Jayson Williams played high school and college basketball in the New York borough of Queens. But to hear him talk, he was destined for Philadelphia.
"I grew up watching Julius Erving play here and always wished I could play for Philadelphia," said the 6-foot-10 Williams, 22, after signing a three-year contract with the 76ers. "Now my dream has come true."Williams, Phoenix's first-round pick and the 21st overall selection in the draft, was obtained in exchange for the 76ers' first-round pick in 1993 - unless that turns out to be a lottery pick, in which case Phoenix would get the 76ers' 1994 first-round pick.
There was room for Williams on the roster and the payroll because of the departure of guard Derek Smith. The 76ers decided over the weekend not to offer a contract to Smith, who underwent surgery four weeks ago on his chronically sore left knee.
Smith told the Philadelphia Daily News he was "shell-shocked" by the move.
"I had something taken away from me very unexpectedly," he said.
Smith played the last 1 1/2 seasons with the Sixers, averaging 8.9 points last year and earning praise from coach Jim Lynam and his teammates for his defense.
"He will be missed," said Lynam, who also said Smith might return someday. "Don't close the book on Derek Smith. I'm not a doctor, but I know the heart he has."