in the playoffs. He played particularly well against Dallas and San Antonio in the playoffs before his role was reduced in the seven-game loss to the Golden State Warriors in the Western Conference finals.

Waiters will give the Heat another scorer off the bench (see full story).

Blazers: C.J. McCullom inked to four-year extension
PORTLAND, Ore. -- A person familiar with the deal confirms that guard CJ McCollum has agreed to a four-year, $106 million contract extension with the Portland Trail Blazers.

The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity on Monday because the deal hadn't been formally announced by the team. It was first reported by Yahoo Sports.

McCollum, who was named the NBA's Most Improved Player, averaged 20.8 points, 3.2 rebounds and 4.3 assists for the Blazers during the regular season. He raised his scoring average by more than 14 points over the previous season.

As the 10th overall pick for the Blazers in the 2013 draft, McCollum bided his time on the bench for his first two seasons. He became a starter in the backcourt with Damian Lillard last season after four of the team's starters departed in the offseason (see full story).

Michael Jordan donates $2 million to ease racial tensions
CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Michael Jordan is trying to help ease tension between African-Americans and law enforcement.

The NBA great and Charlotte Hornets owner said Monday he's giving $1 million to the Institute for Community-Police Relations and $1 million to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund. The aim is to help build trust following several shootings around the country.

Jordan says in a statement to The Associated Press on Monday that "as a proud American, a father who lost his own dad in a senseless act of violence, and a black man, I have been deeply troubled by the deaths of African-Americans at the hands of law enforcement and angered by the cowardly and hateful targeting and killing of police officers," (see full story).

Sixers officially sign guard Brandon Paul

Sixers officially sign guard Brandon Paul

The Sixers continued to add to their roster Monday, announcing the signing of guard Brandon Paul. 

Paul participated on the Sixers' summer league squad in Las Vegas, where he averaged 10.7 points, 3.2 rebounds and 0.7 assists in 19.5 minutes. He also played for the Hornets in Utah. 

The 25-year-old went undrafted out Illinois in 2013 and has been playing overseas and in the D-League since then. Last season, he led FIATC Joventut (Spain) in scoring with 13.2 points per game. Paul also has been a member of the Canton Charge (D-League) and Nizhny Novgorod (Russia). 

Next season he could play for the Sixers' Development League affiliate, the Delaware 87ers. 

Paul is one of several offseason additions for the Sixers. The team has signed Ben Simmons, Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless, Gerald Henderson, Sergio Rodriguez, James Webb III and Shawn Long. The Sixers also have reportedly agreed to a deal with Cat Barber.