De’Anthony Melton can be a Sixer.
Nonetheless, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey couldn’t acknowledge that fairly but throughout his post-NBA draft press convention on the crew’s follow facility in Camden, New Jersey. With the Sixers’ commerce for Melton not finalized by the league, Morey made a wee-hours try to deal with the deal whereas additionally having the ability to declare, if anybody cared to evaluation the tape, that he wasn’t addressing something particular.
“We’re attempting to win now,” Morey mentioned. “We’re on the lookout for gamers who can contribute. We had been the No. 1 protection two years in the past. We had been good final yr. We need to be sure that we enhance that. So if we will get a fringe defender, perhaps for a draft decide, we might really feel superb about that. I feel somebody like that’s somebody who can actually contribute and be a two-way participant. Somebody like that may be a very nice addition.”
The hypothetical participant in query simply so occurs to exist within the type of Melton, who celebrated his twenty fourth birthday final month.
Morey additionally steered that the Sixers view Melton’s youth and contract positively. Melton is due $16.25 million (so long as he is not waived by July 3 of 2023) over the subsequent two years. With Joel Embiid is in his prime, the Sixers need to maximize these seasons.
“I like having a mixture of vets and younger guys who’re pushing the vets,” Morey mentioned. “So I feel we worth draft picks fairly extremely. … Look, it is actually useful while you surrender a decide, however we’re type of in what we expect is an important window.
“Clearly we’ve not made it so far as now we have needed to. So we’re on the lookout for extra ‘win now.’ If we will get somebody perhaps earlier of their profession however already contributing (who) may very well be right here for a very long time, that may be nice, too.”
When requested to look forward, Morey was once more cautious about probably crossing any strains. However he remained constant in his public messaging on James Harden’s contractual state of affairs.
The ten-time All-Star has a $47.4 million participant possibility for subsequent season.
“Effectively, we won’t speak but,” Morey mentioned. “I’d anticipate … Truly, I do not know. We’ll have conversations with him. As you guys have heard, it is a mutual lovefest, so we really feel like we’ll work it out.”
On the Sixers’ method behind Embiid, Morey spoke extra freely.
The crew added two large males late within the second spherical of final yr’s draft, choosing Filip Petrušev fiftieth and Charles Bassey 53rd. Excluding theoretical small-ball choices like Georges Niang and Tobias Harris, the Sixers now have two facilities on their roster behind Embiid. And Paul Reed is the oldest at 23 years previous. Petrušev will play for the Sixers in summer time league after a season with Anadolu Efes in Turkey, in line with Morey, nevertheless it’s clearly in no way sure he’ll have a future in Philadelphia.
“I do know (head coach Doc Rivers) may be very excited with what Paul Reed gave us down the stretch,” Morey mentioned. “And usually guys do not actually contribute a lot of their first yr. … It is a lengthy shot on an incredible, profitable crew like ours, however the hope is that Bassey may contribute in some unspecified time in the future this yr. Paul will hopefully construct on what he did on the finish of final yr.
“Once more, we’ll be opportunistic with an even bigger spend in free company. There can be opportunistic appears to be like at minimal spends. However I feel the bar can be excessive on a minimal spend on the backup middle spot as a result of we really feel like we have got some guys who can contribute.”
Although restricted within the particulars he may reveal, “contribute” was maybe a telling go-to phrase for Morey.
And whereas it would not have made strategic sense to debate the Sixers’ hopes in free company with full candor — any questions on PJ Tucker would’ve been promptly deflected, as an illustration — Morey’s present-oriented perspective was undoubtedly honest.
“Look, (managing associate Josh Harris and co-managing associate David Blitzer) are going to allow us to spend no matter we have to spend,” he mentioned. “The CBA constrains us in sure methods; typically you aren’t getting everybody you need However we expect mapping it out one of the best we will with fairly just a few choices — perhaps eight to 12 that we expect may contribute and could be within the vary of what we’re allowed to do — we really feel fairly good that we would get somebody that’ll contribute and be in our playoff rotation.”