Daryl Morey doesn’t like to duck questions.
“I’m almost too straight a shooter,” he said Monday to Anthony Gargano on 97.5 The Fanatic. “I used to get myself in trouble all the time. (General manager Elton Brand) is already trying to take away my Twitter account.”
While still active on Twitter and still happy to share his thoughts on the Sixers, the team’s new president of basketball operations won’t reveal all of his plans. He did, however, elucidate how he sees things at this stage of the offseason.
“… Again, I said this in my opening presser, teams make a mistake trying to overhaul,” Morey said. “We have certain bullets. We have (the taxpayer mid-level exception), we’ve got future draft picks. We’ve got certain bullets that we can use and I don’t really like using them now. I just don’t. Because the issues we see now … it’s going to be a different set of issues a month into the season.
“I almost guarantee we’re going to say, ‘That’s not quite working’ or ‘End of games isn’t quite working.’ And if we use the bullets now, we’re going to use them on the wrong ones (instead of) when the information is more clear as we get closer to the trade deadline and places like that. I think that is definitely what I like to do, is evaluate and address the gaps as we get closer to the playoffs.”
Morey has made one free-agent signing so far, Dwight Howard on a one-year, minimum salary deal. He clearly feels no rush to fix every perceived deficiency right away.
The taxpayer mid-level exception is worth approximately $5.7 million and can be used on multiple players. It’s possible Morey and the Sixers will use a chunk of that mid-level exception on the buyout market during the season. The contract for 21st pick Tyrese Maxey should be a formality, but the Sixers need to determine what deals second-round selections Isaiah Joe and Paul Reed will receive.
Seth Curry is the only non-rookie Morey has added not on an expiring contract, and the 30-year-old guard is due a reasonable $24.5 million over the next three years. Shooting was an obvious priority in Morey’s first offseason in Philadelphia and so was flexibility, both for this season and future years. Shedding salary in the Al Horford and Josh Richardson trades should open up options for the Sixers down the line.
“One nice thing about the moves is they set us up less constrained in a whole bunch of ways so we can address whatever (head coach Doc Rivers) thinks is the highest need on the team as we get gearing up for the playoffs,” Morey said.
Morey emphasized again Monday that his overriding mission remains building around Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid.
“I think (former Sixers general manager) Sam Hinkie emerged from his groundhog hole, like he does once every four years, and he said it best,” Morey said. “He said, ‘Look, fans went through The Process to get these two guys. Why would we want to move off them?’
"I know we don’t, I know fans don’t. All the fans I talk to love Ben and Joel. Two superstars in their mid-20s, that just never happens. Never happens. … The reason Doc’s here and I’m here, let’s just be clear.”
On another stop in his radio rounds Monday, Morey talked a bit about some of the options available to him besides the Sixers after he stepped down in October as general manager of the Rockets.
“I was hopeful that someone would call but I thought it was going to take at least a year because it was so close to the season,” he said on The Rich Eisen Show. “Usually these times of transition happen quite a bit before. ... I just figured I’d be sitting out at least a year and then evaluating options. So it was pretty cool that a couple NBA teams, an NFL team, a baseball team — couple of places reached out. … Sometimes you just don’t know. You hope that there’s something out there but you don’t know.”
According to Morey, that unnamed NFL team was interested in him serving as GM. He thinks he’s best suited for his current gig.
“I told them I probably don’t know enough,” he said. “It would be very presumptive for me to think I could help an NFL team, but they did reach out. I just figure my skills are just higher and better in the NBA, just with the experience and everything. It was an intriguing idea.”