By Andrew Porter

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — All of the sudden, a big part of the Sixers’ future success hinges on the Lakers.

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On Thursday, the Philadelphia Sixers acquired the Los Angeles Lakers’ top-five protected 2015 first-round pick from the Phoenix Suns, in exchange for point-guard Michael Carter-Williams.

Suns general manager Ryan McDonough talked with Bright Side about trading the pick, which becomes top-three protected in 2016, if it does not vest this year.

“With a pick like that our analysis was that we probably weren’t going to receive the pick this year,” McDonough told brightsideofthesun.com on Friday. “That pushes the pick into next year, the protection drops to three, but I think analyzing the Lakers situation there’s pretty high variance there, as to what the pick could be.

“If you ask me how the Lakers are going to be a year from now I have no idea. Obviously, they’ve struggled some recently, but they’re going to have a lot of salary cap space this summer and they’re in a market that’s traditionally been one of the top draws for free agents.”

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Michael Carter-Williams, the reigning NBA Rookie Of The Year, was the Sixers’ No. 11 overall pick in 2013. McDonough says he knew the Sixers were looking for high-value for MCW.

“We know the risks,” McDonough said. “The pick next year could be the fourth pick in the draft, it could be the 14th pick in the draft, it could be the 30th pick in the draft. We felt it was the right time to cash it in.

“We knew we needed to give something good to Philadelphia in a three-team trade in order for them to part with Michael Carter-Williams. That’s what they wanted so that’s how the deal got done.”

The future of Lakers star Kobe Bryant will go a long way in determining their 2015-16 success, and ultimately, the destination of that top-three protected 2016 first-round pick the Sixers now own, assuming the pick does not convey in 2015 (the Lakers currently have the NBA’s fourth worst record).

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Bryant, who is expected to return from shoulder surgery in September, is owed $25 million next season. It would be Bryant’s 20th NBA season. If the Lakers can convince Bryant to restructure his deal, they could free up cap-space for this summer’s free-agent class.