LAS VEGAS — Zhaire Smith will face the team that immediately shipped him to the 76ers after drafting him.
And Mikal Bridges will face the team that shipped him to Phoenix after drafting him.
The Sixers will play the Suns in the first round of the NBA Summer League playoffs on Thursday, three weeks after the much-publicized draft-night trade.
On June 21, the Sixers selected Bridges, the Villanova and Great Valley High School grad, with the No. 10 pick. Thirty-eight minutes later, they sent him to the Suns, who picked 16th, for Smith and the Miami Heat's 2021 unprotected first-round pick. The Sixers were very much interested in Smith, just not at the No. 10 spot.
Smith, 19, isn't using the trade as motivation.
"I just know that's business and they did what they had to do," he said. "I'm not really tripping on it."
Smith is making the transition from power forward to shooting guard this summer. He has shown athleticism and stellar defense in the tournament. However, as expected, the former Texas Tech standout has been inconsistent on offense in his new role.
He averaged 8.3 points on 37 percent shooting in the Sixers' three preliminary games. Smith also averaged 2.7 assists and 1.7 steals.
Bridges, 21, has averaged 6.3 points on 54 percent shooting to go with 3.7 rebounds and 1.3 steals.
The Suns are headlined by first overall pick Deandre Ayton. The 7-foot-1, 260-pound center averaged 16 points and 11 rebounds in Phoenix's first three games. The Suns (3-0) have seven players from their NBA roster. Former Temple standout Rahlir Hollis-Jefferson is also on their summer-league squad.
But Sixers post players Jonah Bolden (215 pounds) and Cameron Oliver (225) have the toughest assignment in trying to contain Ayton.
Philly will look for swingman Furkan Korkmaz to regain his shooting touch. The second-year player had a game-high 40 points and hit 8-of-12 three-pointers in Friday's loss to the Boston Celtics. He was held to four points and one point in the following two games. He shot 1-for-18 in those two games, missing all 12 of his three-point attempts.
The winner of Thursday's game will face the winner of the Spurs-Bucks first-rounder on Saturday. The loser of Thursday's contest will face Spurs-Bucks loser in Friday's consolation game.
It's no secret that the talent level between the Eastern and Western Conferences is unbalanced. It became more tilted in the West's favor when LeBron James signed with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Because of the imbalance, the NBA Board of Governors on Tuesday continued a discussion about changing the playoff format. Under one proposal, the playoffs would include the top 16 teams regardless of conference.
Right now, the top eight teams in each conference compete in separate brackets and the conference champions meet in the NBA Finals.
"I've said before that the most significant obstacle to seeding 1 through 16, as appealing as that would be to me and a lot of fans, is the dramatic increase in travel that would follow," NBA commissioner Adam Silver said after the board meeting.
The league estimates that seeding 1 through 16 in the playoffs would increase overall playoff travel by 40 to 50 percent. Silver said that would affect teams disproportionately. Obviously, teams on the coasts tend to travel more than squads in the Midwest.
"We've spent a lot of time in the last few years trying to reduce the number of back-to-backs, to reduce the amount of fatigue on players based on crossing time zones," he said. "So obviously, if we were to make that change, it would work in the other direction.
"It doesn't mean that it can't be done, but it's not something we could do quickly because it would require a wholesale reexamination of how we do our schedule."
Silver said the league will continue to look at the playoff format. The change has a real appeal to ownership and fans, he said.