Sixers draft target: SF Aaron Gordon

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Sixers draft target: SF Aaron Gordon

In this installment of our series before June 26's NBA draft, we look at an versatile forward that is expected to be a top-10 pick:

Aaron Gordon
Position: Small Forward
Height/Weight: 6-9, 225
School: Arizona

Another in a handful of projected lottery picks to leave college after one season, Gordon takes a backseat to no one in this draft class in terms of athleticism. He is an elite leaper and shot blocker and runs extremely well for someone his size. Gordon averaged 12.4 points and 8.0 rebounds on an Arizona team that spent most of the season ranked No. 1 in the country.

Much was expected from Gordon when he arrived at Arizona following his MVP performance in the McDonald's All-American Game. He flashed glimpses of tremendous potential throughout his freshman season, but it also became apparent that he has a long way to go before developing into a complete player.

In Arizona's season-ending overtime loss to Wisconsin in the Elite 8, the best and worst of Gordon was on full display -- he grabbed 18 rebounds, but scored just eight points on 3-of-11 shooting from the field.

Strengths
Gordon's athleticism and defensive versatility go hand-in-hand. He is athletic enough to guard small forwards and power forwards in the NBA, and his shot-blocking ability will make him a very effective help defender. Gordon will also excel in transition on the next level. He'll be able to out-run most forwards on the fast break and will have no trouble finishing around the rim. There won't be a shortage of plays involving Gordon on the morning highlight shows.

Gordon is also an underrated ballhandler, especially in the open court. He has little trouble leading the fast break and manages to make the right decisions most of the time. Above all, he's a guy front-office types fall in love with because of his measurables and athleticism. General managers and coaches will think they can fix his flaws and play to his strengths. Time will tell if he'll ever live up to that "tremendous upside" label he has been given. He doesn't turn 19 until September, so time is on his side.

Weaknesses
Very raw and unpolished on the offensive end. He lacks a go-to move in the low post and is limited on the perimeter. Despite getting most of his opportunities close to the basket, he shot a shade under 50 percent from the field. Gordon's jump shot is so ineffective that defenders will let him shoot until he proves he can make shots consistently. Then there is his free throw shooting -- Gordon shot a horrendous 42 percent from the foul line last season. He'll need to improve that aspect of his game considerably or risk being a liability at the end of close games.

How he'd fit with the Sixers
Depends on which end of the floor you're talking about. Defensively, he would be a tremendous asset. Opponents would have a tough time getting clean looks at the basket against a frontline featuring Gordon and Nerlens Noel. Gordon would also provide Brett Brown with great defensive versatility, as he's able to defend several positions on the floor.

Offensively, he would fit in well with Michael Carter-Williams and company pushing the tempo. The Sixers aren't afraid to run, and Gordon can certainly do that. But when push comes to shove, this Sixers team needs players that can be counted on to score in half-court sets. That is not Gordon at this point, not even close. It will take some time before he becomes a consistent offensive performer.

NBA comparison
Blake Griffin is a popular name here, but I'm not buying that outside of the high-flying dunks. Shawn Marion is probably a better comparison, given Gordon's potential as a lockdown defender at the small forward spot. But I'll go Kenneth Faried -- unlimited energy, great rebounder and defender, but doesn't bring a whole lot to the table in a structured offense.

Draft projection
Early- to mid-lottery (fifth to ninth overall pick).

Sixers draft pick Jonah Bolden signs 3-year deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv

Sixers draft pick Jonah Bolden signs 3-year deal with Maccabi Tel Aviv

Sixers draft pick Jonah Bolden is officially headed back overseas.

Bolden, the 36th overall selection in last month’s draft, signed a three-year contract to play in Israel with Maccabi Tel Aviv, the team announced. The deal does contain opt-out clauses for the NBA.

“Jonah is a very talented young player with great potential, an athletic forward who knows how to shoot the ball and a great guy who likes to work hard,” Maccabi Tel Aviv head coach Neven Spahija said, per the EuroLeague's official website. “We believe he will develop into a great player.”

