This summer, there were few front offices busier than the Philadelphia 76ers‘. Following their exit in the Eastern Conference semifinals, Daryl Morey was hard at work improving the cast of players around Joel Embiid and James Harden.
Fast forward to now, and the Sixers have a deep roster of players that complement their stars. What’s most impressive about this is that Morey made multiple upgrades without having to sacrifice any key rotational pieces from last season. Danny Green was traded away on draft night for De’Anthony Melton, but he will be spending a majority of the year recovering from an ACL injury suffered in the playoffs.
With the free agent pool almost dried up at this point, Bleacher Report’s Andy Bailey listed the teams whose stock rose the most following their offseason moves. Among those mentioned was the Sixers, primarily because of the shooting and defense Morey has put around the team’s core.
“The P.J. Tucker signing might have gotten more publicity—and he can certainly help in the short term—but the Philadelphia 76ers’ real coup this summer was the trade for De’Anthony Melton,” Bailey wrote. “Surrounding James Harden, Joel Embiid, Tyrese Maxey and Tobias Harris with as much three-and-D ability as possible makes sense. That’s exactly what Morey did this offseason.”
Veteran Reporter Picks Sixers as Offseason’s Biggest Winner
In an August 11 piece for Bleacher Report, longtime NBA reporter David Aldridge ranked all 30 teams based on their moves made this offseason. Between the trade for Melton and the signing of veteran forwards Danuel House Jr. and P.J. Tucker, the Sixers landed in the top spot.
“The Sixers did strong work this offseason. Relationships matter and Harden going way below market value to give president of basketball operations Daryl Morey more maneuverability to add to the roster was a testament to the alliance the two have forged over the years,” Aldridge wrote.
“With Harden accepting a financial haircut, Morey added all manner of perimeter toughness and D with Tucker and Melton.”
Along with bringing championship experience, Tucker is the ideal role player for the Sixers with his defense and shooting. Last season for the Miami Heat, he averaged 7.6 PPG and 5.5 RPG while shooting a stellar 41.5% from beyond the arc.
Harden & Kevin Durant Have Rebuilt Relationship
While Morey has already had a more than successful offseason, the finale could possibly change the NBA landscape for the foreseeable future. Reports have come out that Brooklyn Nets star Kevin Durant listed the Sixers as a desired landing spot.
Initially, some felt the way Harden’s tenure in Brooklyn ended last season could deter such a blockbuster move from happening. However, that doesn’t appear to be the case. Along with being spotted at concerts and training together, news has come regarding the two former MVPs’ relationship.
ESPN’s Romana Shelburne cited on “NBA Today” that Durant and Harden have worked things out since the fallout in Brooklyn. “From what I’m told, the two former teammates are back on good terms now despite Harden forcing his way out of Brooklyn just six months ago,” she said.