Sixers, Pistons Swap Zhaire Smith, Tony Bradley

NOVEMBER 23: The Pistons and Sixers have officially sent out press releases announcing the deal, confirming they’ve swapped Bradley and Smith.

There have been reports that Detroit may end up waiving Smith, but for now he remains on the roster.


NOVEMBER 22: The Sixers and Pistons are completing a minor trade, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, who reports (via Twitter) that third-year wing Zhaire Smith will head to Detroit in the deal, while fourth-year center Tony Bradley goes to Philadelphia.

Smith was the 16th overall pick in the 2018 draft but has barely seen the court during his first two professional seasons, having battled health issues and playing just 13 total NBA games. He did appear in 28 games for the Delaware Blue Coats in the G League last season, averaging 13.5 PPG and 3.1 RPG with a .530/.376/.714 shooting line.

As Omari Sankofa of The Detroit Free Press notes (via Twitter), the Pistons had been seeking more shooting on the wing and – since they’re in rebuilding mode –  can afford to be patient in developing him. Moving Bradley also helps the team slightly clear its logjam at center, where the team has added Mason Plumlee, Jahlil Okafor, and first-round pick Isaiah Stewart in the last few days.

In Philadelphia, meanwhile, new 76ers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey has apparently developed a newfound fondness for centers, having already signed Dwight Howard on Saturday to back up Joel Embiid. If Bradley remains with the 76ers, he’ll provide additional depth in the middle.

The 28th overall pick in the 2017 draft, Bradley spent his first three seasons in Utah before the Jazz agreed to trade him to Detroit earlier in the week. He earned regular minutes for the first time in 2019/20, averaging 4.9 PPG and 4.6 RPG in 58 games (11.4 MPG).

The financial impact of the trade will be minimal. Smith has a $3.2MM salary for 2020/21 and a $4.92MM team option for 2021/22, which Detroit must exercise or turn down by the end of next month. Bradley will earn $3.54MM this season before becoming eligible for restricted free agency next year.

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22 thoughts on “Sixers, Pistons Swap Zhaire Smith, Tony Bradley

  1. Tatsumaki

    Interesting seems like sixers are getting more proven player while pistons are backing in Zaire’s upside.

    • hiflew

      Yeah, that’s what usually happens when a rebuilding team trades with a contending team.

  2. Theone23

    Surprisingly good move by the Pistons, don’t really see the point of it for the Sixers. Bradley doesn’t really intrigue me too much, while Zhaire is a former lottery pick with potential upside. TB probably just adds insurance incase one of Dwight or Joel have to miss extended time. Another high pick that Philly has failed to develop and had to move on from.

    • PhillyPhan69

      Philly has had some good luck developing late rd picks; Landry Shamet and Shake Milton and Thybulle spring to mind over the past few seasons. This is a good trade for both sides, with the Pistons and Zhaire having higher upside. The sixers really needed a cost efficient 3rd big to get garbage minutes and back up Howard on the nights Jo has load management. Zhaire really had very little opportunity due to his injury and allergy conflict in year one, and didn’t get much chance last year nor produce in his limited minutes. This year he would have been even farther back on the depth chart. This could pan out good for Detroit, but it is also a good lateral move on the sixers part as well.

  3. jaysfordays14

    doubt this trade means anything in the long run… bradley seems like another in long line of long athletic big guys without the requisite skill to play in today’s game while zhaire’s ceiling is gerald green at best and he probably falls short of that

  4. takeitback

    Seems like a move in order to make another move………like say Embiid for Harden?

    • hiflew

      So you think a Tony Bradley acquisition is all Philly needed to ensure an Embiid trade? Bradley is a second string center at best. He may one day develop into a starting center that someone vastly overpays, but he is not replacing Embiid now.

      • Tatsumaki

        They can start Howard, Bradley backs him up. Howard proved he doesn’t need points to be effective. Then acquiring harden to pair with simmons gives sixers 2 drivers of the ball with floor spacers and shooting, while having Howard’s rim protecting.

        • hiflew

          But in that case, Howard is replacing Embiid, not Bradley. And even then it is a stretch. This is not 2008, Dwight Howard is not the guy you want to replace Embiid. I’m not saying it couldn’t happen, but I sure wouldn’t do it.

    • In my opinion there’s nothing really to read into. The post above from PhillyPhan69 (nice) really summed it up. Morey is keeping Ben & Joel together at least for this year. They need a third C capable of playing some minutes. Paul Reed will spend the year in the G league. So nights when Joel is rested for load management, Bradley will back up Howard.

