James Harden wasn’t the only player that Daryl Morey tried to acquire at the deadline

NBA: DEC 27 Nets at Clippers
LOS ANGELES, CA – DECEMBER 27: Brooklyn Nets Guard James Harden (13) argues a non foul call as the Los Angeles Clippers face off against the Brooklyn Nets at Crypto.com Arena on Monday, December 27, 2021 in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Will Navarro/Icon Sportswire)

It’s been a busy week for the Philadelphia 76ers and a largely positive one thanks to the arrival of James Harden. Daryl Morey was able to acquire the 10x All-Star for Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and a pair of first-round picks. He wasn’t the only player on the stout GM’s radar though.

Morey appeared on the Colin Cowherd Podcast to talk all things NBA Trade Deadline and the process of acquiring one of the best players of this generation, and a player whom the former Rockets GM is extremely familiar with.

During that podcast, the GM gave a brilliant insight into a deal that never happened, but would definitely perk the ears of Sixers fans across the nation.

(Hat tip to @PrimetimeJessee for screen-recording this segment and uploading it to Twitter to save people having to listen to the whole thing, although the entire show is excellent.)

Morey explained that he was in negotiations with an unnamed western conference team for a player and offered a first-round pick. It was apparent that the opposing GM wasn’t going to let his player go for anything close to that price, but Morey was intrigued. According to the Wisconsin native, the player in question was one who 2k players, analysts, and ‘every human on earth’ would firmly agree that the player should be traded for that kind of price.

Morey decided to submit an offer with two first-round picks anyway, which was luckily predictably declined. Fast forward a little while and Morey was reportedly hesitant to give up two first-round picks to acquire James Harden. A member of his staff said ‘three days ago we couldn’t even get this player for two firsts, why are we even debating this?! We can get James Harden who’s a Hall of Fame player and the first is protected’.

We can read between the lines here and assume the player Morey was talking about. It could have well been Tyrese Haliburton or DeAron Fox. Both are former first-round picks and were linked heavily to the Sixers in the runup to the deadline.

But we’ll never really know and that’s what makes these kinds of stories so fascinating. Fans will never really know how close or how far their team came to acquiring a certain player, or trading another. Daryl deserves a lot of credit not only for opening up the doors for fans to peak into, but for doing so with full confidence after making such a brilliant trade, ridding the franchise of the Ben Simmons saga, and welcoming in a player who will go down as one of the greats and could have one last chapter to write in the City of Brotherly Love.

Photo by Will Navarro/Icon Sportswire