The Sixers have attempted to include Tobias Harris in a Ben Simmons trade, according to multiple sources. It’s not the simplest concept as nearly $70 million is a lot for any time to match salary with. This means that, in all likelihood, a third team will be required to complete a deal. What exactly could a Harris deal look like?
A few tough questions still present themselves. Who is interested in Ben Simmons? Who has the pieces that interest Sixers’ President of Basketball Operations, Daryl Morey? And finally, who’s interested in Tobias Harris?
Well, arguably, the two teams who boast the most interesting pieces (and can still facilitate a Harris deal) are the Atlanta Hawks and the Sacramento Kings. They both have noted interest in Ben Simmons and, more importantly, the proper mix of rising stars and battle-tested veterans that could catch Morey’s eye.
Looking at the two players interested in Simmons, what could a deal look like that involves Tobias Harris? Let’s start with the Atlanta Hawks.
The Atlanta Hawks are rumored to be interested in Ben Simmons and disinterested in Tobias Harris, thus matching the perfect criteria for a three-team deal. John Collins and Cam Reddish have been names thrown out in the conversation, but so far, the Sixers have seemingly been uninterested.
If the Sixers were to move Harris, adding a player like John Collins becomes not only palatable but down-right interesting. From there, it’s about legitimate sweeteners. Players like Cam Reddish and Bogdan Bogdanovic would push the needle for Morey as they have a great combination of rising-star potential and veteran ability. Bogdanovic, in particular, is interesting as he would seemingly fit like a glove next to Joel Embiid.
Now comes the time to find a new home for Tobias Harris, and that home is with the Minnesota Timberwolves. Long pinning for Ben Simmons himself, the Wolves find themselves involved in a Simmons deal at long last, just not in the way they expected.
The Timberwolves have been one of the few pleasant surprises in the Western Conference as they’re in the thick of the race for the NBA play-in game. One of the few teams with the matching salaries capable of acquiring Harris, the Timberwolves could find themselves in the rare opportunity to add talent (Harris) while giving up very little in return. With the Los Angeles Clippers now potentially tanking, there’s an opening for Minnesota, and they should make the most of it.
By sending Beasley, Okogie, and Prince to Atlanta, the Wolves would make the room to add Harris and help launch their offense into the top 10 in the NBA.
There’s a lot of moving parts as there will be with any Ben Simmons trade (or Tobias Harris deal, for that matter), but a deal with the Atlanta Hawks looks more like now than ever. What about the Sacramento Kings? What could they offer, and who could be the third team involved?
Ben Simmons and the Sacramento Kings have made sense since day one. Ben would instantly take over the team, which resides in sunny California, while the Kings would have their first All-Star since DeMarcus Cousins. A team that has long been without a direction, the Kings would be able to build a legitimate playoff team around Simmons, who would be able to lift the team’s defense out of the cellar where it has been for three of the past four seasons.
Adding Matisse Thybulle hurts for the Sixers but considering their haul (we’ll get to that), it’s certainly worth it. Thybulle and Simmons, along with De’Aaron Fox and Richaun Holmes, make for an interesting, fast-paced squad with unlimited defensive potential. Luke Kennard replaces the shooting the Kings lose from Buddy Hield while being younger and cheaper as well.
The Clippers, as mentioned before, are potentially facing a small rebuild. Unfortunately for the Clippers, there’s nothing they can realistically do to retain their first-round pick that’s owed to the OKC Thunder. Instead, the Clippers will likely look to make moves that offer either future flexibility or, in this case, the chance to add talent without having to give up any further draft capital.
Tobias Harris has always been best served as a third option, and next to a healthy Kawhi Leonard and Paul George in 2022-23, he would be just that. Harris saw his peak in LA; hopefully, he’ll find just that for the Clippers. The deal is rounded out by adding the Sixers’ 2022 first-round pick, Danny Green and Shake Milton, who are two great ways for the Clippers to gain financially flexible talent.
Finally, this brings us to The Philadelphia 76ers, the team we’re all here for. The largest piece in this deal for the Sixers is combo-guard Tyrese Haliburton, who would bring the Sixers a versatile skillset to pair with Tyrese Maxey for years to come. Additionally, adding Harrison Barnes is a nice, efficient way to replace Tobias Harris. While Barnes and Harris share many similarities, Barnes has less of a tendency to clog the lane, is much more of a defender, and is significantly cheaper, all things that should be music to the Sixers’ ears.
Last but not least, from Sacramento comes Buddy Hield, who has felt like a Sixers all along; it just hadn’t happened yet for whatever reason. Hield is able to fill the bench for the Sixers as they provide an army of shooters for Joel Embiid. Hield would also likely be a commodity during the offseason, providing future flexibility for Daryl Morey.
Now from the Los Angeles Clippers come Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson, both of whom would quickly find featured roles in Philadelphia. Jackson is the much-needed lead guard off the bench, and Morris, a rangy big man who can provide what’s necessary from a center, come the playoffs.
Between the addition of Haliburton and this army of veterans, the Sixers become completely serious contenders, and the rest of the East would be put on high alert. The name of the game is asset acquisition and building the best team around Joel Embiid, and both of these deals manage to do just that.
Unfortunately, it doesn’t look like a Simmons deal is on the horizon. Of course, that could change any second.