Philadelphia Eagles: Would Daryl Morey actually trade Jaden Springer?

(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images)
(Photo by Joe Scarnici/Getty Images) /

In Houston, Daryl Morey was notorious for his apathetic approach to the NBA Draft.

Sure, he’d use draft picks when absolutely necessary – if for no other reason than that darn Stepien Rule – and would even occasionally hold onto some of said players, but out of the first-round draft picks made by Morey during the James Harden-era, only one, Clint Capela, was actually extended to a second contract and even if he was eventually shipped out for a more effective veteran contributor in 2020.

In Philadelphia, however, Morey appears to have turned over a new leaf.

Sure. He’s still been a wheelin’ and a dealin’ when it comes to draft picks, executing a number of deals centered around future considerations, but on actual draft night, Morey has remained largely committed to filling out the Philadelphia 76ers‘ bench with young, ascending talent.

Heck, Morey was so interested in adding players in the 2021 NBA Draft that he purchased a pick from the New Orleans Pelicans for $2 million for the honor of drafting Charles Bassey, even if the former Western Kentucky Hilltopper still hasn’t signed a contract with the team.

But, with a Ben Simmons trade potentially on the horizon, could that all soon change? Could players like Isaiah Joe, Paul Reed, or the draft rights to Filip Petrušev be packaged alongside Simmons to bring back a better package?

Oh goodness, could Jaden Springer be the next in a series of Philadelphia 76ers’ first-round picks to prematurely see their time in the City of Brotherly Love come to an end before the end of their rookie contracts?

Based on the NBA’s rules surrounding player movement, it is technically possible.

The Philadelphia 76ers can technically trade Jaden Springer if they so choose.

In the NBA, teams can’t immediately sign and trade a player… unless, of course, they execute a sign-and-trade, which is a different but totally allowed thing.

Confusing? Yes. But in theory, the idea makes sense.

The NBA surely doesn’t want teams with cap space to sign free agents and then pawn them off for draft picks from teams over the cap – even if that happens all the time at the deadline – and would instead rather teams try to stick to the Association’s salary cap rules,  even if, again, that gets twisted all of the time too.

How does the NBA prevent immediate player movement? Easy, by establishing a non-trade window that keeps a player in place for a least a little bit of time before they are moved elsewhere.

For rookie draft picks, that window is 30 days and has officially passed as of September 3rd.

Now normally, that wouldn’t be a big deal. No one took note when Tyrese Maxey‘s trade window opened up or when Matisse Thybulle‘s did the same one season prior. But the Jaden Springer situation just feels… different. He failed to produce much pop during the preseason, is logjammed behind a number of more-seasoned options, and may just spend the majority of his rookie season in the G-League like Paul Reed before him.

Or some team looking to rebuild could come calling about his services as part of a straight-up trade for Ben Simmons or in an expanded multi-team deal. If that happens and is central to a hypothetical deal, would Morey keep him off the table?

If the 2020-21 season is of any indication, the answer to that question should be no.

Earlier this year, Morey had a chance to package Maxey and Thybulle together with Ben Simmons and picks for James Harden and rebuffed it. While that isn’t totally on Morey, as the Rockets wanted no part in trading their star player to the City of Brotherly Love, he still reportedly took Maxey off the table in the 11th hour.

Morey again had an opportunity to swap out some of his young players in a package for Kyle Lowry and again opted against the move, even if that one was more of a rare mismanagement of value by Masai Ujiri.

If a legitimate difference-making player like CJ McCollum is on the block but only if Springer is thrown into the deal to balance it out, would Morey risk having to settle for a lesser package just to keep his first-round pick out of Tennessee?

He could, but frankly shouldn’t.

Next. Could the Memphis Grizzlies be in on Ben Simmons?. dark

As calloused as it may sound on paper – or, more likely, cellphone screen – Jaden Springer shouldn’t be untouchable. He doesn’t project out as a future All-Star, and likely doesn’t have the same ceiling as either Tyrese Maxey or Matisse Thybulle. While I’m all for the Philadelphia 76ers holding onto their young players a year too long rather than saying goodbye a year too early, as everyone develops at their own pace, if a legitimate franchise-altering deal hinges on Springer’s inclusion, you sort of have to say goodbye, right? After all, isn’t that the prevailing takeaway from the 2020-21 NBA season?