The best and worst trades of Daryl Morey’s Sixers tenure

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Philadelphia 76ers’ Daryl Morey listens to a question during a news conference at the NBA basketball team’s training facility, Wednesday, May 17, 2023, in Camden, N.J. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey made headlines back in December after signing an extension with the Sixers. This new contract will keep him as a member of the Sixers Organization until the 2027-2028 season. Morey, who came to the Sixers in November of 2020, has made tons of moves, most of them being net positives, for the Sixers in the past few years.

Morey has also brought a level of stability to Philadelphia’s front office that hasn’t been seen in a long time. Yet, even the best general managers make bad moves from time to time. With his new contract, it’s time to review the best and worst moves of his Sixers career.

The Best Trade: Turning Ben Simmons into James Harden

Philadelphia 76ers’ Joel Embiid, left, tries to get past Brooklyn Nets’ Ben Simmons during the first half of an NBA basketball game, Wednesday, Jan. 25, 2023, in Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

The Sixers were in a dark place when Ben Simmons was sitting out. With seemingly no actual trade value for Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid (and Maxey) carrying harder than Sisyphus with his boulder, the Sixers desperately needed to add firepower. Tobias Harris and Seth Curry were both playing well, but the team was not going to go far in the playoffs without a sizable return for frustrated All-Star Ben Simmons.

Enter James Harden. Despite the ending of Harden’s Sixers tenure, sending Ben Simmons away for the star guard was a move by Daryl Morey that set up Philadelphia nicely for the immediate and long-term future. In Harden’s only full season with Philadelphia, he led the league in assists and was able to help both Tyrese Maxey and Joel Embiid grow and have success.

Even with Harden’s unceremonious ending, Philadelphia was able to secure multiple draft picks, depth pieces, and financial flexibility that will allow the Sixers to be major players in next year’s free agency. While the James Harden experiment may not have worked out the way everyone wanted, it has certainly put the team in a better spot than they would have with Ben Simmons still on the roster.

The Worst Trade: George Hill’s Arrival

LOS ANGELES, CA – JANUARY 24: Oklahoma City Thunder Guard George Hill (3) breaks past Los Angeles Clippers Forward Kawhi Leonard (2) during an NBA game between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Oklahoma City Thunder and the on January 24, 2021 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Carrie Giordano/Icon Sportswire)

In March of 2021, the 76ers were looking to add some guard depth to their rotation behind Ben Simmons. With rumors swirling of a Kyle Lowry trade, Philadelphia was desperate to add some playmaking that wouldn’t cost them as much as Lowry would.

The answer: Veteran guard George Hill, who was sitting on a rebuilding Thunder team. The Sixers, with the trade deadline approaching, paid three-round picks. One in 2021 (which became Jericho Sims), another in 2025, and finally, one in 2026, along with Tony Bradley, Terrance Ferguson, and Vincent Poirer in a three-team deal with the Thunder and the New York Knicks.

He ended up playing 28 games for the Sixers, including the playoffs. In the playoffs, he averaged only 4.7 points and 1.5 assists per game. After a rough regular season and a disappointing playoff run, the Sixers had the chance to either move Hill’s 10 million dollar expiring contract or give him a chance to gel. However, the Sixers instead just outright released him to avoid the 8 million in guarantees.

While Morey has made a significantly higher amount of good moves compared to his bad ones, this George Hill experiment ultimately robbed the Sixers of four second-round picks for a disappointing 28-game tenure. After being released, Hill resigned with the Milwaukee Bucks.

Morey’s future outlook with the Sixers

Philadelphia 76ers’ Daryl Morey speaks during a news conference at the team’s NBA basketball practice facility, Friday, May 13, 2022, in Camden, N.J. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)

Morey has not been perfect in his Sixers career, but no one is. Morey’s history is full of great deals, and with the extension, more great ones are on the way. He typically gets great value in his trades and typically does well in free agency. The next few years will determine how Daryl Morey is remembered, but so far, the Daryl Morey experience has been a positive one.