Sixers GM looks ahead to ‘big offseason,’ says team wants to add pieces around Embiid and Maxey

“I owe it to the fans, to ownership, to everybody to get this team in a place where we're competing for championships,” Daryl Morey said.

Daryl Morey

Philadelphia 76ers General Manager Daryl Morey addressed the media during a press conference on May 6, 2024 at the team's practice facility in Camden. (Cory Sharber/WHYY)

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The Philadelphia 76ers offseason will be “a big one,” according to team’s general manager, Daryl Morey.

With All-Stars Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey, the team is looking to add the best talent available after falling in the first round of the NBA playoffs to the New York Knicks.

Morey said the team will build around Embiid and Maxey, as more than half of the Sixers players’ contracts will be off the books this summer, including Tobias Harris, who put up zero points in the final game of his five-year, $180 million contract.

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Morey said Embiid, Maxey and head coach Nick Nurse give him confidence that the team’s on the right track toward a championship, but there’s no direct path for building the perfect squad.

“There isn’t a formula,” Morey said. “Everyone wants to find a pattern and there isn’t one. The pattern is have really good players and have them better than all the teams you’re going to play.”

Morey said the team is “in the window to win now” and will be focusing on getting the best players to fit with their two stars.

“I owe it to the fans, to ownership, to everybody to get this team in a place where we’re competing for championships,” Morey said. “We obviously didn’t achieve that this year… We’re very well situated to use all the tools, trade, free agency, draft, to upgrade the team and, you know, we’re going to put every single effort into that.”

Morey praised Maxey’s jump in quality this year, for which he was named the NBA’s Most Improved Player after averaging 25.9 points, 6.2 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 1.0 steals per game during the regular season. Morey believes Maxey can be the “second best player on a championship team” and that people should learn “not to bet against Tyrese.”

“The step he took this year is extremely hard and for sure not a given that he would have done it,” Morey said. “Look, you become the primary guy in the scouting report, that’s a huge adjustment… I thought it was quite challenging for him, but to his credit, working with our coaching staff and watching a ton of video, and then just getting used to how people were going to guard him, he really took that step forward.”

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Morey said he will work closely with Embiid for the team’s next steps. The former MVP missed significant playing time during the regular season with a meniscus injury. Embiid also dealt with a mild case of Bell’s palsy during the playoffs.

During the offseason, Embiid was named to the U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team. While some fans may be clamoring for him to rest up for next season, Morey said the team “will always support Joel.”

“I was lucky to be at his celebration when he became a U.S. citizen. He’s incredibly proud to be a U.S. citizen,” Morey said. “It’s a dream of his to represent the United States in the Olympics. I think it’s important to support the dreams of your best player.”

Regarding the team’s biggest need, Morey said adding “someone at the wing who can play and deliver at a high level in the playoffs” will be the top priority this offseason.

Notable players that could fill the void include current Lakers and Clippers forwards Lebron James and Paul George, who both have player options on their contracts, and Miami Heat star and former Sixer Jimmy Butler, who had a somewhat messy split with the team.

Morey said some of the team’s mid-season acquisitions — specifically Kelly Oubre, Kyle Lowry and Cam Payne — added to the team’s performance this past season. However, with the sheer number of players not under contract for next year, Morey said, “We’re definitely not getting them all back.”

When asked how he would grade his own tenure in Philly, Morey said he’s “disappointed” with the level of success the team has reached and it’s “to be written” how much better the team can get under his watch.

“We should have gone farther,” Morey said. “All I can do is come back in, get with our front office and our coaching staff, work with our great players on what’s next and give ourselves the best chance to win next year.”

The Sixers will have roughly $65 million in cap space to play with in free agency, according to the Associated Press.

Saturdays just got more interesting.

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