Daryl Morey Says 76ers' Goal Is to Win NBA Championship After Playoff Loss to Heat

Erin WalshMay 13, 2022

PHILADELPHIA, PA, USA - MAY 12: Joel Embiid of Philadelphia 76ers in action during NBA semifinals between Philadelphia 76ers and Miami Heat at the Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, United States on May 12, 2022. (Photo by Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images)
Tayfun Coskun/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images

The Philadelphia 76ers were eliminated from the 2022 NBA playoffs with a 99-90 loss to the Miami Heat in Game 6 of their second-round series on Thursday at Wells Fargo Center, and president of basketball operations Daryl Morey reiterated Friday that he still has high hopes for this team in the near future.

"We're sick we're here," Morey told reporters. "We have big aspirations for the team, I know the fans do, too. ... That's why we're here. That's why we do this. It's tough to be here right now."

Sixers head coach Doc Rivers also told reporters that the team's goals "haven't changed at all." And it appears James Harden will be a part of the team's formula moving forward.

Harden's lackluster postseason performance, in which he averaged just 18.6 points, has fans questioning his future in Philadelphia. However, Morey told reporters Friday that "the plan" is to have him return for the 2022-23 campaign. 

In addition to Harden, Morey also confirmed that Rivers would return as head coach for the 2022-23 campaign, adding that he believes the 60-year-old is a "great coach": 

“He's an incredibly talented player just like Joel [Embiid], just like Tobias [Harris], and I’m excited for Doc [Rivers] and his staff to have a whole offseason, work with the players, and come up with the best plan for the roster we'll have which we don’t know exactly as we just mentioned the bench and how that's going to look. Which players on the roster we're going to feel like the core going forward and which ones are the ones where maybe we can get an acquisition that might help."

That said, considering the current group of Harden, Embiid, Harris, Tyrese Maxey and Danny Green failed to get past the second round, it's reasonable to believe the Sixers will explore their options this summer and see which free agents might be a solid addition for their championship aspirations. 

However, the 76ers won't have much space to make a splash in free agency. The franchise will have a little more than $118.6 million committed to three players if Harden picks up his player option for the 2022-23 season, per Spotrac, so any additions will likely be depth players. 

Philadelphia could use some depth behind Maxey at point guard given the fact that Shake Milton could be a free agent if the team declines his club option. Dennis Schroder and Isaiah Thomas could be potential options. 

The Sixers could also use another big man behind Embiid. JaVale McGee might be a solid target there. 

Another option for Morey to build a championship contender would be to trade Harris and his $37.6 million salary this offseason. Moving him would allow the team to potentially add another star alongside Embiid and Harden.