Deals, chatter just getting started as 2017 Draft night approaches – (blog)

Are the Philadelphia 76ers finally off the clock?

The deal between Philadelphia and the Boston Celtics not only gives the 76ers the first pick in Thursday’s Draft, it will give the franchise a chance to finally turn the page on a dark passage in its history. Markelle Fultz won’t solve all of the team’s problems right away, if ever. But his talent and personality and potential should put smiles on most fans’ faces in the 215.

3:24Play David Aldridge breaks down why the Sixers are reportedly trading up in the 2017 Draft.

Amazing that some Twitterati took issue with my labeling “The Process” as “achingly slow” on Saturday night, as if four years was just a walk in the park and all those losses on Brett Brown’s ledger were just practice Ls. Philly has taken a big, big hit in fan interest locally and perception of ownership’s willingness to win nationally. “The Process”, however well-meaning, has cost the franchise, dearly.

But in the end, the Sixers had enough assets because of “The Process” to entice Boston to give up the first pick. It was the first big move before Thursday; but almost certainly won’t be the last.

The pre-Draft buzz 5:57Play Markelle Fultz talks after his Saturday workout for the 76ers.

• Philly’s interest in Fultz, the one-and-done Washington star, makes sense. Most around the league believe that even if Ben Simmons is healthy and ready to contribute after missing all of last season, he’s still not a natural point guard and will need some help making plays and initiating offense. A Fultz-Simmons-Joel Embiid trio will be as athletic as any young group in the league, including Minnesota’s Zach LaVine-Andrew Wiggins-Karl-Anthony Towns entry.

• The trade doesn’t change the Lakers’ Draft trajectory; Fultz was likely going No. 1 overall whether Boston

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