Since the Philadelphia 76ers installed Daryl Morey as the team’s general manager, the franchise has undoubtedly become one of the more formidable clubs in all of basketball. The analytics savant — widely credited for bringing an advanced data-driven approach to team-building — has made a handful of drastic changes to the team’s total outlook.
That being said, Morey’s recent posture on the franchise’s glaring question mark seems to point to him potentially repeating a wretched piece of the franchise’s history, which is not too far down memory lane.
Daryl Morey is approaching an unwanted, yet familiar zone for the 76ers
The James Harden conundrum continues to cast a pretty significant ripple toward the 76ers as a whole. Alas, despite Joel Embiid and Philly’s brass publicly stating their desire for him to return for another go-round in the upcoming season, the All-Star has remained adamant about finding a new home.
Despite the obvious credence behind yielding to his request and extracting maximum value, however, it seems like Morey is planning on playing the long game — something eerily familiar for Sixers fans following the infamous Ben Simmons holdout which took more than a year.
Reports say that Morey has set an exorbitant price for Harden, the extent of which has resulted in no team being even close to matching that at this juncture. The former MVP is definitely worth a hefty price tag, but the implication is that Morey is asking for an unrealistic return for a player set to enter unrestricted free agency next season.
Beyond the justice of trading Harden to avoid letting him walk for nothing, a long game doesn’t benefit the 76ers in any way, shape, or form. Not only does the team face the risk of approaching the season with a loose deck and a dangling plan, but it also disregards the off-court impact (e.g. Embiid’s satisfaction) of toying with the leverages. Harden’s contract gives Philly the leverage here, but if anything’s clear — it’s that the franchise needs a resolution as soon as possible.
Hopefully, Daryl Morey’s current stance is nothing more than him doing his due diligence on trying to net the 76ers the optimal return for a player of James Harden’s caliber. Otherwise, fans could be in for a repeat of the miserable Ben Simmons saga and another dramatic season of the unnecessary variant.