- Daryl Morey is finalizing a deal to become the Sixers’ President for Basketball Operations.
- Morey stepped down as the Houston Rockets’ GM earlier this month.
- He will inherit an underachieving team led by Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.
The Philadelphia 76ers have spent the last five seasons building their team and assembling a cast that put them back in relevancy. Now, they look to back up that team with a management team that will make it work.
The Sixers drafted Joel Embiid in 2014, then Ben Simmmons in 2016. They faltered with Markelle Fultz in 2017 but have done more than enough moves to surround Embiid and Simmons with a legit supporting cast. But after making the second round in each of the previous two seasons, Philly’s 2019-20 playoff campaign ended after just five games.
Philadelphia fired head coach Brett Brown after its latest debacle. They got a break when the Clippers parted ways with coach Doc Rivers. Now the Sixers are hoping that they have caught another break after the Houston Rockets parted with GM Daryl Morey.
The Sixers are reportedly finalizing a five-year deal that will put Morey at the helm of the team’s basketball operations. The former Rockets GM has reportedly agreed to become the 76ers’ new President for Basketball Operations. The deal is still being finalized and is expected to be made official not later than this weekend.
ESPN story on Daryl Morey finalizing a deal to become Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations: https://t.co/xJ1oqTFWgy
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) October 28, 2020
Doc Rivers Helped Pitched For Morey
According to sources, head coach Doc Rivers was a key proponent in Morey’s hiring. Rivers and Morey are good friends and that part of the equation was one thing that the Sixers liked. Also, Morey has long been the target of the Philadelphia 76ers organization.
Two years ago, they offered him the job but he turned it down to re-sign with the Rockets. However, in the aftermath of the Rockets’ second round ouster in the Disney bubble playoffs, Houston team owner Tillman Ferttita talked to Morey about the possibility of leaving the job. The two worked out an agreement that ended with Morey ending his 14-year working relationship with the franchise.
The Sixers contacted Morey shortly after his Houston exit. Talks resumed and according to sources, they escalated this week. Morey traveled to Philadelphia to talk to the Sixers ownership and the former Rockets GM has agreed to take the Sixers job as President for Basketball Operations.
While his legacy isn’t perfectly neat and a championship always eluded him, Daryl Morey undoubtedly made the NBA a more entertaining place https://t.co/aHDgu24VXr pic.twitter.com/Wy6y1mJIgS
— Sports Illustrated (@SInow) October 15, 2020
Morey had been the Rockets’ GM since the 2007-08 season. During his 13 years at the helm, Houston has the league’s second-best record over that period. He made a total of 77 trades for the Rockets, second most during the last 13 seasons and behind only the Sixers’ 78. Morey is credited for brining James Harden, Chris Paul, and Russell Westbrook to Houston.
He led the Rockets to the league’s longest consecutive playoff appearance streak with eight. The Rockets advanced in the Western Conference playoffs in each of the last four seasons, including 2017-18 when they finished with a league-best 65-17 regular season record and went all the way to the Western Conference Finals.
In that WCF, Houston had a 3-1 lead against the Golden State Warriors but they blew the lead after Chris Paul got hurt. This past season, the Rockets finished with the 4th best record in the Western Conference. Houston made a big move at the trade deadline, sending big man Clint Capela to the Atlanta Hawks in a bid to win it all with “small ball” basketball. The Rockets ran into the eventual champions Los Angeles Lakers in round two and were eliminated in five games.
The Sixers are one of the underachieving teams in the NBA. Since the emergence of Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, this team has been touted as perennial favorites in the Eastern Conference. But the 76ers have never been able to make the leap into championship contendership.
Last season, they finished with a 43-30 regular season record, just sixth in the Eastern Conference. Despite having both Embiid and Simmons during the playoffs, they lost to the Boston Celtics in the first round. Embiid and Simmons are an outstanding duo, but there seems to be no cohesion with their other key players in Tobias Harris and Al Horford.
The problem with Philly is that most of their salary cap is tied with those four players so making a move during the free agency will be difficult, unless of course they move one or more of the four. That will be the first task at hand for good friends Rivers and Morey. If they can’t get new names on the roster, they will have to make it work.