Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey has always been obsessed with NBA star power.
For better or for worse, the long-time Houston Rockets general manager has viewed NBA stars are the most valuable commodity in the NBA and has been willing to do almost anything to acquire one of those truly elite players. Unfortunately for the 76ers that mindset reportedly meant standing pat when it came to acquiring Kyle Lowry at the 2021 NBA trade deadline.
“Opinions differ on Philadelphia’s decision not to pursue Lowry harder, but there is a consensus around the league that Morey resisted because he’s angling for an even greater star,” the Ringer’s Kevin O’Conner reported. “He’s thinking about stars like Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal becoming available. CJ McCollum or Zach LaVine could also appeal to Philadelphia if they are put on the table.”
While Lowry certainly isn’t on the same level as some of those superstar players, he could have been a difference-maker for the 76ers who were eliminated from the playoffs on Sunday night. The problem for Philadelphia was Toronto’s asking price which Morey seemed to indicate was way too much following the deadline.
Instead of trading for Lowry, the 76ers made a much smaller move to acquire George Hill from the Oklahoma City Thunder. Ultimately, the deal didn’t have the kind of impact Philadelphia had hoped for. Hill averaged just 4.7 points and 1.7 assists in the playoffs.
Now, the 76ers have some re-evaluating to do. It’s possible one of those stars Morey had hoped for becomes available in the next few months and Philadelphia will still have the draft picks and young assets like Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle to get a deal done, but opportunities to win a championship don’t come around very often.
Whether or not Lowry actually would have put the 76ers over the edge and brought Philadelphia its first championship since 1983 will never be known, but holding out or a better option this season certainly looks like the wrong decision today.