As the Philadelphia 76ers head into the offseason, there are significant issues to address and prepare for as they prepare to compete again in the 2022-23 season.
One such issue is Tobias Harris who, to his credit, has played well over the past month and in the playoffs as he found his footing playing alongside James Harden. However, he’s still heavily overpaid at around $38 million for next season given his production after averaging just 16.9 playoff points.
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Presumably Harris doesn’t have much trade value, and the Sixers will likely have to add something else to the deal to make it all really work, but there are teams out there that might be willing to accept. a deal for the versatile striker. The fact that they have their 2022 draft pick — which they can trade on draft night — is a big help in that regard.
The Thunder are a team that can accept a huge contract like Harris’s, which means the Sixers could potentially free up a little more cap space before free agency begins in late June. The big takeaway with Oklahoma City is that they have about $22 million in cap space through June 30, when Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s maximum extension goes into effect.
If the Sixers and Thunder were to make a deal before free agency begins, they can do it fairly easily and ensure that Philadelphia can have money to play in free agency. At this point, they would just have to spend wisely.
You’d think the Pacers were probably going into a rebuild after the big Tyrese Haliburton trade, but team governor Herb Simon told The Athletic’s Bob Kravitz that they’re not really doing a rebuild:
“I don’t want to see (a reconstruction). If I don’t want to see it, the fans don’t want to see it. Why would we want to go through a rebuild when we can build on the go? It’s talent. Donnie (Walsh) did it all the time. Larry (Bird) did. Kevin (Pritchard) will. We can do it.”
Therefore, they could make a move for a guy like Harris and try to get back in the playoffs with him, Haliburton and someone like Myles Turner. The Sixers might ask how much it would take to bring in a guy like Buddy Hield who would be a perfect fit alongside Joel Embiid and Harden.
Much like the Thunder, the Rockets are another team with a ton of headroom so they can soak up Harris’ big contract and not blink. They have a good core of Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., KJ Martin and others as they look to the future and a reliable veteran like Harris could do wonders for them.
In terms of what the Sixers can get in return, Christian Wood comes to mind for Harris. The former Sixer has one year left on a 3-year, $41 million contract he signed with the Rockets and he averaged 17.9 points and 10.1 rebounds during the 2021-22 season. while shooting 39% from deep on 4.9 attempts.
Another team with plenty of cap space, the Spurs are an interesting team to consider as someone who can take big contracts like Harris. San Antonio still remained a competitive team even after losing DeMar DeRozan in 2021, they were in the play-in tournament and they could look to Harris as a guy who can help them get back to the playoffs.
San Antonio’s untouchables are likely Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson and Devin Vassell, and the Sixers are unlikely to take Josh Richardson back in a deal, but they have players who could catch Daryl Morey’s eye.
The Kings, for some reason, are in winning mode now, as signaled by the trade to the Pacers for Domantas Sabonis, and they might check in on Harris and see if they can make a move for him. They haven’t made the playoffs since 2006 and it looks like they could finally be looking to end this drought.
The only real issue for Sacramento in a deal with Harris would be matching the salary. De’Aaron Fox is the only player on the roster to earn $20 million in the 2022-23 season and they won’t be trading Sabonis. It then comes down to a guy like Harrison Barnes or maybe Richaun Holmes to add to the deal to get the job done.