Bolden had hoped to join the Sixers for next season after spending summer league with the squad. The 6-10, 227-pound forward averaged 8.7 points on 36.8 percent shooting from the field and 31.4 percent from three-point range between the Utah and Las Vegas Summer Leagues. He also put up 6.2 rebounds, 1.8 steals and 1.3 blocks in 23.4 minutes a game.

Bolden entered the draft after putting up 12.1 points (59.7 percent from the field, 38.1 percent from three-point range), 6.7 rebounds and 1.7 steals a game for KK FMP Beograd of Serbia last season. Those numbers earned him the Adriatic League’s Top Prospect award, previously won by Dario Saric and Nikola Jokic.

Bolden won’t be the only player on Maccabi Tel Aviv’s roster with Sixers/Philly ties. Former 2013 Sixers second-round pick Pierre Jackson and Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania, native Jake Cohen are both members of the team.

NBA Notes: Kyrie Irving asks Cavaliers to trade him

NBA Notes: Kyrie Irving asks Cavaliers to trade him

CLEVELAND -- Kyrie Irving wants the stage for himself.

Cleveland's All-Star point guard has asked the Cavaliers to trade him, two people familiar with the situation told the Associated Press on Friday. Irving made the request last week to owner Dan Gilbert, said the people who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team is not commenting on the star's demands.

Irving's appeal was first reported by ESPN.

A four-time All-Star, Irving has spent six seasons with the Cavs, who selected him with the No. 1 overall pick in 2011. The 25-year-old has overcome injury issues and blossomed into one of the league's elite point guards and biggest stars.

And now that he's finally established himself playing alongside LeBron James, Irving wants out (see full story).

Wizards: Wall reportedly gets 4-year, $170 million extension
WASHINGTON -- A person familiar with the deal says that All-Star point guard John Wall has agreed to a $170 million, four-year contract extension with the Washington Wizards that will start with the 2019 season.

The person confirmed the terms of the agreement to The Associated Press on Friday night on condition of anonymity because the deal had not been announced.

Wall is a four-time Eastern Conference All-Star who was the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 NBA draft out of Kentucky. He becomes the third player to agree this summer to a designated player "supermax" extension, joining Houston's James Harden and Golden State's Stephen Curry.

Wall's deal was first reported by NBA.com (see full story).

Cavaliers: Altman promoted to full-tme general manager
CLEVELAND -- A person familiar with the decision says the Cleveland Cavaliers are promoting assistant general manager Koby Altman to be their full-time GM.

Altman has been serving as the club's interim GM for the past few weeks. His deal is being finalized and will be announced in the next few days, said the person who spoke Friday to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because of the sensitive nature of the talks.

Altman has been with the Cavs since 2012 and had worked as David Griffin's assistant since after the 2016 title season. Griffin left the club last month after he couldn't work out a contract extension with owner Dan Gilbert.

The 34-year-old Altman will be one of the league's youngest executives.

He'll have a lot on his plate as All-Star guard Kyrie Irving has asked to be traded and LeBron James can opt out of his contract next summer.

Spurs: Gasol agrees to 3-year deal
A person with knowledge of the situation tells The Associated Press that Pau Gasol has agreed to terms on a three-year contract with the San Antonio Spurs.

The 7-foot Spaniard and the Spurs came to agreement on Friday on a deal that is partially guaranteed for the third season. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the team has not made an official announcement.

Gasol declined the $16 million option on his contract in June the intent of signing a longer-term deal with the Spurs. The Spurs re-signed Patty Mills and added free agents Rudy Gay and Brandon Paul.

Gasol averaged 12.4 points, 7.8 rebounds and 1.1 blocks in 25.4 minutes per game for the Spurs last season.

ESPN first reported the agreement.

Grizzlies: Ex-Oregon forward Brooks signs
MEMPHIS, Tenn. -- The Memphis Grizzlies have signed former Oregon forward Dillon Brooks, a second-round pick in last month's NBA draft.

Terms of the deal weren't disclosed.

Brooks was selected by the Houston Rockets with the 45th overall pick. The Grizzlies acquired him in exchange for a future second-round pick.

Brooks, 21, averaged 16.1 points, 3.2 rebounds and 2.7 assists as a junior at Oregon last season. He was named the Pac-12 player of the year and helped Oregon earn its first Final Four berth since 1939.