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Philadelphia 76ers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey said Thursday on 97.5 The Fanatic that the MVP-esque play of Joel Embiid this season has slightly expanded the list of players they’d consider acquiring in a trade for Ben Simmons, from about 30 to 40 names.
But Morey added that he believes “it’s less likely than likely” a deal will be completed by the Feb. 10 NBA trade deadline.
The Sixers find themselves at an interesting crossroads. On one hand, failing to move Simmons before the deadline and watching him sit out the entire season potentially wastes a year of his prime. These Sixers have been solid but don’t appear to be title contenders without a second star.
On the other hand, making a bad trade for the sake of shipping out Simmons risks wasting several more years of Embiid’s prime with a roster that’s still unable to compete for titles.
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Daryl Morey defends the idea that it may take until the offseason to move Ben Simmons in a trade: pic.twitter.com/X9vnqbPW0L
“If [fans] think we’re burning the season away without trading Ben, we’re not only burning this season away if we trade Ben away for something that makes everyone feel good, we’re also burning away all the other future seasons,” Morey said. “So in essence we’re burning way more by doing a marginal trade than if we are patient.”
It’s a fair point, though the natural counterpoint is that if teams aren’t willing to give the Sixers what they want for Simmons this season, what guarantee is there that a better trade will materialize over the summer?
One thing seems clear, though: The Sixers are active in the trade market and open to moving Simmons if the right trade comes along.
“We would like to add to this team,” Morey said. “We have got to do whatever we can to help [Embiid]. If something makes sense for the Sixers, we are going to do that.”
The Sixers currently sit at 26-18, fifth in the Eastern Conference. Their success largely comes down to the incredible play of Embiid, who is averaging 28.0 points, 10.6 rebounds, 4.2 assists, 1.4 blocks and 1.1 steals per game while shooting 49.4 percent from the field and 37.5 percent from three.
With Simmons refusing to play for the team and Tobias Harris stuck in something of a down year (18.2 PPG, 31.3 percent from three), Embiid has had to be massive. He’s answered the call. Now, fans are just hoping Morey can get Embiid a star running mate to ease his burden.