The Philadelphia 76ers have made a strong impression in the first round of the playoffs as they’ve jumped out to a commanding 3-0 lead over the Toronto Raptors. Wednesday night’s game three was by far the closest of the series as Joel Embiid drained a three with 0.8 seconds remaining in overtime to win the game 104-101.
While the Sixers’ playoff run has gotten off to a great start, the team still has a lot to prove. When the team traded for James Harden their expectations rose to winning an NBA championship.
When Harden joined the Sixers their offense flourished, but not everyone’s fit with Harden has been so seamless. Tobias Harris has played well in the playoffs so far, but he struggled when Harden joined the team. The changes the Sixers have made since Harden joined the team have also dropped Harris to the fourth scoring option.
Due to Harris’s struggles, many have theorized that he’ll be traded this offseason. In a new article from Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley, he proposes four offseason trades that fanbases wouldn’t see coming.
One of the proposed trades would see the Sixers trade Tobias Harris to the Dallas Mavericks. The full details would have the Sixers trading Harris, Jaden Springer, and a 2023 second-round pick in exchange for Reggie Bullock, Tim Hardaway Jr., and Dwight Powell.
Harris deserves a world of credit for morphing his game to suit this squad’s needs. But, as Rivers pointed out, Philly’s transformation has dropped Harris down to the No. 4 option. That’s a testament to the team’s talent but also probably an unworkable setup, since he’s owed more than $76.9 million for the next two seasons.
If the Sixers think that’s too much for a fourth scorer (they should), then they could use this deal to better balance the roster.
Bullock would be a clean, effortless fit as a three-and-D wing. Hardaway could either improve the starting five’s spacing or lead the second unit as a quick-strike scorer. Powell would give Philadelphia a legitimate backup for MVP candidate Joel Embiid.
That trade would make a lot of sense for both teams. For the Sixers, they add shooting in Hardaway Jr. and Bullock and they also land a reliable backup center for Embiid in Powell. For the Mavericks Harris would be a nice fit with Doncic and could help take some of the pressure off of him.
The Road Ahead
Unless the Sixers win a championship during this playoff run then it seems like changes for the team are inevitable this summer. Philadelphia still has a long road ahead of them if they are going to win an NBA championship.
If the Sixers can finish off the Raptors, they’ll likely face the top seed Miami Heat in the second round. Philly split the regular-season meetings with the Heat 2-2. If the Sixers can beat the Heat then they’ll likely meet the Bucks, Celtics, or Nets in the Eastern Conference Championship.
Ultimately the next month or so will determine what the Sixers do this summer. A chance to achieve all of their goals is still in front of them.