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Ben Simmons voted best defensive player by an anonymous NBA coach’s poll & latest free agency rumors

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2021 NBA Playoffs - Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

NBA Free Agency is set to kick off at 6:00 PM Eastern time and things should get fast and furious in a frenzy of financial maneuverings. With the NBA Draft in our rearview, the Sixers will push on to the next leg of their off-season’s journey, free agency. So where do things stand today? There are nearly infinite rumors so let’s look at a handful of some important ones related to your favorite team.

2021 NBA Playoffs - Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

One of Sixers Team President Daryl Morey’s first moves when he arrived in Philadelphia back in late 2020, was to sign future Hall-of-Fame center Dwight Howard as a reserve big for a veteran’s minimum. The latest on Howard is that he is rumored to be eyeing a return to the Lakers. If that were to happen, it would be Howard’s third go-round in LaLa Land. He first landed there as part of a four-team trade back in 2012, and he signed on with them again before the team won the bubble trophy.

According to Brad Turner of the L.A Times, Howard may be heading West yet again:

“Guess who might be back for a third time? Yup, Dwight Howard is ready to return and play center. Jeff Green and Goran Dragic also are names to look out for.”

The Sixers could have found a place for Howard, if both sides were amenable to him returning. But, as Kyle Neubeck of The PhillyVoice wrote back in June, if the Sixers did want to bring Howard back, they might have to have some sort of ground rules in place to ensure the coaching staff didn’t rely as heavily on him as they did last season.

Per Neubeck:

“If the Sixers (read: Doc Rivers) are expecting Dwight Howard to come back and play the same role he did in 2020-21, you almost have to move on at the executive level in order to force the head coach’s hand.”

Kyle Lowry latest

Toronto Raptors v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

One player the Sixers have had their eye on both last season and perhaps this off-season is Philly native, Kyle Lowry. But it appears he may prefer to take his talents to South Beach, per Adrian Wojnarowski, of ESPN. Woj says Lowry is most likely to wind up on the Heat. That would trigger some important dominoes for numerous teams. The Pelicans were reportedly interested in him, as were the Sixers, Lakers, Knicks and several others.

The Sixers were close to acquiring Lowry back in March. The rumor was that the Raptors wanted two young players, a first-round pick, a second-round pick, and whatever they might have received by rerouting Danny Green in order to make the salary work. Morey deemed the ask too steep and stayed pat.

If the Sixers wanted to upgrade their ball-handling and shooting at the one, they may need to turn elsewhere.

Danny Green latest

2021 NBA Playoffs - Philadelphia 76ers v Atlanta Hawks Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Our Tom West already recapped the Danny Green sitch today. One report, from former Liberty Baller, Jake Fischer writing for Bleacher Report, suggested Green had his eye on Miami as well, which would potentially reunite him with former Raptors championship teammate, Lowry.

Per Fischer “veteran guard Danny Green is known to have interest in playing for the Heat.”

Ben Simmons beats out Rudy Gobert for best defensive player in anonymous coach’s poll

2021 NBA Playoffs - Atlanta Hawks v Philadelphia 76ers Photo by David Dow/NBAE via Getty Images

According to The Athletic's John Krawczynski and Josh Robbins, Ben Simmons was voted the 2021 Defensive Player of the Year from an anonymous NBA Coach’s poll.

No news on the Ben Simmons trade front, but it couldn’t hurt his value overall, if indeed Daryl Morey was working the phones, to see that NBA coach’s value what Ben does best so highly. Simmons edged out Utah’s Rudy Gobert with more first-place votes.

But given how highly the Sixers appear to value Simmons, it does not seem that a trade is imminent.

The Sixers don’t have much cap space to work with in free agency. That might explain why things have been so quiet in terms of potential acquisitions. But we’ll know more in a few hours.

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