Philadelphia 76ers: 5 opponents the fans will actually cheer for

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(Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)
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5. Mikal Bridges

Friday, March 27, 7 p.m.

Technically, Mikal Bridges was a 76er, for like 45 minutes. 

A 6-foot-7 swing player, Bridges was as Philly as you can get. He went to Great Valley High School out on the Main Line and then helped Villanova to two NCAA championships. When he was selected by the Sixers with the 10th pick in the 2018 NBA draft, it seemed like a dream come true. The fact his mother worked for the 76ers made the selection even more ‘awww’ worthy.

The Phoenix Suns called with an offer that interim general manager Brett Brown (and his cast of Colangelo holdovers and part-owners) decided they could not refuse: The No. 16 pick and Miami’s unprotected 2021 first-rounder.

The Sixers jumped at the deal. Whether it was the right decision to go for it (Smith is a deep benchwarmer in the preseason and the pick was sent to the Clippers as part of the Tobias Harris trade), they received a lot of grief the way they handled the situation with Bridges.

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Instead of telling him: ‘Hey, we’re in some talks, hold on and don’t talk to anyone until we tell you it’s final’, the Sixers let Bridges meet the media thinking he was joining the Sixers. He was in the middle of a press conference when word of the trade came out. Not cool, thought a lot of people.

Bridges worked his way into the Suns starting lineup and they recently picked up his option for next season. Plus, there are worse things than spending the winter in Arizona.

However, fans know it was not his idea to get traded to Phoenix (weather good, team bad) and many were upset themselves when the Sixers traded him. In their mind, they should be rooting for him as a member of the home team.

Bridges is a local guy who has made good, and in the current fast-flowing NBA world, who is to say he won’t one day put on a Sixers uniform?

So when Bridges shows up with Phoenix in March, Sixers fans reaction should be: Cheers.