A team source confirmed Wednesday that the 76ers are in advanced talks to make Daryl Morey their President of Basketball Operations. The expectation is that the deal will be finalized as early as this weekend. Elton Brand will remain General Manager. Two weeks ago, Morey stepped down from his role as General Manager of the Houston Rockets. At first, the parting seemed mutual, as the Rockets had failed to make a championship run in Orlando. Still, it is obviously possible that Morey wanted a new challenge and saw a looming financial crisis in Houston.
It is reasonable to wonder if the Rockets’ ownership’s financial struggles had more to do with Daryl Morey’s departure than previously thought. Tilman Fertitta’s fortune has come from the mid-scale restaurant business. He is CEO of Landry’s. The pandemic has devastated that sector, and it is slow to recover. The Rockets are in for some challenging times, and Morey has never been one to rebuild. However, the tree might not fall far from the apple. Someone who might have the acumen, risk tolerance, and temperament to assist in Houston? Sam Hinkie
If you appreciated Sam Hinkie’s aggressive nature and risk tolerance, Morey would appeal to you. He has been aggressive in his pursuit of star players. That aggression was on full display when he famously pried James Harden away from Oklahoma City. Further, he has taken huge gambles with acquiring Chris Paul and Russell Westbrook. Morey is clearly a believer in the mantra “Fortune Favors The Bold.”
It’s hard to overstate Morey’s influence in the modern sporting world. He founded and oversaw the Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, which runs each year at MIT. Daryl Morey’s creation has become an annual retreat for the sporting world to compare notes. The Painted Lines has attended the Conference since 2018. Sloan forges many connections, formal and informal, at this 2-day event.
Morey is a leading voice in the application of analytics in basketball and its wider adoption across all sports. As the Sloan Analytics conference has grown, front offices across the sports world have adopted the principles first referred to as Sabermetrics. Sam Hinkie was hired away from Houston in 2013 to aggressively adopt analytics in all phases of the Philadelphia 76ers organization.
After Brett Brown’s firing, Elton Brand emphasized that the team had relied upon analytics too heavily in the past. Doc Rivers and Daryl Morey represent strong counterpoints, philosophically speaking. It will be interesting to watch how the free-flowing motivator in Doc Rivers meshes with the Morey front office’s advanced analytics bend.