Amid the endless drama surrounding Ben Simmons and his relationship with the 76ers, Daryl Morey took to the radio to give his position on the situation.
With most of the information coming from leaks to the media from each respective camp, Morey elected to face things head-on and give his perspective on the situation. Morey took to The Mike Missanelli Show hosted by 97.5 to give his thoughts:
“People should buckle in. This is going to go a long time.”
The biggest point that Morey hammered home was that Ben Simmons must wait for the Sixers to decide to trade him, and no action on his end will change this. The veteran GM dug his heels in and proved that he is more than ready to fight this battle with the Sixers’ best interest in mind. The message continued to be shared that Morey and the rest of the Sixers hope to reintegrate Simmons back into the team before any move is made.
When discussing the market for a potential trade, it was clear that there have been no offers that have particularly piqued Morey’s interest. As he put it:
“Right now any sort of trade, which obviously Ben Simmons wants, the best thing we can do is get role players back. That makes no sense. That won’t give us (any) better chance to win the title.”
This obsession with winning a championship is what drove Morey to Philadelphia, and it is clear no amount of pressure will change this.
There has been a large amount of speculation surrounding the league-wide implications of this Ben Simmons situation. A star player forcing themself out of a city is nothing new, but Simmons is still under contract until the 2024-25 season and this extended length of time makes it a unique circumstance. Morey does not believe that the NBA will get involved and said he solely considers this to be a 76ers issue.
While many GMs would have balked at the controversy and may have given in to a lesser deal by now, this is not the case for Morey.
“I would ask the question to 76ers fans would you rather eliminate what people perceive to be a distraction… or would you rather have worse playoff odds? Worse chance to win the title? I’m focused on winning the title.”
As long there are no deals on the table that brings the Sixers closer to a deal, this drama can be expected to continue to drag on.
Why Morey is Right
From a business perspective, Daryl Morey is absolutely correct in his mindset. The NBA is a star-driven league and whatever team comes away with the best available player typically ends up winning the deal. With Ben Simmons’ value at its all-time low, it is clear the Sixers do not believe they will be getting the return that his talent should dictate.
While the Sixers organization is not blameless for their handling of Ben Simmons over the years, this situation has been created by Simmons and his own camp. The bottom line is that everyone is on the same page in searching for a new destination for the former number one overall pick. However, the willingness of Simmons’ camp to go to any extent to rush the timeline when there are no realistic offers on the table has created a mess and has been no help to the hopes of his value rebounding.
It was also acknowledged how Simmons seemingly has held a major grudge due to Doc Rivers‘ comments following the game seven loss to the Hawks. Rivers’ word choice certainly could have been better following the emotional playoff exit. However, his should not mean more than the all-NBA quality defense that Doc has played when discussing Simmons with the media all year. Daryl Morey pointed this out and put it:
“Doc Rivers defended Ben Simmons more than any human on earth- maybe ever… no one has been more in Ben Simmons’ corner than Doc Rivers, and Ben Simmons knows that.”
Why Morey is Wrong
While it makes sense to continue searching for value from Morey’s perspective, there is still a human element that must be acknowledged. With a few games under their belt, there has been a refreshing return to interest in the Sixers. Even so, the ongoing Ben Simmons situation has overshadowed the team a great deal.
Doc Rivers and each player has faced questions surrounding Simmons on a near-daily basis, and it is clearly a topic that they have no interest in discussing. The Sixers have done an excellent job not allowing it to be a distraction, but it is impossible not to fully acknowledge, especially when there are still hopes he will rejoin the team.
On top of this, the Sixers are greatly missing aspects of what Simmons brings to the team. The Sixers have been hit from both ends as they are without their 24-year-old all-star and have received no player in return. Instead, the Sixers are stuck with the $33 million cap hit on a team that is starved for ball-handling and perimeter creation.
There also is a disconnect between his comment on prioritizing Embiid’s prime while continuing ahead with a massive hole in the current team. A trade could materialize before the deadline to fill this hole and make Morey look like a genius, but if this extends past the trade deadline, the franchise is completely wasting a year of Embiid’s prime.
Given the injury issues and concerns for his longevity, there is no guarantee how many years the 27-year-old can maintain his elite level of play. Time is not on the Sixers’ side in this regard, and they must make use of the big man’s prime while it is here.
What is Morey’s Message?
It should be recognized that these comments were all put out with a purpose. Morey’s message was directed at every GM around the league, Rich Paul, Ben Simmons himself, and every other member of Simmons’ camp.
Every decision that Daryl Morey makes is purely evolving around what is in the Sixers’ best interest and what brings the team closer to their championship aspirations. While the ever-changing situation surrounding Ben Simmons is somewhat unique, there will be no sacrificing this core principle that makes Morey so great at what he does.
The bottom line is that you can only trade Ben Simmons one time. As the search continues to assemble a legitimate championship-contending roster, Simmons is the biggest trade piece that Morey has to work with, and getting the deal wrong could cripple all hopes. The entire league will be on watch to see how a solution is eventually reached, but for now, everyone must buckle in and wait.