The Philadelphia 76ers had perhaps their biggest weakness exposed during the postseason this year when Ben Simmons was a complete non-factor offensively. Some people feel they could have addressed that problem by acquiring a scoring guard at the trade deadline earlier this year, but president of basketball operations Daryl Morey may have bigger plans.
Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer spoke with NBA executives who share mixed opinions about Morey’s decision to not go all-in with his pursuit of Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry this season. However, there is consensus about why Morey resisted giving up assets for the 35-year-old point guard.
The belief is that Morey is planning to pursue an even bigger star this offseason. O’Connor says Morey is likely positioning the 76ers to make a run at players like Bradley Beal, Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum or Zach LaVine. All have been mentioned as potential trade candidates this offseason, but the question now is whether the Sixers will have enough to offer.
Ideally, the 76ers would make Simmons the centerpiece of any trade involving a star player. Now that Simmons essentially refused to take a shot during the playoffs and provided nothing offensively, his value has probably taken a significant hit. Joel Embiid even threw him under the bus after Philadelphia’s loss to the Atlanta Hawks in Game 7 on Sunday night.
Morey is one of the best executives in basketball, and we saw him pull off more than one blockbuster trade with the Houston Rockets. We wouldn’t bet against him doing it again, though Simmons’ poor performance in the playoffs has made the situation a bit more complicated.