In an interview on "The Rights to Ricky Sanchez" on Wednesday, Philadelphia 76ers president Daryl Morey said that the front office had another viable Ben Simmons trade option leading up to last Thursday's deadline.
"Obviously, lots of options that we had to consider," Morey said on the podcast. "I think anytime you lock in one path, one scenario, you get in trouble in this league. And it's those other options that allow you to make the right deals and things like that. So I would say we had one other -- I would call it almost a very good option that we liked, but then it looked like the James thing could happen, so."
CBS Sports HQ Newsletter
Your Ultimate Guide to Every Day in Sports
We bring sports news that matters to your inbox, to help you stay informed and get a winning edge.
Thanks for signing up!
Keep an eye on your inbox.
There was an error processing your subscription.
Morey said that, "maybe three or four days out," Philadelphia "pretty heavily explored" this mystery deal. "And then, for reasons that would reveal who i'm talking about, I can't really say why it sort of shifted, but it shifted."
In the end, if the Harden deal -- or another one that would have given the Sixers "a real shot" at winning the title -- hadn't materialized, then they would have been OK with standing pat, Morey said, reiterating the position he has taken since Simmons' offseason trade request.
"I think you guys don't believe me," Morey said, "but it's true: You have to be comfortable with your status quo. We had a whole plan of convincing Ben to come back to play. Who knows how successful that would have been? It didn't seem to make a lot of sense to push on that option until we had to do it."
Morey said that there would have been "a lot of persuasion" from the Sixers' side: "There was a lot of planning. What will be said, who will say it, what meetings. Me, with the, you know, trying to convince Ben to come back. It would have been very demeaning. I would have been doing whatever it took, let's just put it that way."
Aside from the Harden trade and the mystery trade, Morey said that Philadelphia's other options at the deadline would have "just made us the same, but made us worse later."
In various interviews dating back to his time with the Houston Rockets, Morey has talked about making decisions with his team's championship odds in mind. This year's Sixers, he said, had about a three-percent chance to win the title before the trade, with Simmons sitting out, and about a five-percent chance factoring in the possibility that Simmons could return. After the trade, he said, their internal numbers give them championship odds of "around 13 to 15" percent.
"I would say there are five teams with almost the same odds, which I've never seen before," Morey said. "It's Phoenix, Golden State, us, Milwaukee (and) Brooklyn (that) all have about the same odds. All somewhere in the 12-to-15-percent range."
Morey was also forthcoming on the subject of the buyout market. "We're probably going to have one buyout (addition)," he said. "I think we're pretty close. I'm actually annoyed we haven't been able to announce it yet. So, 'buyout imminent' -- headline!" He even hinted that the buyout guy will be a big man.
After the interview, co-hosts Michael Levin and Spike Eskin speculated about the mystery trade: If the target was Bradley Beal, then perhaps it was nixed by the news that Beal needed season-ending surgery. If the potential trade involved the Sacramento Kings, then the deal that sent Tyrese Haliburton to the Indiana Pacers might have nixed it.
As for the buyout guy, hmm! Drew Eubanks and Moses Brown cleared waivers earlier this week. Willie Cauley-Stein has been a free agent for a while. It's clearly not Tristan Thompson, unless Rick Carlisle got bad information.