Mike Scott hadn’t been in Philadelphia very long, having been dealt to the 76ers the day before the Feb. 7 trade deadline, but his brief stay showed him that he wanted to make a longer commitment.
A free agent after last season, Scott, 31, signed a two-year, $9.8 million deal to remain with the Sixers. He agreed to those terms shortly after free agency began on June 30.
Asked Tuesday if there were other interested teams, the 6-foot-8 forward said there were maybe three or four. Yet it seemed like those other teams never really had a chance.
“I was thinking about Philly, re-signing here,” Scott said at a news conference at Sixers headquarters in Camden. “That was always the first priority.”
Scott averaged 7.8 points and 3.8 rebounds in 27 regular-season Sixers games after being acquired from the Clippers in the trade that also brought Tobias Harris and Boban Marjanovic to Philadelphia.
In 10 playoff games, Scott averaged 5.6 points and 3.4 rebounds. He hit a game-winning three-pointer with 19.7 seconds left that gave the Sixers a 110-108 lead en route to a 112-108 victory over the Brooklyn Nets in Game 4 of their Eastern Conference opening-round series.
He said that general manager Elton Brand and coach Brett Brown said they wanted him back during exit interviews, and the feeling was obviously mutual.
“They were the best fit. I wanted to be there the most,” he said of the Sixers. “Of course, I wanted to put on my business hat and weigh my options. For the most part, Philly was the place I wanted to be.”
Scott, who has become a fan favorite with his hard-hat mentality on the court, says another reason he wanted to return is that he, like many others, thinks the Sixers have great potential.
He loves the Sixers’ offseason moves, including the signing of free agent Al Horford to a four-year deal. Scott and Horford were teammates with the Atlanta Hawks.
"I played with him four years, and anytime anybody asks me about professionalism or favorite teammates, Paul Millsap, Kyle Korver, Al Horford are always the first three names I always name,” Scott said.
Scott, who averaged 24.0 minutes in the regular season with the Sixers and 19.3 in the postseason, might be their most important reserve. Besides bringing toughness, he has the versatility to hit three-pointers, evidenced by his shooting 41.2% from beyond the arc in the regular season for the Sixers. He also was used as a center when the Sixers went to a small lineup.
Scott, who played at the University of Virginia, says he won’t change much about his game, but he has worked in the offseason on his handle.
“I have been working on my versatility, a lot of dribbling,” he said. “I am not trying to turn into Kyrie [Irving] or anything, just simple dribbling moves.”
Now about to enter his eighth season, Scott wants to bring more of the same that he added to the team upon his acquisition.
“For the most part, come in and play with energy, make shots, be athletic, run the court,” he said. “… If I have to get in people’s face if it comes to that, but for the most part, play my role and try to win games for us.”
Scott had a busy day after his news conference, meeting people throughout the city. He gave out free ice cream near the Art Museum.
“It was hot and it was free for people of all ages and the people really enjoyed it,” Scott said. “I really enjoyed interacting with everybody.”
Later in the evening Scott appeared before the Point Breeze Youth Developmental Basketball League’s championship games for 12- and 14-year-olds.
Before the 12-year-old championship game, Scott posed for pictures with both teams in a group shot and individual photos as well. It was difficult to tell who was enjoying the events more, the players or Scott.
“It is great seeing this,” Scott said of the league that plays its games at 19th and Washington Streets. “They have jerseys, a clock, refs and they are really out there having fun, playing basketball outside."
Then pausing, he added, “It is all good.”