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Report: Sixers sign Kenneth Lofton Jr. to a two-way contract

Suddenly the Sixers have three incredibly intriguing two-way players.

NBA: Boston Celtics at Memphis Grizzlies Petre Thomas-USA TODAY Sports

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported on Saturday that the Sixers are signing free agent Kenneth Lofton Jr. to a two-way contract. In a related move, the Sixers will waive Javonte Smart.

Lofton Jr. has spent the past two years with the Memphis Grizzlies, the first of which on a two-way contract before being converted into a standard, multi-year contract. In his rookie year, he managed to win the NBA G League Rookie of the Year award, averaging 20.2 points, 10.5 rebounds, 3.9 assists and 1.2 steals in 28.6 minutes per game with the Memphis Hustle.

There’s plenty of evidence available to suggest Lofton Jr. can become a legitimate rotation player given time and development. Last season, he was called upon in a game against the Oklahoma City Thunder, scoring an impressive 42 points at the NBA level. If you dig deep enough on YouTube, you can even find film of Lofton giving Victor Wembanyama trouble in the 2021 FIBA under-19 world cup.

For those unfamiliar, Lofton Jr. uses his big frame well and can carve out space and punish defenders with his size. He has a good soft touch around the rim with either hand. He’s also an aggressive rebounder. At 6-7 and a listed weight of 275, he has a low center of gravity.

Lofton Jr. has the resume to back up being worthwhile on a two-way contract — he has legitimate talent. The Delaware Blue Coats have lacked a “true” center for most of the year, and the Sixers could always use additional depth behind Joel Embiid and Paul Reed.

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