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Zhaire Smith Rumors

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Zhaire Smith
Zhaire Smith
Position: -
Born: 06/04/99
Height: 6-3 / 1.91
Weight:205 lbs. / 93 kg.
Salary: $1,068,200
They entered the day with Bridges and Smith next to each other on their draft board. Bridges, a lithe 6-foot-6 wing with a 7-1 wingspan and a sweet jumper, had just won two NCAA championships at Villanova; he was the favorite of the coaching staff. Smith, an athletic 6-3 guard from Texas Tech, was preferred by the team’s scouts. After their pre-draft discussions, the organization settled on Bridges as the better option of the two on its draft board.
The Suns, however, hoped to still make a deal for him. They had made calls earlier to teams in the second half of the lottery to gauge their interest in trading down. The Cavaliers at eight said no, so did the Knicks at nine. The 76ers did too but their denial was softer, which gave Ryan McDonough, the Suns general manager at the time, the thought that there might still be a door open.
Not only had Bridges ended up high on the Suns’ draft board, but also McDonough recognized that he would be among the last of the players available who the front office had assessed with a high-to-mid lottery grade. The gap between Bridges and the players who would be available to Phoenix at No. 16 made the general manager push to try to swing a trade for him. “A number of things about him stood out,” McDonough said. “He’s really intelligent. He’s got off-the-chart character, work ethic. Everybody at Villanova raves about him. He’s a winner as a human being and as a player. He had a tremendous amount of success at Villanova. We saw how much he improved playing at Villanova for Jay Wright… We were looking for —I don’t want to pigeonhole Mikal — with a 3-and-D wing but somebody who could do that plus other things.”
Finally, the Suns acceded and the deal was reached with less than a minute remaining before the pick was due. McDonough asked a 76ers exec who they wanted to pick and found it was Smith. The circumstances around the trade had been peculiar. It’s rare for a trade to happen on draft night after the original pick had already been made. “It doesn’t,” one league source said. “Usually it’s pre-arranged; 95 percent of the time it’s pre-arranged.”