Then-Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, according to Chris Paul, told the guard he wouldn’t be traded to the Thunder in 2019. Of course, Morey ultimately traded Paul to the Thunder.
Paul chose the Suns, and Oklahoma City dealt him to Phoenix.
Ironically, sources say Philadelphia — with Morey having taken over the Sixers’ front office just weeks before Paul was sent to the Suns, and his former Clippers coach, Doc Rivers, part of their program too — made a spirited push to land Paul. The Sixers even believed there was some traction on a possible deal. The interest from Paul, however, was not mutual.
The Suns have been awesome with Paul.
But the 76ers have been nearly as good – without Paul. It’s fascinating to consider just how good they would have been with him.
Phoenix paid a relatively modest price for Paul. Philadelphia made a different trade with Oklahoma City late in the offseason. Perhaps, the 76ers could have still sent Al Horford‘s large contract to the Thunder as matching salary in a Paul trade – with additional picks/young players also going to Oklahoma City. Though Danny Green wouldn’t have landed in Philadelphia, the 76ers’ rotation with Paul might not have looked significantly different otherwise.
Joel Embiid still could have been the offensive and defensive engine. Paul and Ben Simmons could have shared point guard duties – Simmons pushing the pace, Paul commandeering the attack once Philadelphia was forced into its halfcourt offense. It’s unclear how Simmons would have fit in those halfcourt sets. But the upside of this more-talented team would have been tantalizing.