The Philadelphia 76ers aren't sure who they plan to take with the first overall pick in the 2016 NBA Draft, but general manager Bryan Colangelo isn't afraid about the rumors that possible top pick Ben Simmons will attempt to force his way to the Los Angeles Lakers.
"There's been a lot of that floating around. I know that some people like to poison the well," acknowledged Colangelo during an interview with Howard Beck of Bleacher Report. However, he doesn't seem to think people should put a lot of stock in them.
"We've got good relationships with the agent, we've got good relationships with the family, because Brett [Brown] has known Ben Simmons' father for years," Colangelo told Beck. "I really have not been concerned with what I hear and read. I also don't like to take speculation and rumor and give it any kind of truth or validate it in any way. Obviously, we're going to have a chance to sit down and talk to these individuals."
Colangelo's lack of worry makes sense, given that Simmons will have to play for whatever team selects him should he desire to play in the NBA. That team very well might be the Sixers, who are said to prefer to take Simmons first overall, but their decision isn't made yet.
Several sources told The Undefeated that Philadelphia expects to also work out ex-California forward Jaylen Brown, ex-Providence point guard Kris Dunn and ex-Kentucky combo guard Jamal Murray. The Sixers are also considering offering workout invitations to ex-Oklahoma guard Buddy Hield and Israel Maccabi Tel Aviv forward Dragan Bender, too.
The Sixers have yet to schedule any workouts with any of the aforementioned NBA prospects.
It makes sense to do their due diligence for a few reasons. For one, public unwillingness to commit to which prospect they want to select at least gives the illusion that any team (like the Lakers) wanting to make sure they get the player they're targeting would have to trade up to the top overall slot. It also gives the Sixers the benefit of being prepared for such a scenario, as well as intel and the start of a relationship with those prospects and their agents should they want to recruit them in free agency at some point in the future.
"The bottom line is, we're going to pick the player that we think is the best fit for our team and the best piece for us to build around, and with," said Colangelo, and as surprising as it would be if that player wasn't Ben Simmons or Brandon Ingram, the Lakers and other teams drafting after Philadelphia at least have to be ready for such a scenario now.
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