If there was a scouting report on Daryl Morey, under strengths it would read — “uncanny ability to never get blamed for creating disasters.”
The Ben Simmons fiasco hit an all-time high on Tuesday when Doc Rivers kicked the Sixers’ starting point guard out of practice. Mind you, this was only a day after Simmons was seen “participating” in drills at practice with his phone in his pocket — because you never know when Rich Paul could call about a potential trade destination.
“It wasn’t a big deal,” Rivers said, as he continues to try to downplay this dumpster fire that everyone else can see from miles away as if the Sixers haven’t fined Simmons $1.4M for his absences from preseason games, practices, workouts, and meetings. According to Woj, Simmons hasn’t been paid since October 11. “I told him he should leave then, and we just went on with practice,” Rivers explained.
This entire situation has been a case study in passive-aggressiveness by Rivers, with a dash of “man, I don’t know,” by Joel Embiid.
But, while the red flags we’ve seen from Simmons over the last few months have been evident since college, and Rivers and Embiid have only hurt — not help — this situation, the one person who is responsible for fixing this has been nowhere to be found — Morey, the Sixers’ team president. And according to The Athletic, Morey thought this situation would magically fix itself:
“Simmons has mentally checked out of Philadelphia, as The Athletic has reported for some time, but now that the All-Defensive stalwart is back in the city around the franchise, tensions have risen. In Simmons’ first meeting with team personnel last week, a meeting that included Rivers, president of basketball operations Daryl Morey and general manager Elton Brand, sources said Simmons reiterated that he was not mentally ready to rejoin the team after the past several months. The past several months, of course, included Rivers and Joel Embiid criticizing him after the Game 7 loss to the Atlanta Hawks. Rivers, Morey and Brand asked Simmons to be present, expecting the situation to be back to normal, but it still isn’t.”
Morey has a long history of pouring gasoline on volatile situations and then being able to get away scot-free despite the evidence pointing to him as the culprit.
If you hate all the three-point shooting in the NBA and think the Warriors are to blame — they’re not, it’s all Morey’s fault. During the 2013-2014 season, Portland led the league in 3-point attempts per game at 25.3. In February of 2014, Grantland wrote a story when Morey was in charge in Houston called “Daryl Morey’s D-League Plan to Do Away With Midrange Shots,” as he wanted the team to focus on three-pointers, dunks, and layups. The very next season, the Rockets led the league in 3-point attempts by shooting 32.7 per contest, which was seven more than the league leader the year prior. From 2016-2020 the Rockets averaged between 40-45 three-point attempts per game under Morey’s reign, yet most fans point to Steph Curry and Klay Thompson as the guilty parties.
Remember when the NBA was in the middle of a public relations and financial disaster with China that could have cost them an estimated between $150-$200 million?
Do you know whose fault that was?
“In the last 12 months, I had moments where I thought I might never work in the NBA again, for reasons I was willing to go down for,” said Morey last December. His “FIGHT FOR FREEDOM STAND WITH HONG KONG,” tweet really pissed off the league’s biggest global partner.
“I’m very comfortable with what I did,” Morey explained, as he said his tweet was in solidarity with his longtime friends from Hong Kong. “But I was extremely concerned. You don’t want the second-most powerful government on Earth mad at you, if you can avoid it. In this case, I couldn’t.”
Morey’s unfortunate saving grace was that his tweet happened before David Stern and Kobe Bryant died, and in a world in which no one knew what COVID-19 was. Then came The Bubble and all the happenings that took place in the Summer of 2020, and after a few months people just forgot about the damage that Morey created.
Oh yeah, there was also the way that the James Harden fallout happened when he left the Rockets, which also led to Morey stepping down as general manager in Houston before he was hired as team president in Philly — where he’s in the middle of more drama with Simmons, due to his inaction and silence — again.
It’s easy to point the finger at Simmons right now, as he’s making himself the easiest of targets. But, just know that he’s the rotten fruit from a poisonous tree. Besides, what do you expect when a coach goes full-Brett Bielema on a star player?
Daryl Morey is the equivalent to the “experts” on Married at First Sight who keep getting employed to pick people as good matches for marriage, all for it to usually go down in flames while fans tune into the show and place blame on the couple instead of the folks who thought they would be a good fit. And while Morey isn’t the reason why Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, or Doc Rivers are in Philly, he’s the only reason why any of them are still there, and he refuses to do anything about it while people are blaming everyone else but him — again.