June 24, 2022
The Sixers made what can be qualified as a minor splash during the NBA Draft Thursday night, flipping Danny Green and their first round pick for De'Anthony Melton — a Memphis 3-and-D guard who'll be one of their best (if not the best) bench players next season.
But perhaps just as noteworthy as what they did pull off during the draft is what they did not. With rumors swirling that Daryl Morey was targeting several of his former players, including Eric Gordon, the Sixers reportedly were working the phones trying to close a three-team deal that would have netted them James Harden's former backcourt mate.
The Inquirer's Keith Pompey says there were quite a few deals that were discussed but not consummated.
Morey really wanted to add Gordon on draft night via a three-team trade, according to sources.
However, teams wanted to deal with the Sixers exclusively rather than help facilitate a deal to get Gordon from Houston, sources say. The Portland Trail Blazers were willing to make a straight-up deal for Thybulle, according to sources.
Morey is also trying to pursue former Houston power forward P.J. Tucker in free agency, according to league sources.
All this comes after Morey acquired former Houston star James Harden in a blockbuster trade with the Brooklyn Nets on Feb. 10.
But the Sixers’ quest to acquire Gordon on Thursday night come months after they refused to include Thybulle in the package that eventually brought Harden to Philadelphia. [Inquirer.com]
The reporting from Pompey raises more questions than it answers. Who exactly where the Blazers offering the Sixers straight up for Thybulle? Draft picks they could've aggregated and used for a larger deal in the future?
With Danny Green now gone, finding the correct package of players to acquire Gordon and his $18 million is a little more tricky and perhaps the issue on that front is finding a desirable offering to entice Houston.
And finally there is the Tucker piece. If the soon-to-be free agent hits the open market he is likely to demand around $10 million a year. The Sixers cannot offer him that and due to their trade for Melton Thursday they have less by way of mid level exception to throw Tucker's way. A sign and trade would make sense but once again and with his foot out the door in Miami, perhaps that's the route for acquiring the defender whom has received praise from Joel Embiid earlier this offseason.
Melton was drafted by Morey four years ago in Houston. It appears even more of his former players could be heading to Philly. The man himself made it clear after the draft that he'll do whatever it takes to make this a contending roster.
“We’re trying to win now,” Morey said (h/t NBCSP). “We’re looking for players who can contribute. We were the No. 1 defense two years ago. We were good last year. We want to make sure we improve that.”
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