With about 24 hours to go until NBA Draft time, there's no shortage of rumors to sink our teeth into. The first comes from DraftExpress frontman Jonathan Givony:
Growing consensus among teams that Philadelphia will pick D'Angelo Russell at #3. Strong workout cemented his status. Porzingis didn't visit— Jonathan Givony (@DraftExpress) June 24, 2015
This would jive with CBS Sports' Ken Berger's report from yesterday, which also indicated that Philly's after the Ohio State combo guard. Berger echoed some of those sentiments again today, with more interesting buzz from around the league:
While the Sixers have targeted D'Angelo Russell and are willing to trade up to avoid losing him to the Lakers, league sources say GM Sam Hinkie also has not closed the door on teams looking to trade up to No. 3. The price of doing such business? An unprotected future first-round pick, said a person who has been in contract with the Philadelphia front office.
With the third and fourth picks, respectively, the Sixers and Knicks are the two teams in the lottery whose intentions are proving to be most difficult for rival teams to handicap. It's rare to have teams picking back-to-back in the top five that could pick a player at any position and not duplicate a position that's solidified in their starting lineup. (This is true of the Knicks, since Carmelo Anthony can play either small or power forward.)
I'll reiterate what I said before: let's keep in mind that posturing season is upon us. Frankly, there's more information out there than we could possibly digest. But these are two incredibly reliable sources - Givony even had Embiid going to Philly in DX's final pre-draft mock last year - and it'd be irresponsible to ignore two adjacent messages from a couple of the most trusted outlets in basketball.
Now, as was the case with yesterday's rumor, these dispatches could be taken any number of ways. The Sixers may very well be huge fans of Russell. But perhaps they're floating charm for him to signal an interested team below them that it won't be able to nab him without forking over a hefty sum. Then again, maybe it's not even specific to Russell; maybe Philly is just trying to drum up interest in the pick in general and set a steep price.
That Berger included the caveat in his report that rival teams are having trouble gauging the Sixers' direction says a ton about the front office. They love to keep intel close to the vest, but having reporters question your interests in reports about your interest is a whole new level of secrecy.
Absorb this information as you please. We're less than 24 hours away. Endless rumors and no corroboration. Hold onto your butts.