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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — It was a moment Villanova star Mikal Bridges will never forget, as he was selected 10th overall in the NBA draft by his hometown Philadelphia 76ers, the organization where his mom works.
“They took a chance on me and I’m just happy man; it’s a blessing,” said Bridges after the the selection.
“This is an experience I’ll never forget and I’m so excited he’s coming home to be part of our Sixers family; it’s amazing,” said Bridges’ mom, Tyneeha Rivers.
But the dream scenario lasted less than an hour. While still talking to media about how happy he was to become a Sixer, Bridges learned he was now a Phoenix Sun.
The Sixers accepted a trade for the 16th overall pick Zhaire Smith from Texas Tech and an unprotected first found draft pick in 2021.
“To ultimately end up with Zhaire and Landry is a good night,” said Sixers head coach and interim GM Brett Brown.
When asked about the decision to trade Bridges, something that has disappointed many fans, including Bridges’ mother, Brown said, “That was one of the most difficult things personally that I have ever gone through, and you always have to do what is best for the organization.
“And so to have that unprotected first round draft pick is gold. To be able to use that to instigate a trade is gold.”
Brown believes the Sixers need a superstar to win it all and the pick could sweeten a trade deal.
Meanwhile, in Smith, they get an extremely athletic guard who Brown says was his second favorite by only a slim margin behind Bridges.
And Smith doesn’t think it will take long for Philly fans to warm up to his style of play.
“I’ll be yelling and screaming and getting the fans hyped and just really energized. I bring the energy” he said.
Smith is also already getting acclimated to the tastes of Philly.
“I’ve been around it twice when I came to workouts but I’m going to try that cheesecake, I mean that cheesesteak.”