Sixers General Manager Daryl Morey has had some bad takes in his time. Like really bad takes (a glaring example: deciding that Russell Westbrook was worth trading Chris Paul, two first round picks, and two pick swaps in the last big move of his tenure with the Rockets). That sort of comes with the territory when you’ve been around the NBA and in the public eye for as long as he has.
What Morey had yet to do, though, was give a take so bad that all of #SpursTwitter decided to come after him at once. That is exactly what happened on Thursday, when Morey said in an interview with NBC Sports’ John Clark that he believes that “[James Harden has] done more… than maybe any star player’s ever done to take that much less money.”
Daryl is referring to the fact that Harden took $15 million less than he could have received in his recent two year extension to stay in Philadelphia. And honestly, props to Harden for doing what it takes to help his team win. In an interview with Yahoo Sports, The Beard described his mindset going into contract negotiations: “I told Daryl to improve the roster, sign who we needed to sign and give me whatever is left over.”
Harden is someone who has historically chosen what was best for himself—he’s forced his way off of two teams in less than a year, has missed time due to COVID protocols after being seen partying maskless in a club during the worst of the pandemic, and admitted to pulling all-nighters before practices because he was in the studio with rapper Lil Baby. For him to take a reduction in contract, allowing the 76ers to pursue free agents P.J. Tucker and Montrezl Harrell, is a big step.
Spurs Twitter reacts to Morey's bold statement
This is where the Spurs come in. Reacting to Daryl Morey’s quote, fans of the Silver and Black have come from all corners of Twitter shouting one name: Tim. Duncan. He’s known as the “greatest teammate to ever play” on the court, but should also be seen that way off of it— Tim Duncan left plenty of money on the table. The second-winningest player in NBA history (shouts to new Hall of Famer Manu Ginobili in first) notoriously took pay cuts so that the Spurs could afford to keep other great players around him.
Others were quick to agree.
Honestly, if Daryl wanted to give props to a star outside of San Antonio for taking less money than deserved, he didn’t even have to leave Texas for a good example. Fellow franchise cornerstone and long-time Duncan rival Dirk Nowitzki of the Dallas Mavericks historically took reductions in his contracts so that the Mavs could build around him. Business Insider reported at the end of Dirk’s career that the Tall Baller from the G missed out on as much as $194 million in earnings.
All of this to say, if you’re going to praise players for being team-first, it’s crazy that James Harden was even thought of, let alone mentioned as the guy. I get it, Morey and Harden are friends and have worked together for a long time. Also, after flipping Ben Simmons for him at the trade deadline last season, Morey has more or less staked his career to Harden’s success. Finally, I guess Daryl wanted to shout him out for the first positive off the court story we’ve seen from Harden in a while.
But let me say it one more time, for all of Spurs Twitter: TIM. DUNCAN.