The Philadelphia 76ers were one of the busiest teams before the trade deadline lapsed, signing off on multiple deals as they shape up the roster for a late season push without Joel Embiid for the meantime. However, the team was far from spotless, pulling the trigger on a certain trade that puzzled many fans.
Shortly after trading Patrick Beverley to the Bucks for Cameron Payne and a second-rounder, the 76ers shipped young guard Jaden Springer to their biggest rival, the Boston Celtics, for chump change. When asked about his rationale for the deal, Daryl Morey dished out something that will probably not be appreciated by many.
Daryl Morey’s remarks about Jaden Springer shows the 76ers are making a big mistake
Asked about the reasoning behind the 76ers’ last-minute trade to send Springer to Boston, Morey had this
"We had to look at, what are the odds Jaden Springer — who I think has a great future — helps our playoff rotation in the one, two, three-year horizon. And what are the odds a second-round pick helps us? And we thought the second-round pick helped us more. And that’s just the reality, it allows us to maybe get a veteran at next year’s deadline, things like that.
We did it. It sucks. Jaden’s going to be really good, I think. I think his timetable is a little pushed out, though. Our evaluation was that his timetable to help a playoff team is farther than what the second-round pick can do for us."
Trading a potential key player to your biggest rival is one thing, but justifying it by saying that a second-round pick could net you a bigger return is too broad of a hypothetical to reliably bank on, especially in this post-deadline context.
As constructed, the 76ers have one reliable perimeter defender in the backcourt in De’Anthony Melton, who’s oft-injured. Buddy Hield, their biggest midseason addition, is nowhere near a defensive asset, and losing Beverley for Payne is a defense-for-offense trade-off. Even the player they are linked to in the buyout market cannot be pegged as a stopper at this juncture.
Springer has largely been out of the rotation, but that’s mostly due to the team having too many mouths to feed in the backcourt. Now that their guard rotation has thinned out significantly, Springer would have been a nice rotation piece they can invest on for little with how great he’s been in spurts this season.
Once again, Morey and co. are exhibiting sheer unwillingness to develop players, which plays into why people think that their window to compete is too fragile to hold up at this rate. Even the greatest teams in history had a young player or two that frankly made them much more competitive.
That this franchise continues to show an allergic reaction to player development is beyond anyone. All fans can hope for is that this one-sided way of team-building eventually culminates into a much-needed championship.