The Sixers are hoping to land Ohio State guard D’Angelo Russell in June’s draft, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. “That’s the word around the league,” according to an unidentified NBA executive. “You know the Sixers. They won’t come out and say it. But he’s the guy they want.” The source adds that Philly might have to land the first or second pick in the May 19th lottery to be assured of getting Russell. They finished the season with the league’s third-worst record. Kentucky’s Karl-Anthony Towns and Duke’s Jahlil Okafor have been widely considered the top two choices, but the Sixers have a wealth of young big men and are in need of backcourt help.
There’s more from the Atlantic Division:
- If the Sixers want to keep coach Brett Brown beyond his current contract, they should start extension talks this summer, writes Tom Moore of Calkins Media. Brown is currently in the middle of a four-year deal that stretches through the 2016/17 season. His record through two years is 37-127, but that’s with a collection of young players and castoffs as Philadelphia has emphasized collecting assets ahead of winning, Moore notes.
- Jarrett Jack is turning out to be a valuable pickup for the Nets, contends Mike Mazzeo of ESPNNewYork.com. Jack was acquired from Cleveland last summer in a three-team trade when the Cavaliers were trying to clear enough cap room to sign LeBron James. Mazzeo said Jack has been the Nets’ best point guard in their playoff series with Atlanta. He sparked an 18-0 surge that helped Brooklyn pull out today’s Game 3. Jack is signed through the 2016/17 season, making $6.3MM per year.
- Knicks president Phil Jackson said this week that the team needs “a player that wants to go to the basket,” reports Ian Begley of ESPNNewYork.com. If New York doesn’t fill that need through the draft, it could use approximately $25MM to chase free agent guards like Goran Dragic, Rajon Rondo and Reggie Jackson this summer.