FILE - In this June 8, 2018, file photo, Cleveland Cavaliers' LeBron James watches during the first half of Game 4 of basketball's NBA Finals against the Golden State Warriors, in Cleveland. James has until June 29 to exercise his $35.6 million contract option for next season or decline it and become an unrestricted free agent, officially making him the planet’s best and most coveted player. The 33-year-old is not expected to reveal his intentions until after the draft. (AP Photo/Tony Dejak, File)

The Latest: Philly fans continue to make a play for LeBron

June 21, 2018 - 5:32 pm

NEW YORK (AP) — The Latest on Thursday night's NBA draft (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

Even on NBA draft night, some people in Philadelphia is already thinking about free agency and the pursuit of LeBron James.

A plane is flying above Barclays Center carrying three banners. One has James' No. 23 with a crown and the Liberty Bell, another urges him to "Strive for GOATNESS" and the last reads #PHILLYWANTSLEBRON.

Draft night had been the highlight of the 76ers' year in their recent tanking seasons and large number of their fans made the short trip to Brooklyn to see who they would select with their high picks. But now the 76ers have moved from process to playoffs and are in position to add a major free agent to their core of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Power Home Remodeling, a Philadelphia-based company, has become a James recruiter, originally setting up three billboards in Cleveland urging him to come to the city. The company also flew Thursday's billboards in Brooklyn.

___

11:44 a.m.

It could be a big night for big men in the NBA draft.

Arizona's Deandre Ayton, Duke's Marvin Bagley III and Wendell Carter Jr., Michigan State's Jaren Jackson Jr. and Texas center Mo Bamba are all expected to be high selections Thursday night in Brooklyn. All are 6-foot-10 or taller.

The Phoenix Suns have the No. 1 pick for the first time in franchise history and are expected to take the 7-foot-1 Ayton. They are followed by Sacramento, Atlanta, Memphis and Dallas.

Ayton, a native of the Bahamas, and Bagley were high school teammates for one season at Hillcrest Prep in Arizona.

There has been less emphasis on traditional centers in the NBA in recent years, but most of the top big-men prospects are versatile enough to play outside as well, making this the first time since 2007 that six players 6-10 or taller could go in the top 10.

___

More AP NBA: https://apnews.com/tag/NBAbasketball

AP Editorial Categories: 
Comments ()