Daryl Morey

Morey sings Hield's praises, details thinking behind deadline moves 

Morey called the new Sixer “the best player at the trade deadline that was traded.”

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At a trade deadline that involved more marginal tinkering than dramatic, league-altering deals, Daryl Morey came away quite pleased that Buddy Hield is a Sixer.

“I feel like we got the best player at the trade deadline that was traded,” the Sixers’ president of basketball operations said Friday night. “I felt like he gave us exactly what we were looking for, which is he’s one of the best three-point shooters in NBA history. We really like what he adds to the team and we feel like our healthy group, our playoff rotation with Buddy Hield is right there with everyone in the entire league.”

Morey covered much of the ground you would’ve expected during his press conference. After trading for Hield and Cameron Payne, he believes the Sixers are well-positioned on multiple fronts — the buyout market (three open roster spots), this postseason (top-tier shooter added to the rotation), next offseason (ample flexibility that’s especially advantageous with the NBA’s new, more restrictive CBA). 

He noted the Sixers were “aggressive” in trying to acquire another center, but “they just weren’t available, so it didn’t happen.”

Morey said he’s “hopeful” that Joel Embiid will be able to return from his left knee meniscus injury before the playoffs.

“Feedback has been more good than bad since the first we heard about what led to his procedure,” he said, “so we’re hopeful and we’re building the team to make it better this year. Obviously, it’s not 100 percent, but we felt like with Joel playing at an MVP level — where hopefully he can get back to that — that this is a year we’ve got a real shot.”

Morey later added, “If the hope wasn’t there for Joel, I think it would’ve changed things dramatically. We’re very hopeful.” 

With the 31-year-old Hield, there’s zero career playoff experience to analyze. While acknowledging the postseason is a “different animal,” Morey pointed to the Sixers’ positive assessment of Hield’s play “against better teams” and “in higher-leverage situations” as encouraging indicators. 

The Sixers gave up Marcus Morris Sr. and Furkan Korkmaz in the Hield trade and parted with Danuel House Jr. in another deal Thursday. None of those players appeared likely to make a large impact for the Sixers this year in the playoffs.

Morey’s moves to ship out Patrick Beverley and Jaden Springer invite more scrutiny. 

Beverley is back with Bucks head coach Doc Rivers. The Sixers have widely reported interest in picking up Kyle Lowry on the buyout market. They also like Payne’s outside shooting — 40 percent from three-point range this year, 38.7 percent since 2020 — and his playoff experience. We’ll how everything works out at backup point guard.

Morey called the trade that sent the 21-year-old Springer to the Celtics “pretty straightforward.” The Sixers received a 2024 second-round pick in the deal that will be the most favorable between Chicago’s and New Orleans’. In all likelihood, it'll be the Bulls’ selection; Chicago currently sits at 25-27. 

“Again, we’re focused on winning the title,” Morey said. “We had to look at, ‘What are the odds Jaden Springer — who I think has a great future — will help our playoff rotation in the one, two, three-year maybe horizon? And what are the odds that the second-round pick will help us?’ And we thought the second-round pick helped us more. That’s just the reality. 

“It allows us to go get maybe a veteran at next year’s deadline and things like that. … We thought that was the right move. So yeah, we did it. It sucks. Jaden’s going to be really good, I think. I think his timetable’s a little pushed out, though — (in) our evaluation. And if we’re wrong, we’re wrong, and you guys can all write it — it’s fine. Our evaluation was that his timetable to help a playoff team was further out than what the second-round pick could do for us.”

Meanwhile, in sharing his thoughts on the Sixers’ present situation, Morey was glad to sing Hield’s praises. 

“Look, with Joel and Tyrese (Maxey), he puts the fear of God in other teams,” Morey said of Hield. “The shots are coming; they’re coming in transition, they’re coming deep, they’re coming off actions. You need to pay a lot of attention to Buddy Hield on the court … and that’s super valuable with Joel and Tyrese in opening up things up for them. … We were focused on (when) the playoffs are here, we have a rotation we know can win at a super-high level. 

“Buddy Hield’s going to play significant minutes in that rotation. The only player that moved teams that was going to play a big role in our rotation was Buddy Hield, and I think what he brings to the table is pretty obvious.”

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