Sixers Conference Rivals Floated as Possible Trade Return for Tobias Harris

Clint Capela, Bogdan Bogdanovic, Joel Embiid

Getty Joel Embiid of the Philadelphia 76ers, Clint Capela and Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Atlanta Hawks

The Philadelphia 76ers are in an interesting predicament with Tobias Harris this offseason. He’s on a $39.3 million expiring contract for next season, which could make him an appealing trade asset to teams looking to cut salary. For that reason, Bryan Toporek of Liberty Ballers brought up the Atlanta Hawks as a possible trade partner this offseason.

“The Sixers should also place a call to the Atlanta Hawks, who are facing some particularly thorny financial decisions within the next 13 months,” Toporek said. “They already have five players earning $15 million or more in 2024-25, and Dejounte Murray, Onyeka Okongwu, and Saddiq Bey all become eligible for extensions this summer.”

Toporek then named who the Sixers could potentially target on the Hawks that could help them save money in a potential exchange for Harris.

“They’ll have to start shedding some of their longer-term salary soon, which means players such as John Collins ($25.3 million), Clint Capela ($20.6 million), and Bogdan Bogdanovic ($18.7 million) might become available at a discount.”

Collins, Capela, and Bogdanovic all played a role in helping the Hawks defeat the Sixers in the 2021 Eastern Conference Semifinals.

Proposed Trade Sends Kyrie Irving to Sixers

Because of Harris’ large expiring contract, there are quite a few players who the Sixers could potentially acquire by using Harris’ deal to match salaries. Among them could potentially be controversial NBA star Kyrie Irving.

Matt Guzman of Sports Illustrated proposed a sign-and-trade between the Sixers and Dallas Mavericks that exchange Tobias Harris and Tyrese Maxey for Irving. Guzman proposed the following.

76ers receive: Irving

Mavericks receive: Maxey, Harris, 2029 First-Round Pick

Guzman explained why Irving would be a good addition to the Sixers.

“Irving is a superstar-level starter for any team in the league. Sure, other teams may have their starting point guard, but the former NBA champion would still find his place in the rotation, providing both veteran locker-room leadership and instant offense.”

Guzman added that adding Irving could help the Sixers make up for the potential loss of Harden.

“Irving would make a strong replacement for Harden, especially considering the similar level of scoring ability he brings, though adding him wouldn’t come cheap for Philadelphia.”

James Harden ‘Torn’ on Free Agency Decision

NBA Insider Shams Charania revealed on the June 6 episode of “The Ryan Russillo Podcast” that Harden is currently torn on who he wants to play for next season.

“I don’t think he knows. As far as what I know about his mindset, I don’t think he totally is there,” Charania said. “We’re less than a month out from free agency starting. I really think he’s torn with the prospect of staying in Philadelphia or moving on to Houston potentially and returning back to his home.”

Charania added that conversations with Nick Nurse and Daryl Morey this summer could factor into his decision.

“I think whichever way it goes, it’s going to be relatively close. That’s why as we get closer to July 1, June 30th, those conversations that he’s going to have, as he becomes a free agent, with Nick Nurse and with Daryl Morey, what their vision is for him, what their vision is for that team, what that offer ultimately is going to be versus comparing it to whatever Houston comes with on June 30th or July 1, those are all very important factors.”

What the Sixers do with Harris this summer could also potentially factor into whether Harden stays because he could be used to give them more depth.

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