      I think the love from Zhaire comes more from what the sixers gave up to get him, than the actual player or what he produced on the court. Many sixers fans would rather have Mikael Bridges or that unprotected draft pick they shipped to LAC for Harris. Hoping Zhaire planned out was the only way, I feel fans could live with the move, retroactively. Zhaire, through no fault of his own, has had a rough two years. However, I’ve seen nothing at Texas Tech or last year in the G-league and with the sixers that screamed they must keep this guy.

      He would’ve been very, very low on the depth chart, even lower than last year. He didn’t fill a necessary need, since Maxey will take the bulk of the minutes Zhaire would have competed for. Also, the sixers had two weeks to make a decision on his option for next year that was valued at $5M. Not for a team searching for flexibility to pay $5M for an oft-injured prospect who won’t play right now.

      Instead they filled a need for a young, third string center that fills two roles. 1. Gives the team options when Joel suits games out 2. Allows them to stash Reed in the G-League this year on a two-way deal so he can develop. Bradley also comes cheaper than Zhaire. Then the sixers can determine if they want to bring him back after this year or let him walk, opening up about $5M in cap space.

      Just a solid move for the sixers. It does suck that Zhaire’s development timeline doesn’t align with the Sixers one. However, it’s nice to see they aren’t being sentimental when it comes to making deals.

    • Blackjackscout

      No way! Morey has already said that he is keeping Simmons and Embiid. But the trade that would make sense would be Simmons for Howard. You have to keep the big man as the base to build around. Plus, Simmons and his reluctance to shoot the three is the real pain in the ass.

  5. Simmons>Russ

    Don’t see the point for my Sixers, tradings way young unknown upside for a third choice centre who earns a little bit more.

    Surely must be another trade in the works

    • PhillyPhan69

      Zhaire really was not gonna get minutes from us to even see if he could develop. TB does not excite me but he will get the garbage minutes at 5 and give us needed depth for Joel’s load management nights backing up Howard. Seems like a good swap for both teams but Zhaire surely has a higher upside even if it is looking slim right now.

      • Simmons>Russ

        Yeah I understand Smith wasn’t going to get minutes but thought he could’ve fetched more in a trade. TB will behind Embiid and behind Howard which doesn’t leave anything really.

        I thought they could’ve atleast tried for a Ntilikina, Malin Monk or whatever with similar upside or gone for a more proven vet approach

  6. Happy for Zhaire. He needed to get as far away from Philly as he could ASAP. Hope things go better in Detroit.

  7. KnickerbockerAl

    Smith needs time. He’s a talent. Better to go where you can grow. Embiid best big man in NBA who is only 26 yrs old. Isn’t going anywhere. Get a clue

  8. x%sure

    Nice analyses on this page, but these are probably pretty good players. Bradley showed good movement in summer leagues but with shots that would have a tougher time scoring against players taller than him. With teams starting smaller players and Bradley getting experience, the shots could start working.
    Utah also gave up on Rodney Hood, Jae Crowder and others recently.

    Zhaire has wasted a couple years but is still just 21, and did not have muscle injuries or breaks or tears, so still a fresh athlete. Smith may be the winning party in all this, but Philly go a deluxe 3rd stringer & Horford replacement, and should now focus on Maxey when it’s youth’s turn.

    Maxey main problem is shot selection… improving that will raise his percentages… he can be too spirited… but he doesn’t have to be ball-dominate to be spirited; he just is, like Donovan Mitchell. I think.

  9. DetroitDave84

    Pistons are collecting many former 1 lottery picks some were even top 5 picks just a few years ago. As we all know, the system is flawed and drafting teenagers to come in and play NBA style basketball right way is just dumb. It’s the worst system of all the major sports. Why not sign 19-22 year olds former high draft picks just when they are starting to mature? Spencer Dinwiddie needed three years to develop. He was a Pistons 2nd round pick but SVG didn’t have the patience to wait on him so when he developed, he became a high quality NBA player but it took 3 YEARS. Troy Weaver is basically rolling the dice during the rebuild with many young guys and who knows, if he hits on a few after 2 or 3 years, he’s in great shape. He easily has a 3 year window to develop and the fans will appreciate that he is building it right. Young kids with relatively small contracts are working very hard to get paid the big bucks so there will not be any complacency to worry about. These practices will be all out and very competitive. They will have enough veterans to set the tone & a few young guys will emerge as leaders. IN TROY I TRUST!

    • siggers84

      I respect the Pistons for trying stuff this year and I think they may surprise a few people

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