Sixers Look for Stability with Morey Extension

by Marc Narducci | Dec 22, 2023
Sixers Look for Stability with Morey Extension
 The 76ers and President of Basketball Operations Darryl Morey agreed last week to an extension that will keep him with the team through the 2027-28 season. 

Head coach Nick Nurse’s contract also expires following the 2027-28 season.

Morey has received criticism, especially since the 76ers have been eliminated in the second round of the NBA playoffs in each of his three first seasons. Yet, he has put them in a position to contend for an NBA title this year. 

No doubt, Morey will look to make a move by the Feb. 8 trade deadline to boost the Sixers’ postseason chances. 

Morey has made several moves and the best one came shortly after he was hired by the Sixers—the drafting of Tyrese Maxey with the 21st overall selection of the 2020 NBA draft.

Maxey could very well be an All-Star this year.

While Morey has said he listened to his personnel department because he has just joined the team, he still approved drafting Maxey, so that goes on his record as a plus.

Morey also got rid of the albatross of a contract for Ben Simmins, acquiring James Harden.

When the Harden situation didn’t work out and the veteran guard requested a trade, Morey did a good job in getting a solid return from the Los Angeles Clipper. 

Harden is on a one-year contract and Morey also unloaded PJ Tucker and his $11 million contract to the Clippers. 

It actually was a three-team trade that also included the Oklahoma City Thunder.

In addition to Harden and Tucker, the Sixers sent rookie Filip Petrusey to the Clippers. Morey received four players from the Clippers on expiring contracts – Marcus Morris, Nicolas Batum, KJ Martin and former Sixer Robert Covington. The Sixers also received draft picks, including a 2028 unprotected first rounder from the Clippers and a 2029 pick swap. 

That unprotected pick is a huge trade chip if the Sixers want to deal. By 2028, the aging Clippers could be struggling and that could be a very high pick. The same is the case with the 2029 pick swap.

So for one year of James Harden, Morey acquired players who have helped the rotation, especially Batum and Morris, plus a valuable future pick and pick swap. 

With the players on expiring contracts, the Sixers should have money to sign a fairly high profile free agent. They still have to extend Maxey, but according to Hoopshype.com, the Sixers are paying $173.9 million in salaries this year.

Next season, they have $63.15 committed. The players under contract for next year, according to Hoopshype are Joel Embiid ($51.4 million), Jaden Springer ($4 million), Paul Reed ($7.7 million) and Maxey ($6.2 million). That Maxey figure is a qualifying offer, but he will be getting paid likely four times that figure. 

Still there is plenty of money for the future. Morey has made shrewd free agent signings this year – Kelly Oubre and Patrick Beverley. Oubre has brought needed scoring and Beverley some added toughness.

Not everything Morey has done has been perfect, but the team is in a better situation now than when he took over.

Remember, he didn’t hire Doc Rivers. Morey’s first coaching hire for the Sixers was Nurse this year and that move has been lauded league-wide.

Now the key will be if Morey can seal the deal and help the Sixers win their first NBA championship since 1983.

Boston and likely Milwaukee remain the favorites in the Eastern Conference, but the Sixers have the ability to beat both teams, especially the Bucks, who need a serious defensive upgrade to be a contender. 

While there are challenges ahead, the Sixers right now are in a good place and More deserves credit for that. 

Photo of Daryl Morey, Courtesy of Philadelphia 76ers

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Author: Marc Narducci

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