The Philadelphia 76ers selected Mikal Bridges 10th overall in Thursday’s NBA Draft with every intention of keeping him.

The former Villanova Wildcat and Philly native was listed as the Sixers selection at No. 10 in just about every mock draft leading up to the draft, add in his mother, is the team’s VP of human resources, and it just seemed all to good to be true.

Then the Suns came calling.

Phoenix called, offering a 2021 unprotected first-round pick, plus Zhaire Smith, the 16th overall pick, who the Sixers had listed as their 1B player, to acquire Bridges.

The deal was simply good for Brett Brown to pass on.

"That pick might be the key to all of this," Brown said after the first-round  of the draft was completed. "That pick might be the thing that links a possible trade, and we have our 1B in Zhaire and they’re very different, there are very different stages and so you ask a very open question and all of those emotions and all of those facts happened in a 20-25 minutes window, very different emotions, very different set of circumstances that resulted in the trade of Mikal."

The Sixers appeared to be fine with landing Bridges and moving on from there.

"Had this opportunity not come up, we would have been thrilled to move on as our draft reflected and the selection reflected and so we did talk about it to actively pursue it," Brown said. "That was not on the cards, it happened organically, it wasn’t something that we sought. They chased us and they chased us hard and obviously, the rewards and assets that they gave up were something that was hard for us to backpedal from."

ESPN Front Office insider Bobby Marks joined the Sports Bash on 97.3 ESPN FM and said he was surprsied at how much the Sixers were able to get in the deal.

"I thought that 2021 unprotected first from Miami to move up five spots for Phoenix was pretty rich," Marks said. "I did, I think there’s a lot of value in that pick. That pick is the crown jewel as far as…you look at where teams are right now, there’s not that many first round picks that are owed as far as that have been traded and Philadelphia has got a got a good one."

"If Philadelphia never got a call then they would have been happy with keeping Mikal, but they did get a call and I think it’s hard to pass when that pick is involved."

For the Sixers, its a thinking big move, to land that 2021 Heat pick, which is t’s unprotected, Philadelphia now can set it sights on something bigger.
"That could be the thing that flips it with us having more assets to enhance a realistic trade for a star we are star hunting or we are star developing that's how you win a championship," Brown explained.

As ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported the 2021 draft, could include the best college freshman and high school seniors, with the league looking to change its current one-and-done rule.

"There’s a 2021 pick and we all understand that that could be the year that high school people are allowed into the NBA," said Brown.

Marks added that the Sixers ultimately made out in the deal, by adding the unprotected first-round pick, while ultimately netted them a very good prospect in Smith.

“I like what Philadelphia did to move back to 16 to get Zhaire Smith, an 18 or 19 year old wing who I think can come in and play right now. I think he’s still a bit of a developmental project there. But we don’t know down the road where that pick will go if they keep it or if they can use it in a deal so I like what the Sixers did."

Marks said landing that pick now allows the Sixers to make a call to San Antonio about Kawhi Leonard, and will allow them to be big players this summer in free agency for names like LeBron James or Paul George.

"Now we gotta see what happens in San Antonio with Kawhi and how that works out and down the road, maybe it’s not this summer…but what you can use that for. Brett, they’ve made it known that they’re gonna be aggressive this summer with cap space as far as to go out and try to land one of these impact players."

"I think they will proceed into free agency probably as Brett as the pitch man certainly with the support of ownership. When I talked about Philly last night on the show and we went through LeBron and basically how to clear some room and I laid it out for them. Here’s your selling point: you’ve got your three main key guys in Saric and Embiid and Simmons and you’ve got your coach and then you’ve got all these assets to either keep or trade to get better. I think Brett will be the pitch guy when we get into July 1, but I like what that whole group did."

Don’t sleep on Shamet

The Sixers selected Landry Shamet with the 26th overall pick in the 2018 NBA draft.

A 6-foot-5 guard who averaged 14.9 points, 3.2 boards, 5.2 assists, 0.7 steals and 2.6 treys at Wichita State.

"I think my big thing is to come in and fill whatever role is needed," Shamet said as a guest of the Sports Bash on 97.3 ESPN.

"I think being able to shoot the ball and stretch the floor, being able to be with a guy like Ben Simmons who’s gonna be playmaking and initiating and being really good in space, making plays for himself and others…I think that’ll help me being a point guard, but also knowing how to play off the ball and being a perimeter threat and shooting the three."

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