Last night was interesting to say the least. Within forty minutes, the Sixers went from drafting local kid Mikal Bridges:
— NBA (@NBA) June 22, 2018
To trading him:
Sources: Philadelphia is trading Mikal Bridges to Phoenix for Zhaire Smith.
— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 22, 2018
Without anyone letting him know:
Mikal Bridges does not know yet that he's been traded. Still doing media in Sixers hat
— Yaron Weitzman (@YaronWeitzman) June 22, 2018
Mikal Bridges has yet to learn of his trade to Phoenix and is answering questions about staying home in Philly pic.twitter.com/MIoOlAaUUH
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) June 22, 2018
And the initial reactions weren’t favorable:
Sixers just did the worst Jedi Mind Trick to Mikal Bridges and his family I've ever seen. BRUTAL.
— Ross Tucker (@RossTuckerNFL) June 22, 2018
But then, we got to the real crux of the trade:
Excellent trade for the Sixers. Zhaire Smith is a better prospect than Mikal Bridges, and that 2021 Miami pick is a great trade chip. What a deal. https://t.co/WAZnynGycB
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) June 22, 2018
Heading into what might be their most important off-season ever, the Sixers found themselves with a rather bare cupboard of future draft picks. By virtue of the Mikal for Zhaire trade, not only did they save around $1.7 million against the cap, they snagged a pick that will reportedly be the first draft to allow high school players to be NBA Draft eligible in FIFTEEN years. That draft class could be incredibly deep – though obviously it’s a long way away – and there’s no guarantee the Sixers have any intention of using the pick. In Brett Brown’s post-first-round press conference, he mentioned:
Brown says acquired first round pick could be sealer in a potential trade.
— Jon Johnson (@jonjohnsonwip) June 22, 2018
Not only did Brown allude to a trade, he all but put LeBron James, Kawhi Leonard, and the entire league on notice: The Sixers are star hunting.
Brett Brown’s audio, trade ramifications, and Spurs’ GM R.C. Buford after the jump:
“We are ‘Star-Hunting’… that’s how you win a championship.”
Brett Brown gives a very real and transparent answer on the emotion and thought process that went into the Mikal Bridges / Zhaire Smith, ‘21 MIA 1st trade.
Sixers had Mikal and Zhaire 1a and 1b on their board. pic.twitter.com/QtjGGAQrkA
— Did the Sixers win? (@DidTheSixersWin) June 22, 2018
Will the 2021 pick be the sealer in a trade for Kawhi Leonard? We’ll find out in the next few weeks. It certainly makes them a bit more competitive in a trade market that features their conference rival the Boston Celtics, who could have as many as four first round draft picks in 2019. Listen to San Antonio’s GM R.C. Buford and tell me he sounds confident that the team can reconcile with their superstar:
Here’s Spurs GM R.C. Buford on Kawhi Leonard: pic.twitter.com/XXG6rzdxQZ
— Michael C. Wright (@mikecwright) June 22, 2018
Kyle and I broke down every storyline on this morning’s Crossing Broadcast ([iTunes] [Google Play] [Stitcher] [RSS]) including the way that shipping out NBA-ready Mikal Bridges could be a mistake if the Sixers strike out on Kawhi/Lebron/PG13. Check it out and let us know in the comments: Do you think the Sixers would’ve been better off keeping Mikal Bridges?