The Sixers were hoping to take D’Angelo Russell with the third overall pick in June when the Lakers snagged him at No. 2, as TNT’s David Aldridge writes in his Morning Tip column for NBA.com. Grantland’s Zach Lowe heard the same, but not from people within the Sixers organization, who insisted to Lowe that they weren’t targeting the Ohio State guard (Twitter link). Philadelphia, which had the 21st-best offseason according to Aldridge, wound up drafting center Jahlil Okafor.
In other news around the Atlantic Division:
- Sixers center Joel Embiid has not yet undergone a second surgery on his right foot, sources told John Gonzalez of CSNPhilly.com. The procedure is still scheduled to take place and Embiid is expected to miss the upcoming season, Gonzalez continues. The Sixers said on July 11th that he would have a bone graft surgery within seven to 10 days. Embiid and his advisors wanted more time to review the matter and select a doctor, Gonzalez adds.
- The Nets went back over the luxury tax threshold with the signing of Donald Sloan on Monday, former NBA executive Bobby Marks tweets. The club now has 12 guaranteed contracts and five partial or non-guaranteed contracts for the upcoming season, including Sloan’s deal, Marks adds. Marks notes in a separate tweet that tax numbers are not finalized until the end of the regular season. He also speculates that Sloan will be battling rookie Ryan Boatright for the third point guard spot.
- Jordan Mickey thought the Celtics might take him with one of its two first-round picks after working out for them twice, Adam Himmelsbach of the Boston Globe reports. Mickey also felt that way shortly before the draft when he spoke to Hoops Rumors’ Zach Links. Mickey wound up being an early second-rounder for Boston at No. 33. An impressive summer league stint convinced the Celtics to sign Mickey to a four-year, $5MM deal, including two guaranteed years. “He’s a great shot blocker when you look at his numbers for a smaller guy in height,” Celtics coach Brad Stevens told Himmelsbach. “But then you look at his length and his reach and he’s really, really long and gets off the floor extremely quickly.”