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Reports: Sixers in advanced talks with Daryl Morey

The former Houston GM reportedly is finalizing a deal to become President of Basketball Operations in Philadelphia.

Daryl Morey parted ways with the Rockets in mid-October after 13 years with the franchise.

The Philadelphia 76ers are nearing a deal to hire former Houston Rockets GM Darly Morey, according to reports from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN and Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Morey reportedly would become the team’s President of Basketball Operations with GM Elton Brand remaining in his current role. According to Wojnarowski, the deal is expected to be completed in the next few days.

Morey stepped down as GM of the Rockets earlier this month after blockbuster moves that failed to lead the franchise to the NBA Finals. The Rockets made the playoffs 10 times since Morey was hired in 2007, including the last eight seasons, for the longest active streak in the NBA.

He was responsible for the trade that brought James Harden to Houston from Oklahoma City. The Rockets reached the Western Conference finals twice under Morey but were unable to win their first championship since consecutive titles in 1994-95.

Houston went 640-400 under Morey and won a franchise-record 65 regular-season games in the 2017-18 season.

The Sixers named Doc Rivers coach this month as they chase their first NBA championship since 1983. They also brought in former Saint Joseph’s star and NBA player Jameer Nelson as a scout and hired former Pacers executive Peter Dinwiddie as executive vice president of basketball operations. Prosper Karangwa was hired away from Orlando and brought in as VP of player personnel.

According to Wojnarowski, Morey has a “strong relationship and history” with Rivers. The two of them – along with Brand – will be tasked with retooling the roster around All-Star centerpieces Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Brand said after he fired Brown in August that he doesn’t plan to trade either of his two top stars.

“I’m not looking to trade Ben or Joel,” Brand said days after the season ended. “I’m looking to complement them better. They are 24 and 26 years old, respectively. You try to make that fit as long as you can. They want to be here, they want to be with our organization and I see them here for a long, long time.”

Morey follows in the footsteps of Sam Hinkie, the former GM who designed “The Process” in Philadelphia — the act of stripping the roster of talent in order to rebuild through draft picks and salary cap space to go after big stars. Hinkie worked under Morey in Houston before taking the job in Philadelphia and led the Sixers through one of the worst stretches of basketball in NBA history.

The Sixers eventually gave up on Hinkie’s grand design and churned through GMs and the Brett Brown coaching era with little to show for it. They went to back-to-back Eastern Conference semifinal appearances but were swept by Boston in the first round this season, which led to Brown’s exit.

The Sixers believed they were ready to contend for their first championship in 37 years and Brand spent $180 million to re-sign Tobias Harris and nearly $100 million to sign free agent Al Horford away from Boston. Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid emerged from The Process to become All-Stars and earn hefty contracts but have yet to prove they can carry the Sixers into serious championship contention.

The Sixers had only snippets of consistent success and Brown paid the price. Team owners Josh Harris and David Blitzer have been aggressive at reshaping the front office while keeping Brand aboard as the face of the organization.

Hinkie started The Process and now it’s up to Morey, if hired, to finally complete what his onetime underling started. He’d have to get right to work. The Sixers have the No. 21 pick in the first round and four second-round selections in the Nov. 18 draft.


Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.