Sixers take LSU's Ben Simmons with No. 1 overall pick (June 24, 2016)
Ohm Youngmisuk [ Source: ESPN ]

The 76ers select Ben Simmons from LSU with the No. 1 pick in the NBA draft.

NEW YORK -- As a youngster growing up in Australia, Ben Simmons not only literally looked up to Allen Iverson on an almost daily basis but he even tried to look like him.

Now, Simmons will be following in Iverson's footsteps after the Philadelphia 76ers made LSU's versatile forward the No. 1 overall pick in the NBA draft. Simmons is the franchise's first top pick in the draft since Iverson was taken No. 1 in the 1996 draft.

"A lot of people don't know that I actually had a poster of A.I. when I was young in my room," Simmons said. "It was a big diamond-cut poster of him. I just remember him being one of those point guards, a smaller guy with cornrows and the headbands. I remember I used to have the cornrows when I was younger. He was one of those players that fought every day."

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Jimmy Butler appears to be staying put in Chicago after a trade offer from the Wolves ultimately fizzled out. Layne Murdoch/NBAE/Getty Images

The Minnesota Timberwolves aggressively pursued a trade for All-Star guard Jimmy Butler on Thursday night after drafting Kris Dunn, but the talks ultimately fizzled after some initial optimism that a deal could be struck, according to league sources.

Sources told that the Timberwolves, after Dunn unexpectedly lasted until the fifth pick, drafted the Providence guard, then pushed hard to see if they could hammer out a trade with the Bulls, who are also known to be big fans of Dunn.

But the Bulls, sources say, ultimately decided not to go ahead with a deal in which they'd be forced to surrender Butler, just one day after completing a blockbuster trade with New York that sent Derrick Rose to the Knicks.

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Carmelo Anthony, left, had expressed concern over the direction of the Knicks after the season, and team president Phil Jackson intimated Thursday that the trade for Derrick Rose, right, gives Anthony confidence about the club's future. Mike Stobe/Getty Images

GREENBURGH, N.Y. -- Knicks president Phil Jackson believes the addition of Derrick Rose will be "reinvigorating" for Carmelo Anthony.

Anthony expressed concern over the direction of the franchise after the season, wondering whether the Knicks planned to compete in the near future or undergo a long-term rebuild.

Jackson intimated Thursday that the Rose trade gives Anthony confidence about the club's future.

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LeBron James dazzles hometown crowd in Akron title party (June 24, 2016)
Dave McMenamin [ Source: ESPN ]

LeBron James steps on-stage with the Larry O'Brien trophy Thursday during his hometown celebration in Akron, Ohio. AP Photo/Phil Long

AKRON, Ohio -- The Cleveland Cavaliers' championship party kept right on rolling Thursday with a celebration in honor of NBA Finals MVP LeBron James in his hometown.

When James greeted fans at Hopkins International Airport on Monday afternoon, the day after the Cavs bested the Golden State Warriors to win the first pro sports title in the city of Cleveland in 52 years, he reminded the adoring masses, "I just always want you guys to remember that I'm just a kid from Akron, Ohio."

A few days later, that "kid" -- now fully grown at 31 years old -- got to see just how much the residents of Akron appreciate the man he's become.

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The Thunder's traded Serge Ibaka to the Magic for Victor Oladipo, Ersan Ilyasova and the rights to Domantas Sabonis.

The Orlando Magic acquired forward Serge Ibaka in a multiplayer trade Thursday night with the Oklahoma City Thunder.

The Thunder received guard Victor Oladipo, forward Ersan Ilyasova and the rights to power forward Domantas Sabonis, who was taken with the 11th pick in the NBA draft on Thursday night.

The Vertical first reported the deal. The teams later announced it as official.

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Much has been made about Thon Maker's path to the draft and the 7-footer's seemingly unlimited potential. Gregory Payan/AP Photo

NEW YORK -- While there was no suspense when Ben Simmons was selected first overall by the Philadelphia 76ers, another Australian taken in the top 10 turned out to be the surprise pick of the NBA draft.

The Milwaukee Bucks sent a buzz throughout Barclays Center when they chose Thon Maker, the 19-year-old South Sudan native, with the No. 10 overall pick on Thursday night.

"When I walked past most of the guys in the green room, some of the guys looked at me sideways," Maker said when asked of the reaction by some of his peers who were still waiting to be drafted when Maker's name was called. "Some of the guys I already knew from high school, so we were like friends. So they were happy and some guys gave me dap.

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Skal Labissiere might have the "best upside" in the draft, Kings general manager Vlade Divac said after taking him with the No. 28 pick Thursday. David Blair/Icon Sportswire

The rebuilding Sacramento Kings agreed to a pair of deals on draft night Thursday that gave them three first-round picks.

The Kings sent Washington's Marquese Chriss, whom they selected with the No. 8 pick, to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for the Nos. 13 and 28 picks this year, a second-round pick in 2020 and the draft rights to Bogdan Bogdanovic, the league announced.

The Suns, picking for the Kings, took Georgios Papagiannis from Greece at No. 13 and Kentucky forward Skal Labissiere at No. 28.

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Lakers take Brandon Ingram with second pick of draft (June 24, 2016)
Baxter Holmes [ Source: ESPN ]

With the second pick in the NBA draft, the Lakers take Brandon Ingram.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. -- The Los Angeles Lakers have long targeted Kevin Durant, believing their allure could pry the tall, long-armed scoring dynamo from the Oklahoma City Thunder during free agency this summer, helping fill the superstar void left after Kobe Bryant's recent retirement.

But after a franchise-worst three straight seasons spent missing the playoffs, after posting a franchise record for losses in three straight years, and after three straight offseasons in which all their top free-agent targets have turned down the Lakers, the team's hopes of obtaining Durant have seemed like little more than a pipe dream.

As of Thursday, though, the Lakers have now obtained a player who's compared to Durant, at least in terms of build, size and outside shooting. Los Angeles selected Duke freshman Brandon Ingram with the No. 2 overall pick in the 2016 NBA draft.

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 Coach Atoy Co said his Mapua Cardinals need a lot more work before becoming championship contenders. Josh Albelda, ABS-CBN Sports

MANILA, Philippines – After failed attempts at making the Finals in Season 91, Mapua Institute of Technology and Jose Rizal University (JRU) are expected to give their all in the NCAA Season 92 men's basketball tournament to earn a shot an elusive championship berth.

The Cardinals have an almost intact line-up, anchored on reigning MVP Allwell Oraeme, CJ Isit, and the come-backing duo of Andrew Estrella and Joseph Eriobu, making them favorites to at least make it to the Final Four for the second straight year.

The Bombers, meanwhile, have retained their core of Tey Teodoro, Paolo Pontejos, Jordan dela Paz, Gio Lasquety, and the frontcourt pair of Abdoul Poutouochi and Abdul Razal Abdul Wahab and remain as another preseason favorite.

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Baldwin names Gilas ‘Fighting 12’ Sunday (June 24, 2016)
Musong R. Castillo [ Source: Inquirer ]

GABE Norwood slips away from Ranidel de Ocampo and Mo Tautuaa during a recent Gilas practice session. TRISTAN TAMAYO /INQUIRER.NET

GILAS Pilipinas coach Tab Baldwin will name his “Fighting 12” on Sunday, just nine days before the Manila Olympic Qualifying Tournament gets off the ground at Mall of Asia Arena.

Baldwin will make the final two cuts on the 14-man pool he took to Europe for a back-breaking camp and a series of exhibition games. The same two players will be named reserves for the July 5 to 10 event.

The Philippines needs to win the Manila OQT to make it to the main draw of the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Olympics in August.

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