clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Maybe Morey has ‘something up his sleeve’ but this offseason has been torturous

It’s now the slowest time on the NBA calendar and yet the Sixers’ offseason leaves us with more questions than answers.

If you buy something from an SB Nation link, Vox Media may earn a commission. See our ethics statement.

Boston Celtics v Philadelphia 76ers - Game Six Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images

To be a Sixers fan — or really a Philly sports fan in general — you basically have to be a masochist. The shared pain and suffering of the Delaware Valley unites everyone in both a sacred and profane way.

Since franchise icon Allen Iverson was traded in 2006, the moments of joy have been fleeting — and those moments have generally been followed by organizational meltdowns. The failures and disappointments are too numerous to list here.

As yet another offseason of discontent trudges on after another postseason disaster, it’s difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel. Perhaps Daryl Morey still has “something up his sleeve,” but with so much uncertainty hanging over the 2023-24 Sixers, this offseason has been nothing short of torturous.

The James Harden saga — like the Ben Simmons saga before it — feels like the scene in A Clockwork Orange where Alex’s eyes are propped open for aversion therapy.

Here’s an update that the Sixers would like to keep Harden.

Here’s an update that Harden still wants to be traded.

Here’s an update with both.

Oh, what fun!

Harden’s preferred destination and seemingly best fit is the Clippers. Reports are L.A. isn’t willing to offer much. So, as much as the idea of moving Harden for a young player like Terance Mann and draft picks sounds great, it’s likely not based in reality. Harden is on an expiring deal and can again test free agency next offseason. Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, who have been as banged up as any players in the NBA, are both due big extensions. With that type of uncertainty, why would the Clippers sell off valuable future assets for one year of Harden? They’d have to be convinced he’s the missing piece.

As for the Sixers, the messaging remains the same: they won’t move Harden unless the trade makes sense in the team’s desire to contend now. Harden is under contract and the team is in no hurry to move him — if they move him at all.

If you’re hoping Harden gets dealt, it seems a bigger trade could be the better option. There’s been cold water thrown on Zach LaVine-to-the-Sixers rumors. The Sixers and Bulls reportedly haven’t discussed this idea since before the draft, but since those conversations took place and could just as easily resume, we can throw landing the two-time All-Star into the maybe pile. If LaVine or another All-Star-caliber player is what Morey’s got up his sleeve, maybe the current desire to shove toothpicks in your eyes will be worth it.

There have also been whispers this offseason about Tobias Harris and his expiring contract. There have been no substantive talks with other teams for Harris and it appears Morey is in zero rush to move the veteran forward. It looks like (for now) the Sixers will be content to go into training camp in a couple months with both Harden and Harris on the roster.

“Patience” and “flexibility” are two buzzwords we hear with the Sixers. We already know Morey can be inhumanly patient when it comes to trades. It’s how a good executive should operate — but it doesn’t mean we currently have to enjoy it or that it guarantees success. As far as flexibility, if there’s some sort of grand plan to run it back this year and hope that OG Anunoby wants to reunite with his former head coach next offseason ... yeah, that’s a pretty good plan.

But that’s a hard sell to a reigning MVP and rabid fan base.

Oh yeah, as if all this chaos wasn’t enough, Joel Embiid said some stuff over the weekend. He might’ve just been messing with everyone. Either way, it made for a fun Monday morning!

Remember in 2019 when everyone wanted the Sixers to run it back (there were shirts made and everything) and they didn’t? Now, nobody wants the team to run it back, but we appear to be hurtling toward that scenario — but with more centers!

One glimmer of hope: new head coach Nick Nurse on a Sirius XM podcast hinted that Morey might, in fact, have something up his sleeve.

“There’s a lot of talk about what the roster looks like today,” Nurse said, “but I don’t think that’ll be the same roster that hits training camp.”

From your lips to God’s ears, Nick.

As much as some of us would rather gouge our eyes out than keep up with the latest Sixers slop, what choice do we have? Enjoy our summer crushing a buffalo chicken cheesesteak from Russo’s and slugging a couple Tan Limes from Cape May Brewing Co. on the beach?

No, thanks!

Until Morey has his big reveal, we’ll all be suffering comfortably together.

Sign up for the newsletter Sign up for the Liberty Ballers Daily Roundup newsletter!

A daily roundup of Philadelphia 76ers news from Liberty Ballers