Philadelphia 76ers fans have been dying for a completion to the excruciating Ben Simmons saga. In recent weeks, Sacramento Kings guard Tyrese Haliburton had become the answer. The 21-year-old Haliburton hit the perfect sweet spot as a great fit who would both be able to help the team this season and still offer plenty of runway for a higher ceiling in the future. Plus, he didn’t come across as a pie-in-the-sky pipe dream like Damian Lillard. It seemed as though Sixers President of Basketball Operations Daryl Morey was in agreement, pulling up just short of the line of tampering during a recent 97.5 radio interview.
In his interview with 97.5 The Fanatic, Daryl Morey says the 76ers are open to more trade possibilities because of how high of level Joel Embiid is playing.— Harrison Sanford (@HarrisonSanford) January 20, 2022
As opposed to getting a Top 30 player, the team could opt for a “top 40 player that is a great fit”
By all accounts, the Kings were very willing trade partners. Reports at one point had everyone on their roster on the block. They were agreeable to taking on Tobias Harris’ contract. They had picks thrown into the discussion. However, they weren’t going to give up all of those things at once. Reading the tea leaves, it seems like Daryl Morey overplayed his hand, swinging for the fences rather than taking the base hit to the opposite field. Swinging for the fences, though, leaves you more prone to striking out, and the Sacramento Kings presumably had enough with Morey not being willing to meet somewhere in the middle.
ESPN Sources: The Sacramento Kings – one of the most aggressive teams in the market and once an eager suitor for Philadelphia’s Ben Simmons – have ended pursuit of a deal with the 76ers and turned elsewhere in trade talks. Story soon.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) January 28, 2022
The Kings being reportedly out of the Simmons market is a shame, because in Saturday night’s on-court contest between the two clubs, Tyrese Haliburton channeled the long-time L’Oréal slogan: “Because I’m Worth It.” He nearly led the Kings to the upset win on the road, dropping a career-high 38 points, shooting 11-of-19 from the field, 5-of-9 from three-point range, and 11-of-12 from the foul line, while adding seven assists and three steals against just two turnovers. Every single fan in the Wells Fargo Center would have been willing to toss Haliburton their house keys so he had someone to stay while they went out and drove Ben Simmons to the airport.
Honestly, what more do you really need to see from a player?
The capability to hit contested shots?
Elite range as a spot-up threat?
The ability to navigate as the lead ball-handler out of the pick-and-roll?
Even more pick-and-roll prowess?
Nothing fazes Tyrese Haliburton anymore— Will Locklin (@locklin_will) January 30, 2022
Gets blitzed off the screen but uses a hesitation into a wrap pass around Embiid that perfectly leads his roll man pic.twitter.com/g6Sk8ms9ky
Good activity and awareness defensively?
You want tough shot-making in the clutch?
Tyrese Haliburton is just freestyling out here pic.twitter.com/sq5U0DWpMm— DGC (@Itamar_17_10) January 30, 2022
Not tough enough for you?
Wild 3 from Tyrese Haliburton pic.twitter.com/CDo83o4wby— Leigh Ellis (@LeighEllis) January 30, 2022
Oh, and to top it all off, he’s a good teammate:
Haliburton on his career-best 38-point performance, “I think the guys around me put me in a position to succeed.” pic.twitter.com/xNz6dbtYNf— James Ham (@James_HamNBA) January 30, 2022
His could-have-been Sixers teammates were clearly impressed:
I know Daryl Morey reportedly has his heart set on former flame, James Harden. I’m sure he knows things we in the general public don’t and those things are guiding his decision-making. But if the Harden smoke did become fire, you don’t think Haliburton would be a more than acceptable return for Brooklyn in an opt-in-and-trade situation? I understand Simmons’ contract makes things smoother, but there are still paths to making it work. And if Brooklyn wins the title and Harden wants to stay, or if he comes to the realization that it’s also cold during the winter in Philadelphia, you have Haliburton, who will probably be a better player than Harden in a handful of years as he enters his prime and The Beard’s career winds down. Plus, you’re doing everything possible to assist Joel Embiid in his quest for a title during this current season.
So Daryl, I implore you to mend this relationship with Sacramento. Stop insisting on Tobias Harris being included. Don’t ask for a half-decade’s worth of draft assets. Simmons for Haliburton, other matching contracts, and maybe one protected first if you need to scratch that draft capital itch.
Haliburton’s the guy.