In just one calendar year, the Philadelphia 76ers have seen significant roster turnover and reconstruction. But some relationships are built to withstand breakups, trades, and front office cuts.
Some of the moves have been obvious: trading for James Harden not only brought in two new faces, but saw Ben Simmons, Seth Curry, and Andre Drummond all depart for Brooklyn. The additions of De’Anthony Melton, Montrezl Harrell, PJ Tucker, and Danuel House also add to the list of new names.
But in order to land Melton, the Sixers also had to offload Danny Green, who played for Philadelphia for two seasons before his offseason departure. In those two seasons, Green averaged 7.8 points for Philadelphia, providing helpful playoff experience and leadership. Ultimately, though, Green’s serious knee injury and hefty contract made him a prime trade candidate this summer.
Green shared significant playing time with Tobias Harris, a fellow Sixers starter with his own contract woes. And recently, Harris showed Green some love on Twitter after it was revealed that Green has the most wins of any NBA player of the last decade.
The Green stat isn’t terribly surprising, especially considering the teams the guard has played on over the last ten years. He suited up for two Sixers teams that went for 100 regular season wins, as well as the Los Angeles Lakers Bubble Team, and the perennially great San Antonio Spurs teams of the early 2010s.
While superstars like LeBron James and Steph Curry might go through low points with their teams, often they aren’t given the luxury of moving to another team to escape. Green, on the other hand, has been masterful at picking his teams and ensuring he gets the most out of the experience.
And he’s not the only Sixer whose time in Philadelphia might be cut short by trade.
Sixers’ ‘Ideal’ Lineup Doesn’t Involve Tobias Harris
Most Sixers fans know that Tobias Harris’ name has been about as available as any during the offseason.
The only problem? The final two years of a five-year $180 million contract that is easily one of the worst in the league. No, it’s not Russell Westbrookian in its size-to-talent ratio, but there’s no question the Sixers are grossly overpaying a player who is, at best, a reliable fourth option.
Unfortunately, even that reliability might have its limits. According to John Wilmes of RealGM, the Sixers should experiment with lineups that exclude Harris altogether.
“Without Harris, the roster does theoretically make more sense: imagine the big bruising frontcourt of Embiid and Tucker, complemented by the jarring contrast of Maxey and Melton’s athleticism, with all of it orchestrated by Harden’s shimmering basketball brain,” Wilmes wrote.
In fact, Wilmes went so far as to argue that, in a perfect world, Harris wouldn’t crack the Sixers’ starting five.
“That’s the ideal that the most optimistic of Sixers forecasters have in mind. And while that might end up being the most devastating look Philly can offer, the less romantic truth of Harris’ night-to-night numbers will help them win regular season games as long as he’s around,” Wilmes explained.
At this point, though, it’s unlikely that Harris is moved before the regular season. But Sixers GM Daryl Morey is far from unfamiliar with the trade deadline blockbuster.
Harris the ‘Likeliest’ Sixers Starter to Leave
In the event the Sixers do pull off a trade, it’s unlikely that one of Tyrese Maxey, Joel Embiid, or James Harden would be involved. According to Noah Levick of NBC Sports, it’s Harris that could see his name traded, though.
“If the Sixers’ current “core four” doesn’t finish the year together, Harris appears the likeliest to leave. A Joel Embiid trade would be more stunning than any James Harden off-court drama over the past two years. Anyone exposed to Tyrese Maxey seems to cherish him and believe he’ll keep rising. Maxey will turn 22 years old when the Sixers host the Knicks on Nov. 4,” Levick wrote on September 9.
It’s hard to imagine any team giving up what Morey is looking for in a Harris trade, however. In Ben Simmons, at least a team knew it was getting a young defensive ace with multiple All-Star appearances. The last individual award Harris won was being named All-SEC Second Team in his lone year at Tennessee. That said, a James Harden deal was out of the question this time last summer, and yet it all came together at the deadline.