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Report: Mike D'Antoni Driving Force Behind Ish Smith's Acquisition

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Reports out of New Orleans say that the new associate head coach was behind the Ish Smith trade.

Richard Mackson-USA TODAY Sports

New associate head coach Mike D'Antoni is already making his presence felt within the Sixers organization.

According to John Reid of The Times-Picayune, it was D'Antoni who advocated for the re-acquisition of point guard Ish Smith.

Sources say newly hired Philadelphia 76ers lead assistant Mike D'Antoni is impressed with Smith's abilities and wanted to get him on their roster. Also, sources say the Pelicans weren't going to be able to extend adequate minutes to Smith in the rotation with Norris Cole back after missing the first 17 games of the season with a high ankle sprain.

It makes sense that D'Antoni was involved in this deal, given that general manager Sam Hinkie has always had a penchant for acquiring second round picks as opposed to trading them. While the price of bringing back the Smith seems steep by some standards, Philadelphia is nearing the point where they no longer have a ton of room on the roster to put those picks to use. The organization have a minimum of three first-round picks in this year's draft (with a chance at four if the lottery is kind to them), and both Joel Embiid and Dario Saric will likely be on the active roster in 2016. There's not a lot of room to take chances on second round picks there, and this is not expected to be a deep draft class by any means.

Regardless, if D'Antoni is the guy who is expected to be in charge of the Sixers offense for the next couple of seasons, then it makes sense to go out and at least attempt to acquire the talent he needs to best implement his system. The 27-year-old Smith also happens to be a familiar face who really helped impact Nerlens Noel's game in a positive manner. According to NBAwowy, Noel shot 53.4% from the floor with a 22.0% usage rate when Smith was on the floor. When he was off the floor, Noel shot just 43.9% despite a lower usage rate of 16.9%.

If Smith can get the offense playing with pace again and help Noel return to his end of season form, then it'll certainly be worth the cost of two second rounders.

Also expect D'Antoni to have a large impact on Kendall Marshall, who put up career numbers under his former head coach as a member of the Los Angeles Lakers during the 2013-14.