What a difference a week makes. Fresh off the full-page ad former Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey posted thanking the organization and James Harden for the ascension in his career, it was announced that he will become the new president of basketball operations for the Philadelphia 76ers.
The news was initially reported by ESPN Sr. NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski via Twitter. Wojnarowski then followed that tweet with another stating current 76ers general manager Elton Brand is expected to remain with the team as well.
A deal is expected to be finalized in the next few days, and Sixers GM Elton Brand is expected to remain in his current position, sources said. https://t.co/fHb5Mds9yG
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 28, 2020
Morey was with the Rockets for 13 years before ultimately deciding to leave for “wanting to spend more time with his family.”
The End of Philly’s Dynamic Duo?
The news of Morey being hired as the 76ers President comes in the midst of an off-season of change for the organization. They recently relieved former head coach of 7 years Brett Brown for former Los Angeles Clippers head coach Doc Rivers. Rivers has previously spoken about the duo of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid and did so in a way which before, almost sounded like a trade to break them up would be ludicrous.
“When you look at these young players and their potential, the fact that they’ve had so much success in some ways at the ages they are already — and where I believe they can go — it’s a job you just couldn’t turn down. And that’s why I’m here.”
“We have two young [stars] here in Philadelphia that have already had success,” Rivers said. “My job is to add to that and try to take them to a place that they’ve not been. They’ve done a lot of winning but we want to be the winner.”
Why Warriors Make Sense as Potential Ben Simmons Trade Suitors
However, that quote happened before Morey’s arrival and the franchise moving forward with this hiring brings a possible hitch in that plan. Morey is known for being someone willing to do the unconventional in basketball if it results in wins. While being largely criticized for it, he traded away the Rockets franchise center Clint Capela to play a smaller version of former head coach Mike D’Antoni’s small-ball offense and while led to more wins in the immediate sense, it fell short against the eventual champion Los Angeles Lakers.
All of this leads to speculation on which superstar could be moved. If either is to be available the first team in line should be the Golden State Warriors. Given their draft assets and the contract of Andrew Wiggins, they’ve put themselves in a prime position to add the most value for either star in the immediate and future sense.
A way in which this trade works is for Philadelphia to offer Simmons and Al Horford for the 2020 No. 2 draft pick, No. 48, the potential Timberwolves top-3 pick in 2021, Wiggins, Kevon Looney, Jordan Poole, and the Willie Cauley-Stein trade exception.
NBC Sports NBA insider Tom Haberstroh stated his reasons for why Simmons would be the better fit with this Warriors roster.
“I think he is the perfect fit next to Stephen Curry and Klay Thompson, and people might say ‘Hey, he kind of fills the same role as Draymond Green, why would you go for a guy that kind of duplicates what he does?’ Well, Ben Simmons is much younger than Draymond Green,” Haberstroh explained. “I think if you’re going to try to acquire someone with the No. 2 pick, and package it with next year’s pick they received from the Minnesota Timberwolves, I think you have to shoot for a player that is going to be someone that kind of transitions to that next phase of this Warriors team, after Stephen Curry, after Klay Thompson and Draymond Green.”
For Embiid, the trade is much simpler with he and Wiggins having identical contracts financially. Aside from a swap and the inclusion of draft picks the 76ers could request 1-2 additional players who also make sense for their roster. ESPN NBA analyst Jay Williams touched on Embiid and a potential deal to Golden State.
If he is locked in defensively… a Steve Kerr has demand that.. it could be big for them. Still think Joel Embiid would be an interesting play for Wiggins & the 2nd pick. https://t.co/6YsjNuY0X1
— Jay Williams (@RealJayWilliams) October 14, 2020
While both trades are fun to speculate about this week only time will tell if Morey will bring his ultra-small ball to Philadelphia or build the 76ers into the winner they believe they can be.