Daryl Morey to the Sixers could be the biggest offseason move in the East

Chase Hughes
·4 min read

Morey to Sixers could be biggest move made in East this offseason originally appeared on NBC Sports Washington

It would be difficult to find a better situation for Daryl Morey to land than in Philadelphia, where he just reportedly agreed to sign a five-year deal as their new team president (via the Athletic).

Well, as long as you overlook the fact they already had a general manager, Elton Brand, who just hired his new head coach, Doc Rivers. That could be awkward and maybe even untenable.

But on the face of it, the fit between both sides makes perfect sense. Morey gets to take over a team that is already good and he gets to leave the Western Conference. Life is much easier in the East, he will find. 

The West has had the far tougher road to the NBA Finals for decades, essentially since Michael Jordan retired from the Bulls in 1998. In the West, a team like the L.A. Clippers can fall in the second round of the playoffs and the 43-32 Mavs can be a seven-seed. In the East, the 33-40 Magic can make the playoffs and the fifth-seed Heat can make it all the way to the Finals. 

Morey built one of the best teams the NBA has seen in the last decade and they couldn't even make it that far. That would be the 2017-18 Houston Rockets, who won 65 games and were one win away from beating the eventual champion Warriors in the conference finals.

If Chris Paul didn't get injured when they were up 3-2 in the series, they may have advanced. But the fact is they had to face the best team in the NBA before they could even leave their conference.

That may not happen anytime soon in the East as Morey can now watch from afar as the Lakers, Warriors, Clippers and Nuggets battle for Western Conference supremacy. And while they do, the most promising young players and teams in the league will be waiting in the wings. 

The last three No. 1 picks have gone to teams in the West. LeBron James and Leonard also left the east for the west in free agency in recent years. With Luka Doncic, Ja Morant and Zion Williamson on the cusp, the West is set up to be superior to the East for the foreseeable future.

That is not to say there isn't talent in the East. Back-to-back MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo is a factor. So are the Raptors, the Heat and the Celtics. But top-to-bottom, the West clearly has an edge.

In the West, the Sixers are an average team. They are the Utah Jazz. In the East, they aren't far off from contention.

And now they have the most aggressive dealmaker in the game ready to take over a roster with plenty of trade pieces. They don't have the treasure chest of first-round picks they once did, but they have plenty of players under contract who could interest other teams like Al Horford and Josh Richardson. They also have a boatload of second-round picks, including four in this draft alone.

Morey will have to figure out what to do with Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid, two certified stars in their mid-20s who to this point represent a questionable fit. But if he decides to split them up, either would fetch a massive haul on the trade market. 

If Morey decides to keep the Sixers' core intact, then his approach is perfectly tailored for their needs. Last season, Philly was a top-10 defense but ranked 13th in offensive rating and 20th in points per game. The Sixers were 19th in three-pointers made and 22nd in attempts. 

Morey's Rockets, meanwhile, set the NBA record for most three-pointers made and attempted per game in each of the last three seasons. They ranked top-seven in offensive rating in each of the past five years.

Need to fix your offense? Morey is the guy to call. 

Nothing, of course, is guaranteed for Morey and the Sixers. As impressive as his tenure in Houston was, he had James Harden. Yes, he acquired him. But while Embiid and Simmons are very good, Harden is on a different level.

But giving Morey the Sixers' resources, and in the Eastern Conference, seems very likely to work out. Depending on what happens in free agency, it may end up being the most consequential offseason move in the East.

Many have marveled at Philly's talent in recent years. Now they have a chance to maximize it with one of the best executives in the business.