By Connor Thomas
Yesterday afternoon, Daryl Morey joined The Mike Missanelli Show to discuss the state of the Sixers and, of course, the latest on the Ben Simmons trade front. He went into some significant depth, including a mention on some twitter accounts that shouldn’t be taken seriously for what seem to be obvious reasons, but maybe the biggest takeaway from the interview is that Morey isn’t blinking. It has officially been 211 days since the Sixers first opened trade talks for Simmons back on June 24th of last year, and yet the 5th year point guard still remains in Philly. There have been rumors on what seems to be hundreds of trade packages to this point, but nothing has materialized. It also doesn’t seem like a resolution is imminent, and Morey made a clear explanation as to why during yesterday’s appearance.
According to the Sixers’ President of Basketball Operations, “If [the fans] think we’re burning the season away without trading Ben, we’re not only burning this season away if we trade Ben for something that makes everyone feel good, we’re also burning away all the other future seasons.” Well, there you have it. In Morey’s eyes, this trade is so important to the future of the franchise that he sees anything short of the desired return for Simmons as burning “all the other future seasons”. Is that dramatic? Maybe, but he’s not wrong in his thought process. This trade may be the most important pre-meditated decision in the history of the organization, so I don’t think we can fault Morey for taking the time to get it right. There is a certain impatience that fans are allowed that is counterproductive to what a front office executive in the NBA is trying to accomplish. It’s hard to put that recognition in front of the desire to win a championship now, but it’s clear that Morey is unwavering in his belief of that principle.
There’s a good reason for Morey sticking to his guns too, and that reason is Joel Hans Embiid. Embiid is undoubtedly a super star talent, and he’s showing for the second straight season that it’s very possible he is the single best basketball player on planet earth. In a vacuum, getting as much juice out of the Simmons trade as possible is important, but it becomes even more so when you consider that this trade could very well make or break Embiid’s chances at winning a championship in Philadelphia. Waiting one season won’t kill the big man’s window, but he will be 28. If the trade keeps the Sixers out of a contending window for the next 2 seasons, he’ll be pushing 30. Being a little patient now could make a huge difference in the final years of dominance of Embiid’s career. It’s a near certainty the big man will begin to regress on the other side of the 30 year mark, and young pieces or rebuilding assets don’t help during that window.
I personally don’t even believe that Morey is burning this season by being slow on the trigger with a Simmons trade. The Sixers are only 2.5 games out of the top seed in the East, and have a potential path to the top of the conference over the next month or so. They don’t seem to be a true championship contender, but a deep playoff run isn’t exactly giving up. Morey has also seen, though, that there were great teams during his tenure with the Houston Rockets that just didn’t come close. Great isn’t good enough in the NBA. Teams need to be transcendent to compete for championships consistently, and the Sixers brass knows that. So, for now, they believe the best course of action is no course of action. When all is said and done, they could very well be proven right.