Daryl Morey has made quite a few trades as the President of Basketball Operations for the Philadelphia 76ers. Most of them were great, like trading Al Horford for Danny Green or Josh Richardson for Seth Curry. Some of them weren’t great, like trading for George Hill from the Thunder. Then there is the one trade that has defined his Sixers’ tenure thus far, and that is the infamous Ben Simmons trade for James Harden. Now, with James Harden’s trade demand, it appears as though Daryl Morey is going to have to exercise even more patience in finding a suitable return to keep Philadelphia in contention for an NBA Championship.
The similarities between the Ben Simmons and James Harden situations
Morey was the definition of patience during the Ben Simmons trade saga. First, it seemed like Ben would be dealt on draft night 2022. After he wasn’t, many thought he may be used as an outgoing salary in a free agency sign and trade. He wasn’t. And so on and so on. While everyone was desperate to see Ben Simmons go, Morey was aware of the fact that Ben Simmons’ value was at an all-time low, and he was willing to be patient with his 6’10” former All-Star guard. Morey waited until the final hours of the trade deadline to finally capitalize on Ben Simmons, trading him to a desperate Brooklyn Nets team in exchange for star guard James Harden.
Fast forward a year and a half, and Daryl Morey is in an eerily similar situation. James Harden, after one full season with the Sixers and another second-round exit in the playoffs, has demanded a trade out of Philadelphia after opting into his player option. While there are significant differences here, such as Harden’s age, scoring prowess, and reputation, much of the situation’s core remains the same.
Harden’s trade value is far lower than his talent level. In the playoffs, he wasn’t the player he had been in the regular season, which was a very good player mind you. However, there is the added concern now of Joel Embiid’s future with the team. After Embiid made some comments about winning a championship anywhere, it appears that Morey may be working on a clock.
What could jumpstart Daryl Morey’s dealings?
Daryl Morey is a mastermind at crafting trades and capitalizing when he has the leverage to do so. Morey will refuse to trade Harden for a discount just to get the trade done and over worth. He will wait and make sure that every trade conversation is deliberate and calculated. Unless, of course, Embiid comes to Morey and demands help sooner rather than later. Given his track record of working to appease stars, Daryl Morey will do whatever is necessary to keep his superstar MVP happy in Philadelphia.
While this situation isn’t the exact same as the Simmons one, it is unfortunate that the James Harden experiment had to end so quickly. Morey will make sure to get the best deal possible for the 10-time All-Star if everything goes as planned. With the relationship between Morey and Harden, it does appear that the two sides will try and come to an agreement to send Harden elsewhere, but until that best deal comes in for Harden, or Joel demands the trade happen sooner, get used to seeing Harden in a 76ers uniform.