Sixers offseason targets: Is Mikal Bridges a possibility or a fantasy?

Brooklyn Nets’ Mikal Bridges (1) gestures after making a 3-point shot against the Philadelphia 76ers during the first half of Game 3 in an NBA basketball first-round playoff series Thursday, April 20, 2023, in New York. (AP Photo/Frank Franklin II)

While eight remaining NBA teams are fighting for their playoff lives, the Philadelphia 76ers are home for the offseason. As every year has seemed to be for the past decade, this could be a pivotal offseason for the Sixers.

Once again, the theme is star hunting as the Sixers look to assemble a big three by adding one more star to their pairing of Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. Looking at the current holes on Philadelphia’s roster, fans have quickly noticed the striking similarities between those holes and what Brooklyn Nets forward Mikal Bridges provides.

Originally drafted by the Sixers in the 2018 NBA Draft, Bridges was traded away mere moments after being drafted by his hometown team, the team his mother at that time worked for,

Does Bridges truly fit what the Sixers need? Is there an actual possibility of landing him and righting the draft day wrong?

Does Mikal Bridges fit the Sixers’ needs?

76ers Sixers Mikal Bridges
Brooklyn Nets’ Mikal Bridges dribbles the ball in the first half against the Philadelphia 76ers during Game 1 in the first round of the NBA basketball playoffs, Saturday, April 15, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Derik Hamilton)

Going to cut to the chase here. Mikal Bridges is an obvious fit in Philadelphia as he is for every NBA franchise. A high-level 3&D wing with size, Bridges is the archetype of player that every single tea hopes to land. So much so that teams are willing to pay hand over fist for his services, a fact that Brooklyn is well aware of.

Bridges is the clear cut description of the type of player the Sixers are looking for this summer, as described by non-other than Daryl Morey himself.

“I would say the biggest need is not at their position.” Morey said, “Someone at the wing who can play and deliver at a high level in the playoffs.”

That describes Mikal Bridges to a tee.

After being acquired by the Suns in the infamous 2018 Draft Day trade with Philadelphia, Bridges saw positive growth in each season, increasing his scoring average every year. While part of that is an increase in role, there’s no denying the vast strides he’s made, partucarly offensively.

Without a second though, Mikal Bridges fits what the Sixers need, but is a reunion even possible at this point?

Is a trade for Mikal Bridges possible, or is it merely a fantasy?

Brooklyn Nets forward Mikal Bridges reacts before an NBA basketball game against the Philadelphia 76ers, Sunday, April 9, 2023 in New York. (AP Photo/Jessie Alcheh)

As sensitive of a position as the Sixers are in, the Brooklyn Nets are in a far more precarious state. After the mass exodus which saw James Harden, Kyrie Irving, and Kevin Durant all leave the team that already suffers a little brother complex, the rise of the Knicks and the Rockets securing the third pick from Brooklyn in the Harden trade have stoked the fire under their seats to the max.

The feel from Brooklyn appears to be that the team must make a a move to show production ASAP. Trading away Mikal Bridges does not convey that message. While they are set up well for the furture with six first round picks from other teams between 2025 and 2029, a total of ten firsts in that time, their own picks are effectively out of their hands over the next for drafts.

The Nets are in serious danger of remaing in a limbo-like state of mediocrity that many teams have found themselves in over the years. Which is why they will demand the sky, or ride out Bridges’ contract until in hopes of adding star talent around him.

If they are to move off of a player who is in high demand, the front office must be able to show a return worth while.

The Sixers can offer that, as they are able to effectively able to offer a total of five first round picks, including the 16th pick in the upcoming draft after the selection is made, one more than Brooklyn’s reported offer the Nets previously turned down for Bridges. They can also offer backup center Paul Reed, surprise rookie Ricky Council, and seven second round picks, including the 41st overall in the upcoming draft.

Sure, the Sixers throw that bag at Brooklyn for Bridges, if you believe he’s worth that. Brooklyn may even be tempted trade their best player in that case, but doing so to a division rival makes that reality far less likely.

I’d like to leave you with yet another question, forgetting for a moment that the Sixers acquiring Bridges is more fantasy than reality. If an offer of four firsts wasn’t enough to move Bridges before, though it’s wise to take such a report with a grain of salt, would he be worth sacrificing the majority of the team’s future flexibility?