Philadelphia 76ers: Why would anyone think trading Seth Curry is a good idea?

(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images) /

In a Philadelphia 76ers Reddit AMA session not too long after his hiring, Daryl Morey discussed a cognitive behavior theory called the endowment effect, or, as he calls it, the “Monte McNair Rule.”

The concept is a simple one; people are more likely to retain an object they own than acquire that same object when they do not own it.

In the context of the NBA, specifically when it comes to a trade, the theory suggests that a team and their fans may value a player on their roster more than other teams around the NBA do and thus may overvalue said player when looking to exchange them for another.

This is why some fans believe the Sixers shouldn’t have to include Tyrese Maxey in a trade for a player like Kyle Lowry or why others scoffed at the idea of having to include multiple picks and Matisse Thybulle in a package alongside Ben Simmons to acquire James Harden. We all want to believe that “our guy” is inherently worth more than how some other team evaluates them, and thus, one has to “flip” a trade to see if such a deal makes sense if the shoe was on the other foot, so to speak.

With that concept in mind, how on earth did the Dallas Mavericks think it made sense to trade Seth Curry for a package of Josh Richardson and the 36th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft (eventually used on Tyler Bey)?

Seth Curry very well might be the Philadelphia 76ers’ best value player.

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For all of the hate Josh Richardson gets for his lone season with the Philadelphia 76ers, he really isn’t a bad player.

Sure, in hindsight, the Sixers probably should have targeted a different player when they sign-and-traded Jimmy Butler to the Miami Heat, as Duncan Robinson and Philly’s own Derrick Jones Jr. would have looked darn good in a red, white, and blue jersey, but for what it’s worth, Richardson came more or less as advertised when he arrived in South Philly from the neon lights and temperate weather of South Beach.

With that being said, why Elton Brand decided to target a 6-foot-5 combo guard known predominantly for his defense after drafting Matisse Thybulle in the 2019 NBA Draft and having a pair of quality paint players in Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons who really need to have outside shooting to adequately space the field is anyone’s guess.

That decision, however, was quickly made right by Daryl Morey, as he followed up the immaculate trade of Al Horford and a first to the OKC Thunder for Danny Green, Vincent Poirier, and Terrance Furgeson with an even better deal center around shipping Richardson to his preferred destination of Dallas, Texas.

How ironic is that? Richardson explicitly made it clear that he would not be picking up his option for the 2021-22 season and wanted to be shipped to Dallas, and the Sixers somehow came away from the deal with the absolute perfect player to pair up with Embiid, Simmons, and Doc Rivers’ former pupil, Tobias Harris.

Not only that, but Morey traded Richardson, who could hit free agency at the end of this season, and a high second-round pick for a player who is under contract full-stop through the 2022-23 season for an average annual salary of $8 million. Sure, Curry is three years younger than Richardson, which affects that monetary compensation ever so slightly, but he’s actually appeared in 55 fewer NBA games than his Dallas counterpart and thus should have roughly the same treads on his tires when his 81 G-League games are thrown into the mix.

Even if the Mavericks wanted to make adding veteran players with defensive prowess the main focus of their offseason, surely they had to think that giving up the second-most efficient 3 point shooter in NBA history for Richardson wasn’t the best decision.

Clearly, Morey felt the same way, as he had to surrender an additional asset to get the deal, which tells you right there how Philly valued the two players.

Is Seth Curry the Philadelphia 76ers’ best player? Most certainly not, but he is without a doubt the team’s best value when you consider his entire contract is worth less than what Tobias Harris is making in 2020-21 alone. Heck, there are games where Curry is arguably a more vital contributor than Harris, which is only slightly concerning and is seemingly becoming less of an issue with each passing week.

And to his credit, Curry appears to know that the Mavericks messed up by letting him go, as he called Dallas’ decision to trade him a “bad business decision.”

Whether you like Curry or not, that is a vicious quote.

Next. Dwight Howard threw a dunk party like it’s 2009. dark

In the modern-day NBA, no team bats a thousand in the draft, free agency, or on the trade market. You win some, you lose some; that’s just life in the big city, as they say. But after watching Seth Curry torch his former team to the tune of 15 points in 29 minutes on a perfect 3-3 from beyond the arc while Josh Richardson bricked all four of his 3 pointers, one has to wonder if Donn Nelson and the Dallas Mavericks’ front office will have to reevaluate how they grade players moving forward. Fortunately, their loss is the Philadelphia 76ers’ gain.