76ers fail in their pursuit of Houston’s Daryl Morey

The Sixers had strong interest in hiring Morey to replace former GM Bryan Colangelo.

FILE- In this April 19, 2011, file photo, Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey discusses the direction of the team with the media during a basketball news conference in Houston, after the decision to part ways with head coach Rick Adelman. (AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File)
2011: Houston Rockets general manager Daryl Morey discusses the direction of the team with the media during a news conference in Houston. –AP Photo/Pat Sullivan, File

The Philadelphia 76ers have been rebuffed in an attempt to hire Houston’s Daryl Morey as their new general manager, according to two people familiar with the Sixers’ pursuit.

The Sixers had strong interest in hiring Morey to replace the ousted Bryan Colangelo, but Morey could not be lured away from the franchise with which he has spent the past 12 seasons, according to the people, who requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak publicly about the situation.

Morey was last month voted by his peers as the NBA’s executive of the year for the first time in the wake of Houston’s 65-win campaign.

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Morey’s acquisition of Chris Paul in a trade with the Los Angeles Clippers in June 2017 helped establish the Rockets as the league’s primary threat to the dominance of the Golden State Warriors, who have won three championships in the past four seasons.

Morey also received his latest contract extension from the Rockets in June 2017, which at the time extended his deal through the 2021-22 season. But that contract was awarded to Morey by the Rockets’ previous owner, Leslie Alexander, who sold the team to the Houston-based billionaire Tilman Fertitta in September for $2.2 billion, a league record.

The Sixers have been on the hunt for a new head of basketball operations since Colangelo was forced to step down in early June after his wife admitted to operating Twitter accounts that criticized 76ers players and other members of the organization while also defending her husband.

Coach Brett Brown has been serving as the Sixers’ interim head of basketball operations while team officials conduct a search for Colangelo’s full-time replacement.

The Sixers’ interest in an executive as accomplished as Morey is understandable. But their targeting him specifically was met with some surprise around the league Monday night given Morey’s close relationship with the former Sixers general manager Sam Hinkie.

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After working under Morey in Houston, Hinkie spent three seasons running the Sixers, stockpiling top draft choices amid an unending stream of losses in a strategy that came to be known as The Process, before abruptly resigning in April 2016 when Philadelphia management wanted him to work in tandem with Colangelo in the same front office.