Daryl Morey, take a victory lap. You’ve earned it. The 76ers president can do just that today when he meets with the media a day after ridding Philly fans of the Ben Simmons saga and at the same time reinvigorating their NBA title dreams.

For the second time in his career, Morey pulled off a trade for James Harden, ultimately winning by playing the long game. He could have settled for a lesser package just to be rid of Simmons, but he held out for a superstar who improves the Sixers’ chances of contending for a title.

Harden has already been welcomed to Philly, and his presence here makes the first-place Sixers a true contender in the East. So take a bow, Daryl. You’ve earned it.

— Inquirer Sports Staff, @phillysport

Did the Sixers give up too much? Tell us what you think of the Harden-Simmons trade: sports.daily@inquirer.com

Off the Dribble

The 76ers finally got their man, landing Harden in a trade with the Brooklyn Nets and ending the Simmons saga. The Sixers and Nets have been slowly moving in this direction for quite some time. And after a long period of negotiations, they completed a deal two hours before the 3 p.m. trade deadline Thursday.

Now that the anticipation is out the door, it’s time to look at how Harden will work with the Sixers, specifically his fit with Joel Embiid. The Inquirer’s Gina Mizell did a deep dive into what Harden offers the Sixers and how his style of play and personality will be received in Philly.

Next: The Sixers play the Oklahoma City Thunder at 7 p.m. Friday at the Wells Fargo Center, where Morey is expected to speak about his reunion with Harden.

Early Birds

Dick Vermeil, who coached the Eagles to their first Super Bowl appearance in 1981, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame on Thursday. He walked across the stage in Inglewood, Calif., in front of a crowd of NFL luminaries after Kurt Warner, the quarterback he teamed up with to win a Super Bowl with the St. Louis Rams, announced the honor.

Current Eagles safety Anthony Harris recently took center stage as well in our eyes, accompanying the daughter of a fan to a daddy-daughter dance after her father and grandfather had passed away. It was a special moment for all, and we’ll have to see if the free-agent-to-be Harris makes more memories with the Eagles. He says that there’s mutual interest in his returning to Philadelphia.

Extra Innings

We’ve spent this week diving into some power-hitter options for the Phillies on the free-agent market. The big three, as we see it, are Kris Bryant, Kyle Schwarber, and Michael Conforto, whom we take a look at today. The former Met had a down year in 2021, but The Inquirer’s Alex Coffey sees in the numbers the potential for a bounce-back season in 2022 at potentially a cheaper price than Bryant and Schwarber.

  • With spring training scheduled to begin next week, MLB commissioner Rob Manfred says he remains optimistic a deal can be reached to prevent missing regular-season games, which he called “disastrous.”

  • With the news that the universal designated hitter will be on the owners’ latest proposal to the players union, it got us thinking about how the Phillies might use the DH.

On the Fly

With the Flyers sitting at 15-22-8 and with the sixth-worst points percentage in the league, is it time for the organization to break it all down and start rebuilding?

While Dave Scott and Chuck Fletcher have rebuffed that kind of talk, if they wanted a model to follow, they could do a lot worse than Wednesday’s opponents, the Detroit Red Wings. Once a perennial Stanley Cup contender — they made the playoffs 25 years in a row at one stretch! — the Red Wings made the tough decision to bottom out and begin to rebuild in 2017.

Five years later, that decision is starting to pay major dividends as the Wings are in playoff contention and have a handful of young stars — Dylan Larkin, Tyler Bertuzzi, Moritz Seider, Mason Raymond, etc. — leading the way. Meanwhile, the Flyers are near the bottom of the league, have an aging roster, and are likely about to say goodbye to their captain, Claude Giroux. If not now, then when?

Next: The Flyers play the Red Wings for the second straight game on Saturday at noon (NBCSP).

Do you have a Flyers-related question you want answered? @ReinerOlivia and @giana_jade are doing a mailbag and would love to hear from you! Please email all questions to sports.daily@inquirer.com

Fleet Street

Action abroad is fast and furious, with a number of young American players in the thick of it. Check out Jonathan Tannenwald’s roundup of all the soccer action you won’t want to miss this weekend, even with the other football’s big game.

Worth a look

We compiled today’s newsletter using reporting from Keith Pompey, Olivia Reiner, Giana Han, Gina Mizell, David Murphy, Jeff McLane, Manning Snyder, Alex Coffey, Jonathan Tannenwald, Andrea Canales, and Scott Lauber.