Philadelphia 76ers veteran center Dwight Howard was all smiles following Thursday's shootaround session in Los Angeles. As the big man hopped on a post-practice Zoom call with local reporters, Howard was in an especially good mood, for the most part.
There was a point when Howard became admittedly sad as he was reminded his teammate, Tony Bradley, was on his way out. Just an hour before the Sixers wrapped up their shootaround, the Sixers struck a three-way deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder and the New York Knicks.
While the Sixers are receiving two players in George Hill and Ignas Brazdeikis, they will also lose Terrance Ferguson, Vincent Poirier, and Bradley. The departure of Ferguson and Poirier wasn't too surprising, considering they haven't received much playing time for the Sixers this season outside of garbage time minutes.
As for Bradley, he had a recent emergence as Joel Embiid recovers from a knee injury. Over the last six matchups, Bradley started for the Sixers as Dwight Howard resumed his role off the bench. In those six starts, Bradley averaged seven points and seven rebounds while draining 76-percent of his field-goal attempts.
Over the last week or so, Bradley has shown significant signs of improvement, and the Sixers sold him off to the rebuilding Oklahoma City Thunder while his value is at an all-time high. While Howard isn't thrilled to see his improving teammate go, he's also happy that Bradley will get an opportunity to keep a steady role elsewhere.
“It’s very sad to hear about him leaving our team,” Howard said. “I’ve seen from the beginning of the season to now, his energy and his effort has changed, and he’s been playing out of his mind the last couple of games, and I’m so proud of him.
"He has an opportunity to go to Oklahoma City and play big minutes, and I think it’s gonna be a blessing in disguise for him. I'm sad that he’s leaving our team, but I’m happy for him as a player because he gets that opportunity that he needs, and I hope he continues to work hard and not forget where you came from. He’s going to be great.”
With the Sixers, Bradley was more than likely going to be back to the bench, logging zero minutes outside of garbage time once Embiid returns. At least in Oklahoma City, the 23-year-old center will have an opportunity to have a steady role within their rotation not only for the rest of this season but also in the future as they are rebuilding from the ground up over these next couple of years.