TORONTO–The Philadelphia 76ers made a big move at the 2023 deadline when they sent Matisse Thybulle to the Portland Trail Blazers in a 4-team deal that saw the Sixers acquire Jalen McDaniels from the Charlotte Hornets.
In 24 games with the Sixers, including three starts, McDaniels averaged 6.7 points and 3.2 rebounds while shooting 40% from deep albeit on only 1.3 attempts per game. He showed why the Sixers went after him with his ability to play on both ends of the floor.
The idea for the Sixers acquiring McDaniels was to utilize that ability in the postseason. However, he played sparingly in Round 2 against the Boston Celtics. He did not play at all in Games 4, 5, and 7 and he only played only 36 seconds in Game 6 of that series.
In free agency, McDaniels bolted for the Toronto Raptors securing a 2-year $9.2 million deal. It was a little surprising to see him leave, but he explained his decision on Saturday before his Raptors took on the Sixers.
“I don’t even know what happened,” said McDaniels. “I thought I was (coming back to the Sixers). I guess it was a better opportunity. A team wanted me, gave me money, stuff like that I guess you could say, so I had to take it.”
Along with the basketball stuff, it appears that his decision to join Toronto was something of a business decision. He did not like the offer the Sixers gave him.
“It was just like a minimum-type thing,” he said. “Yeah, I couldn’t do that, you know?”
Despite the short time in Philadelphia, McDaniels described his time with the Sixers as fun. He was able to learn from superstars like Joel Embiid and James Harden and got to experience the postseason for the first time in his career.
“It was a fun time, you know?” he reminisced. “Being on the court with superstars and stuff like that, it was just a whole different vibe. I learned a lot from those guys. It was just different. I liked it a lot. It was cool, you feel me? When I seen everybody today, it was normal like ‘How y’all doing?’ For me, it was all love. So it was cool.”