Proposed Sixers Trade Lands Defensive Stopper for Tobias Harris

Philadelphia 76ers, Jerami Grant

Getty Tobias Harris #12 of the Philadelphia 76ers blocks Jerami Grant #9 of the Detroit Pistons.

There are multiple avenues the Philadelphia 76ers can take this summer to retool the roster after another second-round postseason exit. Between the addition of James Harden and the emergence of Tyrese Maxey, the star talent is in place to build a contender. Daryl Morey’s main focus in the offseason now shifts to putting a stronger supporting cast around this trio.

In an attempt to clear up some cap space, trading Tobias Harris could potentially be on the table. While he adapted to his new role nicely and is a pillar of the locker room, he is the highest-paid player on the Sixers at $37 million.

Mike O’Connor of The Rights To Ricky Sanchez recently came up with five mock trades for the Sixers this offseason. One included sending Harris, Matisse Thybulle, Jaden Springer, one first-round pick, and a pick swap to the Detroit Pistons in exchange for Jerami Grant and Kelly Olynyk.

After his excellent performance throughout the playoffs, I’m not nearly as hungry to get off of Tobias Harris‘ contract, but the improvement in defense and physicality has to come at the cost of something. While there are questions about just how willing Grant is to buy into a supporting cast role at this stage in his career, I do trust him to play hard and defend at a high level. It also wouldn’t hurt to have Grant provide some of the shot creation ability that he has tapped into in Detroit.

Addressing Areas of Need

There is no denying the Sixers are giving up a haul of assets in this trade, but it does address two major holes in their roster. The first being a perimeter defensive stopper in the starting lineup, followed by the backup center position.

Along with being an above-average defender, Jerami Grant has shown he can be a reliable scoring option since joining the Pistons. This season, he averaged 19.2 PPG on 42.6% shooting while posting a defensive rating of 114.3. The Sixers desperately need a reliable two-way wing in the starting lineup, and Grant could fill that role seamlessly.

At six-foot-11, 240 pounds, Olynyk brings some much-needed size behind Embiid. The 31-year-old appeared in 40 games for Detroit this season and averaged 9.1 PPG, 4.4 RPG, and 2.8 APG. As a career 36.5% three-point shooter, Olynyk can also be utilized as a floor-spacer.

Should the Sixers be Looking to Trade Tobias Harris?

Undoubtedly the biggest question in a mock like this is, should the Sixers actually explore Harris trades? After getting adjusted to his new role in the offense, the veteran forward proved he could be a key piece for the new-look Sixers.

With Harden entering the mix, Harris knew it meant he would be taking a step back. Doing what’s best for the team, he embraced this change with open arms. Harris still found room for himself in the offense and took on big assignments defensively to help put the Sixers in a position to win.

Through 12 postseason games, Harris averaged 16.9 PPG on 50% shooting from the field and 38.6% from beyond the arc. Similar to Tyrese Maxey, he was able to make defenses pay for putting on their focus on Joel Embiid and James Harden.

Even with his contract taking up a large portion of the Sixers’ cap space, it’s debatable if they should consider moving him after seeing how he performed in the playoffs.

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