The Philadelphia 76ers were one of several teams involved in Kyle Lowry trade discussions ahead of the deadline, but no deal came to fruition and Lowry played out the season with the Toronto Raptors. The Raptors effectively tanked the rest of the season and missed the play-in tournament, while the top-seeded Sixers just suffered a gruesome second-round series loss to the Atlanta Hawks in which they really could have used Lowry’s services.
Opinions around the NBA apparently differ on whether Sixers president Daryl Morey should have pulled the trigger on a trade. However, The Ringer’s Kevin O’Connor reports a consensus on why Morey didn’t do it:
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. 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.
The Raptors were naturally asking for a lot for Lowry, a 35-year-old on an expiring contract. Morey cashing in chips on Lowry would have hurt the pursuit for a bigger star, so it seems he didn’t want to do that.
While this seemed somewhat reasonable at the time given a trade wouldn’t have made the Sixers the NBA Finals favorite, you have to wonder if Morey is kicking himself a bit now. With the unpredictability of these playoffs caused by injuries, which helped knock out the top two favorites in the Brooklyn Nets and Los Angeles Lakers, Philly had a great opportunity to win it all.
Instead, the Sixers squandered that opportunity and are now looking at potentially huge changes, with Ben Simmons’ name already being thrown around as part of trade speculation. O’Connor says executives view a Simmons-for-CJ McCollum swap as “reasonable.” Those other stars mentioned don’t seem to be available at this time.