The Sixers are moving in the wrong direction. They are the sixth seed in the East and things aren’t looking sunny. The team needs to take a long hard look at themselves to see where the answer lies. Al Horford has been publicly vocal about the Sixers’ locker room, Joel Embiid is saying the roster should sacrifice for him, and Ben Simmons is saying that the team is soft. The Sixers have issues.
More than the players, Coach Brett Brown may be on thin ice but his involvement in the front office complicates the situation. General Manager Elton Brand has been blamed for the offseason that led to this down year so he may also be on the outs. Something that we do not yet know is the level of involvement Brett Brown had in those decisions. How much blame can Brand be responsible for if Brett Brown was over his shoulder influencing the decisions?
Changes to come
A lot of the changes may have to wait until the offseason to address, but the Sixers front office may look to make a drastic one at the deadline in a last-ditch effort to turn things around. One of those changes would be a potential trade for Tobias Harris. Though new to the team himself, Harris may already be on the move. The Sixers signed Harris to a five-year $180-million contract before the start of the season, a move that was deemed a bad decision by many. Harris has plenty of value but that is also a reason why a trade may be in their best interest.
Tobias Harris is a great offensive talent. He is a little bit of “tweener” meaning that he can play two positions but isn’t a perfect fit at either. Harris can play low, has a mid-range game, and is a terrific three-point shooter. He has seen his percentage from three dip, but that most likely is due to the horrendous offensive play calling/roster construction Philly boasts.
Harris is currently averaging 19 points-per-game, if he were on a team like Charlotte, for instance, he could easily average five more points per game. The scoring potential is there, Harris just needs the right situation, something he’s looked for since he was drafted.
Harris is a little bit streaky but he’s really built to be a low-end second option or quality third option.
Defense has never been Harris’ calling card but he has improved significantly since joining the Sixers. He used to be a liability but now Harris can hold his own when defending either Forward position. There may not be a change in his stat sheet, but his improved defense is clearly felt by the rest of the team.
Harris can continue to grow his defense, he may never be known as a defender but he can certainly be average. Committing to playing Small Forward would be best for him defensively though it would cause offensive difficulties.
At 27 years of age, Harris is right in the middle of his prime. He is improving defensively and is established offensively. He may be the exact type of player that a smaller market team could look to trade for. Teams like Memphis, Charlotte, Sacramento, even larger markets looking to win now like Washington and Chicago could be interested in Harris.
It would be painful for the Sixers to part with him but it may be the right move. No matter what they do, the Sixers need to be mindful of the short, medium, and long-term. Trading Harris may address all three of those concerns if they receive the right return.
Find out what a potential trade may look like on the page below.
What Would A Tobias Harris Trade Look Like?
Will the Sixers be able to trade Harris for a star? A Bradley Beal? D’Angelo Russell? Probably not. Instead, the Sixers should focus on adding quality starters, depth, and draft compensation. The Sixers won’t exactly be motivated to trade to another Eastern Conference contender either. Here are a few trade ideas for Tobias Harris:
- Philadelphia Receives – Davis Bertans, Ian Mahinmi, Troy Brown Jr., Ish Smith, Washington’s 2021 1st round pick (top 20 protected for years 2021 and 2022 [if this pick falls within the protected range and is not conveyed, Washington will convey its 2024 2nd round pick and 2025 2nd round pick to Philadelphia])
- Washington Receives – Tobias Harris, Trey Burke, Jonah Bolden, Atlanta’s 2nd round pick.
Why Washington does it
The Wizards aren’t currently in the playoffs and with Star John Wall still out, the team doesn’t look to be making it back this year. In spite of losing, the team refuses to tank. You have to appreciate the desire to win they’ve shown even if their record doesn’t reflect it. Davis Bertans has been discussed in the trade market for a while but the Wizards seem to have lost interest in trading the “Latvian Lazer”. Even still, gaining a player of Harris’ caliber could be exactly the type of offer to convince the team.
Ish Smith and Ian Mahinmi are essentially salary fillers especially if the Wizards receive Burke. Troy Brown is a young talent but again for what they’re getting it would be worth the slight long-term sacrifice. A first-round pick may also not be something the Wizards expected to part with but the protections are heavy to make the trade more palatable.
Why Philadelphia does it
The Sixers would be giving up a talented player in Harris but his contract is one of the reasons the team is financially handcuffed. By moving Harris for multiple pieces the Sixers would be solving their major depth problem.
Davis Bertans is likely the main prize for the Sixers as he would step into a starting role with the team and providing some much-needed shooting. Bertans is a free agent but the Sixers would retain his “bird rights”, meaning that the team could re-sign him while exceeding the salary cap. Bertans is expected to command $15-17 million on the open market which is not a terribly steep price to re-sign him at.
Troy Brown Jr. is another notable piece in this trade. A young, athletic wing, Brown has the opportunity to grow into a special player. The Sixers would have a young asset who can contribute immediately, something every NBA team desires. He may not be a knock-down shooter yet, but he does have the potential if he works on his game. In the meanwhile, he is a serviceable defender who can run with Simmons in transition.
Ish Smith and Ian Mahinmi are salary fillers for Washington but could actually be contributors for the Sixers. Smith could run the point off the bench and add some much-needed shooting as well.
Mahinmi meanwhile could be the backup Center the Sixers need. Al Horford does not belong on this team and Kyle O’Quinn is a great locker room presence but he isn’t talented enough to backup Embiid. Mahinmi is a tenacious rebound and solid low-post defender, someone who would be useful come the playoffs. The draft pick is just icing on the cake.
To explore two more potential trade scenarios, scroll down and hit page 2.
Mandatory Credit: Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports