PHOENIX - A journeyman NBA player, Ish Smith will tell you that nothing about the business surprises him.
So he wasn't shocked when his contract negotiations went nowhere with the 76ers last summer despite his being a key player on the team late last season.
"Everything happens for a reason," said Smith, who was reacquired by the Sixers on Thursday in exchange for two second-round draft picks in a trade with the New Orleans Pelicans. To make room, the Sixers waived point guard Tony Wroten.
"Who knows what it would had been if I would have just stayed here or whatnot," he added. "I'm happy that this kind of worked out this way. I'm going to have fun with it."
The Sixers thought they had other reliable options at point guard over the summer. Wroten and Isaiah Canaan returned from last season's squad. They signed Kendall Marshall, Pierre Jackson, Scottie Wilbekin, and T.J. McConnell.
At the time, the thought was that Jackson would be able to play a vital role. However, he was never healthy during training camp and was cut in the preseason. So was Wilbekin. Marshall's rehabilitation from right knee surgery took longer than expected. He returned for the Dec. 11 game against the Detroit Pistons and his playing time has been restricted.
General manager Sam Hinkie said the team regrets not signing Smith over the summer.
"Obviously knowing what we know now, we are happy to take that new information and make a different decision," Hinkie said. "In the same way that I think he can help us now, I think he would have helped us at the beginning of the year."
A sixth-year pro, Smith was inserted into the starting lineup Saturday night against the Phoenix Suns, just a couple of hours after arriving in town. Brett Brown hadn't even seen Smith before he made the announcement an hour and 30 minutes before the game. Brown would not say whether the 6-foot, 170-pounder would be the starting point guard moving forward.
The coach recently said Marshall would be the starter. However, that was before the team traded for Smith.
"We are still moving along with Kendall," Brown said at the shootaround. "He hasn't played for a while. . . .
"So I'm not prepared right now to immediately anoint Ish."
Rookie center Jahlil Okafor missed the game with a sore right knee. Nerlens Noel started in place of him, and Jerami Grant started in Noel's normal power forward spot.