Deep sea fishermen always linger into deeper waters in search of bigger catches. Relentless in his efforts to achieve his goals, the same can be said of the Sixers under Daryl Morey. Stadium’s Shams Charania says the latest goal involves Kyrie Irving:
Shams Charania mentioning again how the 76ers are one of three suitors for Kyrie Irving. pic.twitter.com/2Hy78f2zBA— Aidan Doc🧸 (@AidanDoc_) July 3, 2022
But, there’s this from Paul Hudrick of Liberty Ballers:
Source says the Sixers are not actively pursuing Kyrie Irving and that the likelihood of an Eric Gordon trade this summer is very low. On Gordon — difficult to make salaries match, talks with Houston didn’t evolve after draft.— Paul Hudrick (@PaulHudrick) July 3, 2022
A league source re-affirmed Hudrick’s report. They added that Philadelphia doesn’t expect to be involved.
Philadelphia’s involvement makes little sense from a chemistry standpoint, at least intuitively speaking. The Sixers acquired star guard James Harden from the Nets at the February trade deadline. He wanted out of Brooklyn because the situation was not what he envisioned. Harden arrived with the idea that he would be part of a three-headed monster next to Kevin Durant and Irving. A little more than a year later, he departed because Durant was shelved with a knee injury and Irving was unable to play games because he refused to get vaccinated. That refusal to get vaccinated was in advocation of a holier-than-thou cause for those who lost their jobs because they, too, refused to get vaccinated.
So, why would the Sixers trade for a mercurial guard from whom their own mercurial guard ostensibly wanted to get away?
Sources familiar with the dynamic in Brooklyn indicate that the perception that Harden and Irving didn’t get along is overstated. One source described Irving and Harden as “acquaintances”. Multiple sources dismissed the notion that there is bad blood between the two guards.
The same applies to Durant’s feelings about Harden. Durant famously chose Rudy Gobert over Harden with the final pick in the All-Star Draft after the blockbuster that sent Harden to Philadelphia. But, it appears as though the two-time former teammates are on good terms. A league source rejected the idea that Durant dislikes Harden. Durant doesn’t have bad blood with Harden over the departure, the source added. That same source threw cold water on the idea that there was animosity between the three stars.
A source insisted that the Lakers remain the end-goal for Irving.
The Nets’ interest in Russell Westbrook seems to lie in the fact that his contract expires after the 2022-23 season.
It’s better for the Sixers that Irving and the Lakers are fixated on one another. Irving’s unpredictable nature overwhelms his top-10 talent. He’s only good to any team if he’s on the court. There’s more harm than good in dedicating maximum money to a player liable to take an unannounced hiatus on any given day.
The Sixers’ leadership and chemistry appear strong. But, Irving’s tendencies threaten that bond. And this writer isn’t convinced the Sixers have the individual talent to overcome a failing synergy.
There are teams that have good reason to pursue Irving, but the Sixers aren’t one of them.