‘Desperate’ Sixers Could Trade Tobias Harris to Western Conference: Sources

Tobias Harris Philadelphia 76ers

Getty Tobias Harris #12 of the Philadelphia 76ers.

With training camp now underway, the Philadelphia 76ers are putting the finishing touches on a roster it hopes will contend for a championship.

The team is loaded with star power at the top, with Joel Embiid and James Harden headlining the Sixers’ starting five. But the second unit also saw major improvement this summer with the additions of Montrezl Harrell, De’Anthony Melton, and Montrezl Harrell.

Caught squarely in the middle is Tobias Harris. The Sixers forward is earning more than any of his Sixers teammates despite being the team’s fourth option on offense. His remaining $76 million is a mammoth sum that could be used to bolster other areas of the roster if only the Sixers could find a trade partner. According to one Eastern Conference executive who spoke to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, the Sacramento Kings are a team to keep an eye on in any Harris trade talks.

“I don’t think they’ve got anything active on [Harris talks], but the Kings are a team that would be a fit, it would have to be a three-team deal most likely,” the executive told Deveney.

The Kings are hard-capped after using its mid-level exception on Malik Monk this summer, which makes adding Harris and his gargantuan contract challenging.

But the executive mapped out a potential three-team blockbuster built around Harris that could offset salary concerns.


Potential Three-Team Tobias Harris Blockbuster

According to the Eastern Conference exec, one key factor will help determine how aggressive Philadelphia gets in moving Harris’ contract.

“It depends on how desperate [the Sixers] are to get rid of that money [for Harris] next year,” the exec said.

If Philadelphia wobbles out of the gate this season and Harris struggles to adjust to his fourth-fiddle position, the Sixers could get desperate quickly. If so, the Sacramento Kings could offer an enticing package to Philadelphia, one that might even rope in a third team.

“But [the Sixers] could work a deal with Sacramento that brings back Harrison Barnes and Terence Davis, and maybe send Richaun Holmes elsewhere. He could go to Memphis, maybe, and Danny Green could go back to Philly. They want to get some flexibility back, especially before Maxey needs to be paid and that is one way to do it,” the exec told Deveney.

In Barnes, the Sixers might get a slight talent downgrade to Harris, but one who might be a strong roster fit. Next season, Harris is likely slotting in at small forward with PJ Tucker taking over duties at the four.

Over their careers, Harris has more points (18.8 vs 16.0) and rebounds (5.9 vs 4.6) per 36 minutes than Barnes. But Barnes does have a higher career three-point rate (37.9%) than Harris (36.7%).

But the real benefit to adding Barnes would be his far more favorable contract situation.


Trading Tobias Harris Gives 76ers ‘Flexibility’

The exec went on to explain the motivation behind potentially moving Harris for Barnes and Holmes.

“[The Sixers] want to get some flexibility back, especially before Maxey needs to be paid, and that is one way to do it. Barnes can be a free agent next summer, you can probably keep him at a good value and add somewhere else,” the exec explained.

Yes, adding Holmes’ potential off the bench would be nice and Barnes’ fit might be better than Harris’s, but the true benefit to this Harris trade isn’t found on the roster. It’s found on the ledger line. Even if the Sixers bring back Holmes and Barnes in a trade, the Sixers would end with a net-positive cap-wise. Barnes and Holmes combined will make less than $30 million compared to Harris’ $37 next season.

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