And-Ones: Sixers, Bender, Ballmer

Sixers managing owner Josh Harris believes the franchise has made remarkable strides in the 17 months since Sam Hinkie was hired as GM, Max Rappaport of NBA.com reports. “I think people see the early returns,” said Harris. “Certainly, we have a lot of cap room, we have two first-round picks next year, we have a slew of seconds, we have a number of players that we have the rights to in Europe, we have possibly two big men between Joel Embiid and Nerlens Noel that will be franchise players for us over a long, long time, and we have the Rookie of the Year.”

Here’s more from around the league:

  • 16-year-old Croatian forward Dragan Bender is turning heads over in the Israeli league, writes David Pick of Eurobasket. Pro scouts watching Bender play say his best-case NBA scenario would be to equal Andrei Kirilenko‘s numbers, while the worst-case would place him in Jan Vesely territory. Bender is currently projected by DraftExpress to be selected thirteenth in the 2016 NBA draft.
  • Steve Ballmer acknowledged a passing interest in buying the Bucks earlier this year and wonders if the NBA would have allowed him and Chris Hansen to purchase the Kings and move them to Seattle if they had put up more money in a one-on-one with USA Today’s Sam Amick. The new Clippers owner also said that a long-term extension for Doc Rivers “seemed absolutely right to me” based on Rivers’ track record and recommendations from others. Ballmer had more to say to Amick for another piece that we passed along earlier.
  • Joel Brigham of Basketball Insiders shares his predictions on which players will have breakout seasons during the 2014/15 campaign. Topping the list are Jonas Valanciunas, Giannis Antetokounmpo, and Steven Adams.

Chuck Myron contributed to this post.

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