Houston Rockets governor Tilman Fertitta reportedly had no interest in reuniting James Harden and Daryl Morey on the Philadelphia 76ers.
On the Posted Up podcast (h/t Bill DiFilippo of Uproxx), Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports said Fertitta was "adamant that they not make a deal with Philly, obviously with Daryl Morey being the GM over there now."
Instead, Houston traded Harden to the Brooklyn Nets in a four-team megadeal, where he will join Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Houston got quite the haul in the deal, landing Victor Oladipo, Dante Exum, Rodions Kurucs, three unprotected Brooklyn Nets first-round picks (2022, 2024, 2026), four unprotected Nets pick swaps (2021, 2023, 2025, 2027) and a 2022 Milwaukee Bucks first-round pick (via Cleveland).
The Indiana Pacers ended up with Caris LeVert and a 2023 second-round selection from Houston, while the Cleveland Cavaliers acquired Jarrett Allen and Taurean Prince.
All of that draft capital could set up Houston nicely in the future, but DiFillipo noted the 76ers reportedly offered Ben Simmons in a package for Harden.
Simmons may not be as good as Harden, but the 24-year-old is a triple-double threat every time he steps on the floor. He could have helped the Rockets transition from the Harden era and become their new franchise cornerstone.
Alas, Fertitta reportedly didn't want to see Harden and Morey potentially win a title in Philadelphia.
Morey announced he was stepping down as the Rockets general manager in October. He was the team's general manager since the 2007-08 season and helped build a legitimate challenger to the powerhouse Golden State Warriors in the mid-2010s. He took over as the Sixers team president a few weeks later.
While Houston never won a title with Morey at the helm, it was undoubtedly one of the best teams in the league during his tenure.