Philadelphia 76ers

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.”

Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons among Sixers at Eagles' home opener

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Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons among Sixers at Eagles' home opener

Philly teams supporting Philly teams.

Sixers head coach Brett Brown, Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Robert Covington, Richaun Holmes and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot attended the Eagles’ home opener together Sunday.

While the Sixers watched the Eagles' game against the Giants from a suite, Embiid still high-fived with fans during the afternoon.

The Sixers and Eagles have close ties. Justin Anderson has longstanding friendships with Torrey Smith, Rodney McLeod and Chris Long (see story)

Sunday is the final day of the Sixers' offseason. Media day will be held Monday and training camp begins Tuesday at their training complex in Camden, New Jersey. 

Donald Trump starts war with sports, and athletes have united

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Donald Trump starts war with sports, and athletes have united

OAKLAND -- As President Donald Trump lurches closer to certified insanity, he is unwittingly doing the country a great service that, should we survive his dangerously whimsical term, will bring us closer to realizing our potential.

He’s unifying the previously disconnected and energizing the formerly apathetic. He’s even shaming some of those previously beyond shame.

It is because of Trump’s rage, unleashed in a span of less than 24 hours, that the NBA champion Warriors were more united Saturday morning than they were Friday afternoon.

After a speech in Alabama urging NFL owners on Friday to fire any “son of a bitch” who dared to protest peacefully to shine a light on injustices, Trump woke up Saturday and turned his Twitter ire upon Stephen Curry and the Warriors, conceivably the most wholesome representatives of American sports.

“That’s not what leaders do,” Curry said after practice Saturday.

“We know we’re in a fight,” Warriors center David West said. “And we’re going to continue to fight for our right to be human beings.”

But by advocating the job loss of peaceful protesters and then informing the Warriors they are not welcome at the White House -- because Curry said he’s not in favor of going -- we can only hope Trump has flung open a door of activism that never closes.

Trump’s radical combo ignited mighty blasts of blowback from players and coaches and commissioners of the NBA and NFL.

Among the many NBA figures issuing statements in one form or another, with varying degrees of condemnation: LeBron James, Chris Paul, Kobe Bryant, Magic Johnson, the players association and commissioner Adam Silver.

“The amount of support I saw around the league this morning was amazing,” Curry said.

Among the many NFL figures who were moved to comment: Seahawks players Richard Sherman and Michael Bennett, Broncos lineman Max Garcia, 49ers owner Jed York, New York Giants owners John Mara and Steve Tisch, Packers boss Mark Murphy, the players association and commissioner Roger Goodell.

Trump has, in short, started a war with American sports.

His strike began with the comments made Friday night that were directed at Colin Kaepernick and others who have declined to stand for the anthem. Trump’s aggression intensified Saturday when he went after Curry in the morning and Goodell in the afternoon.

How did we get here?

The Warriors on Friday announced their plan to meet as a team Saturday morning to decide whether they would accept from the White House the traditional invitation extended to championship teams. Though it was fairly certain they would not, they left open the slightest possibility. General manager Bob Myers had been in contact with White House.

Curry at the time said he, personally, did not wish to go, and then he carefully and patiently expounded on his reasons.

Trump responded, at 5:45 a.m. Saturday, to tell the world that the Warriors would not be invited and, moreover, that Curry’s resistance is the reason.

And all hell broke loose.

The Warriors came back Saturday afternoon with a statement that made clear there no longer would be a team meeting on the subject, that they were disappointed there was no open dialogue and that they will instead utilize their February visit to “celebrate equality, diversity and inclusion -- the values we embrace as an organization.”

“Not surprised,” Warriors coach Steve Kerr said of Trump’s decision not to invite the Warriors to the White House. “He was going to break up with us before we could break up with him.”

Trump has fired upon every athlete in America. He is waking up this country in ways we’ve never seen or felt and, my goodness, he’s doing so at a level we’ve needed for centuries.

“Trump has become the greatest mirror for America,” West said. “My cousin . . . she brought that to me. Because there are a lot of things have been in the dark, hidden, and he’s just bold enough to put it out on ‘Front Street.’"