Brett Brown has had a very active summer as Sixers interim General Manager. He made some bold moves on draft night, shook up the roster a bit and has added some fresh new faces to the squad. Let’s take a look at how he’s done so far.
Drafting and then Trading Mikal Bridges
The Sixers had Mikal Bridges in their grasps. The hometown hero fell to them with the 10th pick and the Sixers drafted him. He celebrated with his mother, who works for the 76ers, and the rest of his family because he would get to stay home. Everything was perfect. That is, until they decided to trade him to the Suns six picks later.
The Philadelphia 76ers traded Mikal Bridges to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for guard Zhaire Smith and a 2021 unprotected 1st round pick from the Miami Heat. It was a surprise for everyone, even Mikal Bridges who was in a press conference talking about how excited he was to be staying home when the trade went down.
At first glance, it seems like an awful trade. Brown shipped out a player who could make an impact right away for a 1st round pick 3 years from now and a player who is raw and still developing his skills. However, if you take a closer look you might be inclined to choose the Sixers as the winners.
Zhaire Smith, who just turned 19 last month, has much more upside than Bridges, who will be turning 22 next month. The 2021 Miami Heat 1st round pick is considered to be one of the best assets in the league. 2021 could be the year that the NBA abolishes the “one-and-done” rule, meaning high-school recruits and college freshman would join the same draft class. That could potentially be one of the deepest draft classes in NBA history.
The Heat are currently in a strange place, owing a lot of money to a lot of mid level talent over the next few years. As teams in the east grow stronger, the Heat will stay stagnant. They could very well be a rebuilding team by the time 2021 comes around.
That’s quite a haul for the 10th pick in the draft. Yes, it sucks that Bridges won’t get to stay in Philly with his family and play for the team that his mother works for but at the end of the day, the NBA is a business, and the Sixers came out winners.
The Remaining Draft Night Moves
The Sixers also had the 26th, 38th, 39th, 56th and 60th picks in the draft. With 26th pick, the team drafted guard Landry Shamet. While Shamet was a decent choice, there were better players available at that point that could’ve fit the team, such as Robert Williams or De’Anthony Melton.
The Sixers traded the 38th pick, Khyri Thomas, to the Detroit Pistons, drafted and traded Isaac Bonga to the Lakers with the 39th pick, and traded the 56th and 60th picks to the Mavericks in exchange for the 54th pick, which the Sixers used to select Shake Milton. Ultimately, the team got a few future second round picks and cash as a result of the second round trades.
The Wilson Chandler Trade
After the Sixers weren’t able to put a package together for Kawhi Leonard, they made a trade with the Denver Nuggets. Philly sent cash considerations to the Nuggets in exchange for Wilson Chandler, a 2021 second round pick and the right to swap second round picks in 2022.
Philly got a versatile defender who they desperately needed. The best part about the trade is the fact that Chandler’s $12.8 million dollar contract comes off the books next season, which allows the 76ers to remain financially flexible next summer. Brett Brown recognized the team needed more perimeter defense and he made a move to help improve that.
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Bringing Back the Veterans
One of the best things that Brett Brown has done as GM so far is bringing back J.J. Redick and Amir Johnson. The two veterans were a pivotal part of the team’s success last season. Redick posted a career high 17.1 points per game last season and Johnson was a serviceable back up to Embiid.
Both guys not only produced on the court, but they provided a sense of leadership for the young guys in the locker room. Johnson resigned on a veteran minimum deal and Redick returned on a deal worth $12-13 million. Brett Brown deserves a lot of credit for bringing both players back at a discounted price.
The Mike Muscala Trade
In a three team trade with the Atlanta Hawks and Oklahoma City Thunder, the 76ers shipped out Justin Anderson to the Hawks and Timothe Luwawu Cabarrot to OKC. In exchange, the Sixers received Mike Muscala.
The Sixers likely traded for Muscala after Nemanja Bjelica backed out of a deal with the team. Muscala can stretch the floor as a big man and provide more spacing for Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Just don’t expect much defense from him. Justin Anderson and TLC never quite developed the way the Sixers hoped that they would. Getting Muscala’s shooting ability in exchange for the two young wings isn’t a bad deal at all.
The Richaun Holmes Trade
The Sixers sent Richaun Holmes to the Phoenix Suns in exchange for cash ($1 million). Holmes provided a spark off the bench for the team whenever they were lacking energy. He became a fan favorite due to his energetic personality, ferocious dunks and highlight blocks. The deal was made in order for the team to bring in Jonah Bolden, but it’s still a bit surprising that they traded away Holmes for basically nothing.
Brett Brown has took this summer to restructure the bench. There are more switchable players on the wing like Wilson Chandler and Zhaire Smith as well as floor spacing in the form of players like Landry Shamet and Mike Muscala. While acquiring new players, the Sixers also restocked their pile of picks. Brett Brown has made a really positive impact on this team so far as GM. Whether or not the moves he’s made will take the Sixers to the next level is yet to be seen, but there is hope.
Mandatory Credit: Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports