ATLANTA - The mood was melancholy Wednesday night at Philips Arena and only a bit better Thursday afternoon at Georgia Tech's Zelnak Basketball Center.
The 76ers' anguish had as much - if not more - to do with Brandon Davies' departure as it did with their dismal offensive performance in a 95-79 loss Wednesday to the Atlanta Hawks.
Coach Brett Brown echoed the players' sadness in seeing one of the most popular locker-room guys leave for the Brooklyn Nets in a trade that is about acquiring assets.
"When you start losing people that you are very fond of, and you have tremendous respect for, there's a human side of it that bothers me," Brown said after practice Thursday. "You are trying to grow chemistry. You are trying to grow a culture."
The Davies trade was a reminder to these Sixers that the NBA is a business.
"But it doesn't mean it has to feel right," said Brown, whose squad will face Davies and the Nets Friday night at the Barclays Center
The Sixers (2-19) officially sent the power forward to Brooklyn Thursday in exchange for forward Andrei Kirilenko, point guard Jorge Gutierrez, a 2020 second-round pick, and cash. The Sixers also received the right to swap the 2018 second-round draft pick they received from the Cleveland Cavaliers with the Nets' 2018 second-rounder.
With the addition of Gutierrez, the Sixers waived reserve point guard Malcolm Lee.
The Sixers are expected to waive Kirilenko. The 13-year veteran returned to practice Dec. 2 after being away from the Nets for personal reasons. The 6-foot-9, 235-pound Russian, who fell out of favor with Brooklyn coach Lionel Hollins, is averaging just 5.1 minutes per game.
Gutierrez went undrafted out of California in 2012. The Mexican spent 2012-13 and part of the 2013-14 season with the Canton Charge of the D-league. After having consecutive 10-day contracts with the Nets in March, he signed a permanent deal. He averaged 1.7 points in 10 appearances for Brooklyn this season.
Davies, meanwhile, was arguably the Sixers' most improved player.
The 6-10, 240-pounder averaged 6.3 points, 3.7 rebounds, and 1.4 assists this season. The undrafted second-year player developed a perimeter game and a turnaround jump shot in the offseason.
His departure leaves power forward Nerlens Noel (6-11) and center Henry Sims (6-11) as the team's only legitimate post players. As a result, the Sixers are considering moving Luc Mbah a Moute (6-8) to power forward and bringing Noel or Sims off the bench against the Nets.
"He had all the qualities you want to have in a program, especially where we are at," said Brown, who thinks Davies can stick on an NBA roster. "That's what you remember with Brandon. He's a good person."
Sims sits. Brown reiterated that his wanting to go with a small lineup is the only reason Henry Sims didn't play after intermission Wednesday.
"Nobody should read anything into the decision at all," he said. "You know they had 22 [attempted] threes at halftime. They were spreading us around a lot. . . . I just felt like we needed to stay more connected to them.
"So switching becomes sort of my first instinct, and that does not favor Henry Sims."