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Around the NBA: Sixers 6th in ESPN power rankings, Celtics extend Richardson

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NBA: Playoffs-Atlanta Hawks at Philadelphia 76ers Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports

Sixers come in at no. 6 in ESPN’s offseason power rankings

ESPN has released their latest offseason power rankings, and the Sixers received quite a bit of love considering how poorly their season ended. The rankings place the Sixers sixth in the NBA.

More from ESPN.com:

There is only one thing anyone is talking about when it comes to the 76ers: What’s going to happen with Ben Simmons? Philly president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has shown throughout his career that he isn’t going to trade a player for less than what he thinks he is worth, and he isn’t going to make a trade for the sake of making one. So as long as a certain All-NBA point guard in Portland remains off the market, the expectation here is that Simmons will remain in Philadelphia — which could make for plenty of awkwardness when training camp opens next month. — Bontemps

Ahead of the Sixers, in order, were: Brooklyn Nets, Milwaukee Bucks, Los Angeles Lakers, Phoenix Suns and Utah Jazz.

Seems pretty high For the Sixers. But then I wonder who should be above them and it’s not totally clear. You could make a case for the Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers or Atlanta Hawks being higher than Philly. But none of those are slam dunk arguments.

Boston Celtics extend Josh Richardson

The Boston Celtics and Josh Richardson have agreed to an extension, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Richardson could have become a free agent this summer, but he had a player option for 2021-22 which of course he opted into. Leaving it there would have scheduled Richardson to enter free agency next summer. However, this extension will keep him on a contract through the 2022-23 season.

For Richardson, he guarantees himself about $12.3 million next season when he otherwise had no guarantee. It’s possible he could have played well enough this season that he would have earned a multi-year offer with a higher annual salary than what he’s now slated to make. But he has had his ups and downs over the last two seasons, and having that security in place has to be comfortable.

On the Celtics end, this seems pretty low risk. Richardson is still young, turning 28 years old in September. He could improve as a player. But even if he doesn’t get much better, he’s a solid two-way starter as is. It’s not a big ask of Richardson to return $12.3 million worth of play. And if he ends up being a poor fit, that contract shouldn’t be to difficult to get off of.

Key Dates in NBA Schedule

The 2021-22 NBA schedule has been released over the past week. While I’m sure many Sixers fans have already scoured the team’s schedule for big games, some may have missed key dates for the league in general. So below, they’re listed out courtesy of NBA.com.

2021

  • Sept. 28: Training camp begins
  • Oct. 19: Regular season begins

2022

  • Feb. 18-20: NBA All-Star 2022 (Cleveland, OH)
  • April 10: Regular season concludes
  • April 12-15: Play-In Tournament
  • April 16: Playoffs begin
  • June 2: NBA Finals begin
  • June 19: Game 7 of NBA Finals (if necessary)
  • June 23: NBA Draft

It’s great to see the NBA Draft returning to the month of June where it belongs.