The Philadelphia 76ers are in a race with the Brooklyn Nets to finish as the No. 1 seed in the Eastern Conference ahead of what they hope is a long postseason run. They’ve surpassed every preseason expectation many laid out for them, as Joel Embiid is playing at an MVP-level, Ben Simmons is a serious contender for Defensive Player of the Year and Doc Rivers has a case for Coach of the Year.
So far, this season couldn’t have gone any better for a team that stumbled out of the postseason in the first round a year ago, which was followed up by firing former coach Brett Brown. But now imagine this team with Chris Paul on the roster as well. Apparently, Philadelphia thought that pairing was possible this past offseason when Oklahoma City made Paul available in trade talks. However, Paul wasn’t interested in playing for the Sixers, according to The Athletic’s Sam Amick.
“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. With Paul targeting Phoenix as the best fit professionally and personally, and Presti in a much-improved negotiating position because of the way Paul had played, the Suns had won the CP sweepstakes.”
While it’s not clearly stated why Paul didn’t want to play in Philadelphia, it could have something to do with his unceremonious exit from Houston and former Rockets general manager Daryl Morey, who is now in charge of the Sixers basketball operations. When Paul was initially traded to OKC, it caught him by surprise, after he was told by Morey that he wouldn’t be traded to the Thunder.
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“I think a lot of guys in this league, you play for a while and you feel like the team at least owes you a conversation, you know what I mean? Like, of course they can do whatever they want to,” Paul said via The Athletic. “You’re under contract, but just to have a conversation with you is respectful enough, I feel. So when that didn’t happen in Houston, it was what it was.”
Fortunately for Paul and the Sixers, everything has seemed to work out so far. Paul is having another resurgent year, leading a surprising Phoenix Suns team to their best season in a decade, while currently holding the No. 2 seed in the West. Meanwhile, Philadelphia has been dominant all season long and hopes to make a deep run in the postseason. It’s tantalizing to think about how great Paul would have been in Philadelphia alongside Embiid and Simmons. But it’s obvious there’s still a bad taste in Paul’s mouth from how things went down with Houston, with Morey being at least somewhat responsible for it.
Published: 2021-04-27 22:22:44
Tags: #76ers #optimistic #trade #Chris #Paul #Suns #star #guard #wasnt #interested #report