Daryl Morey Reportedly Finalizing Talks with 76ers to Run Basketball Operations

Tyler Conway@jtylerconwayFeatured ColumnistOctober 28, 2020

FILE - This is a July 26, 2019, file photo showing Houston Rockets General Manager Daryl Morey during an NBA basketball news conference, in Houston. Rockets general manager Daryl Morey is stepping down on his own accord, a person familiar with the decision told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity Thursday, Oct. 15, 2020, because the move hasn’t been announced.(AP Photo/David J. Phillip)
David J. Phillip/Associated Press

The Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly in advanced talks to hire Daryl Morey to oversee their basketball operations.

ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported Wednesday the deal is expected to be completed "in the next few days." General manager Elton Brand will stay on in his position.

Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium reported it will be a five-year contract.

Morey left the Houston Rockets earlier this month after 14 seasons, resigning following a tumultuous 2019-20 campaign. While owner Tilman Fertitta publicly supported Morey, it appeared the relationship was headed toward an end throughout the season after the general manager's public support of the freedom for Hong Kong movement, which led to a fracture in the NBA's relationship with China and hundreds of millions of dollars in lost revenue.

Fertitta is also known as a hands-on owner who publicly pressured Morey to build a championship contender. ESPN's Tim MacMahon said (10:15 mark) on The Lowe Post podcast that Fertitta pushed for Houston to trade Chris Paul to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Russell Westbrook, a move that largely backfired. It's possible the blown-up extension talks with Mike D'Antoni also played a factor in Morey's departure.

Morey will inherit a Sixers roster that has largely been mismanaged by Brand during his short time as general manager. Al Horford's contract may be the worst in basketball, and the Sixers spent most of last offseason steering away from the three-ball movement in the sport.

It didn't work. Philadelphia was disjointed on both ends of the floor, lacking spacing on offense and showing a surprising lack of consistent defensive effort—despite having what should have been world-beating talent on that end. Brett Brown was dismissed after the Sixers' first-round playoff exit and replaced with Doc Rivers, who is known more for his personality management than X's and O's wizardry.

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It will be on Morey to reshape the roster around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid to make their awkward pairing work. That will likely mean undoing some of the damage done by Brand, particularly moving Horford and his contract if he can find a taker. The Sixers, at the very least, should play with more spacing under the analytically minded Morey.