Ever since Daryl Morey joined the Philadelphia 76ers organization in the 2020-2021 offseason, the Sixers have been linked to numerous trades. When James Harden made it clear he wanted nothing to do with the Houston Rockets anymore, Morey was reportedly ready to give up Ben Simmons and a lot more to land the former MVP.
As we know now, Houston never wanted to deal Harden to Philly. Instead, they settled on a deal that sent him to the Brooklyn Nets. Following the Harden talks, Morey and the Sixers reportedly shifted their focus towards Toronto Raptors star Kyle Lowry.
Since the Raptors showed minimal potential of being championship contenders and were even showing signs of missing the postseason in general, Toronto considered dealing their veteran star to a contender since he was in the final year of his contract.
The Sixers were one of several teams willing to make a deal for Lowry, but the Raptors held onto the veteran star when the trade deadline kicked in. Despite missing the opportunity to make a deal for Lowry, many rumors throughout the remainder of the season made it clear that the Sixers will likely still be interested in the North Philly native when the offseason approaches.
However, The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor reports that while the Sixers might still have their sights set on acquiring Lowry -- Morey is likely thinking bigger.
"Opinions differ on Philadelphia’s decision not to pursue Lowry harder, but there is a consensus around the league that Morey resisted because he’s angling for an even greater star. He’s thinking about stars like Damian Lillard or Bradley Beal becoming available. CJ McCollum or Zach LaVine could also appeal to Philadelphia if they are put on the table."
Following a disappointing Game 7 loss in the second round of the playoffs, Sixers point guard Ben Simmons has more question marks surrounding his value at the point guard position than ever. As the Sixers need to surround the franchise cornerstone, Joel Embiid, with a natural star at the position, the Sixers might need to make significant changes this year.
Acquiring Kyle Lowry could be a solid move for Morey, but Portland's Damian Lillard or Washington's Bradley Beal would be a home run for the Sixers. Lillard, who averaged 28 points per game in 67 matchups last season, is unquestionably one of the NBA's top stars at the point guard position.
Being a threat to shoot from anywhere on the floor, Lillard would surely open up Embiid's game, as Embiid's game would do the same for him. As for Beal, he might not have the same range as Lillard from a shooting standpoint, but he's another guard that's crafty and knows how to score.
After all, he averaged 31 points per game, which marked the second-highest average in the NBA this season, just behind Golden State's Steph Curry. Neither guard would come cheap, and Ben Simmons alone doesn't move the needle -- but if the Sixers are serious about moving on from their three-time All-Star and acquiring a natural star at the point guard position, Morey will surely put some calls in for Lillard and Beal.
Justin Grasso covers the Philadelphia 76ers for Sports Illustrated. You can follow him for live updates on Twitter: @JGrasso_.