Sixers Notes: Maxey, Thybulle, Harden, Millsap

Confirming a series of reports that were published both before and after last week’s Ben Simmons/James Harden blockbuster, Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said on Tuesday that the team viewed it as imperative to hang onto Tyrese Maxey and Matisse Thybulle in that deal.

“Yeah, they were critical [to keep],” Morey said, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. “Tyrese absolutely has the chance to be an All-Star in this league. … Thybulle, I think, easily can be Defensive Player of the Year — after Joel (Embiid) wins it first, he told us. … Both of them, I think, the sky’s the limit. And that’s a big reason why we made sure that they weren’t in this trade.”

While the Sixers were never willing to discuss Maxey, the Nets reportedly pushed for Thybulle, ultimately agreeing to accept two future first-round picks in lieu of one of Philadelphia’s promising young players.

Here’s more on the 76ers:

  • With Harden’s Philadelphia debut delayed until after the All-Star break, the Sixers will only have about a month-and-a-half before the playoffs to adjust to their new-look lineup, but head coach Doc Rivers doesn’t think it will be too challenging to incorporate Harden. “Listen, putting James Harden into an offense is not that hard. It really isn’t,” Rivers said (ESPN story via Bontemps). “I mean, he’s just a terrific basketball player, so you don’t need to overcomplicate it. You know where he’s been great at, you know which direction he wants to go, and so you put him on those sides of the floor.”
  • After pushing to be traded in two consecutive years, Harden has a situation in Philadelphia that’s as good as it gets for him, according to Mike Sielski of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Sielski says that if it doesn’t work out for Harden with the Sixers, he won’t have anywhere else to go, since no other executive in the NBA trusts and believes in the former MVP like Morey does.
  • Although Harden won’t play until at least next week, Paul Millsap made his Sixers debut on Tuesday, scoring nine points in nine minutes. Millsap didn’t get into the game until the fourth quarter, when Philadelphia was already trailing Boston by more than 40 points.
  • In case you missed it, we passed along some of Harden’s comments from his introductory presser on Tuesday, including that he still plans to pick up his $47.4MM player option for 2022/23.
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