The Sixers’ new president of basketball operations, Daryl Morey, insisted during his introductory press conference that he views Joel Embiid as the leader of a championship team rather than a trade piece, Kyle Neubeck of PhillyVoice.com relays.
After the longtime Rockets executive embraced small ball with his former team, there’s been speculation that Embiid’s days in Philadelphia might be numbered. Morey says that’s way off base.
“Joel is a dominant, dominant big man. I’m excited to get back to that,” he said. “I worked with Yao Ming and we got very close [to a title] in Houston with Yao Ming. I think we can go all the way with Joel.”
While Embiid is often colorful and sometimes controversial, Morey sees the oft-injured center as the leader of the team. Morey noted that Embiid has been in the team’s practice facility twice a day working out and getting his body in top condition for next season.
“I’ve talked to him, Elton (Brand) obviously knows him well, Doc (Rivers) has talked to him, he wants to win a championship,” Morey said. “He’s a smart player who knows you only have so many opportunities. He pushed everyone to improve the organization, improve the roster, and frankly I’m excited to go on this journey with Joel and Ben (Simmons) moving forward.”
Morey also addressed a number of other topics:
- Morey originally planned to take a year off after leaving Houston but, somewhat to the dismay of his family, the Sixers’ lobbying efforts won him over, according to Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “Elton and Doc and Josh were relentless, just relentless, as soon as I stepped away. (Rivers) and I have been chatting a lot, and the more you dig into the players that are here, the more you get excited about what this team can do.”
- The Sixers won’t play the same system as the Rockets, who tried to win a championship without a traditional center after trading Clint Capela. “It’s not to take your talent and hammer it into a particular system,” he said. “It’s to try to get the most out of who you have.”
- He didn’t specifically address his controversial tweet about Hong Kong which drew the wrath of the Chinese government but Morey won’t shy away from social issues, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. “I do believe a lot in using this platform to push things that are important,” he said.
- Morey admits the roster needs to be reshaped in order to produce a true title contender, Pompey adds in another tweet. “Our championship team probably is not going to have the same players that we have now,” he said.
- Philadelphia’s pursuit of Morey two years earlier never led to serious negotiations, Derek Bodner of The Athletic tweets. Morey said the talks did not go beyond the preliminary stages and the timing wasn’t right for him to make the move.