As the Philadelphia 76ers head into the offseason, there are some important issues to address and prepare for as they get ready to compete again in the 2022-23 season.
One of those issues is Tobias Harris who, to his credit, played well over the final month and in the playoffs as he found his niche playing next to James Harden. However, he is still very overpaid at roughly $38 million for the next season considering his production after averaging just 16.9 points in the playoffs.
One can assume that Harris doesn’t have much trade value, and the Sixers will likely have to add something else to the deal in order for anything to really work, but there are teams out there that might be willing to take on a deal for the versatile forward. The fact that they have their 2022 draft pick–which they can trade on draft night–is a big help in that respect.
The Thunder are a team that can take on a huge contract like Harris’s which means the Sixers could potentially clear some more cap space before free agency begins at the end of June. The big fact to remember with Oklahoma City is that they have roughly $22 million in cap space until June 30 when Shai Gilgeous-Alexander’s max extension kicks in.
If the Sixers and the Thunder were to get a deal done before free agency begins, then they can get it done rather easily and make it so Philadelphia can have some money to play with in free agency. At that point, they would just need to spend wisely.
One would think that the Pacers are probably entering a rebuild after the big Tyrese Haliburton trade, but team governor Herb Simon told Bob Kravitz of The Athletic that they don’t really do rebuilds:
“I don’t want to see (a rebuild). 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? That’s the talent. Donnie (Walsh) did it all the time. Larry (Bird) did it. Kevin (Pritchard) will do it. We can do it.”
Therefore, they could make a move for a guy like Harris and try to get back into the playoffs with him, Haliburton, and somebody like Myles Turner. The Sixers could inquire about how much it would take to bring in a guy like Buddy Hield who would be a great fit next to Joel Embiid and Harden.
Much like the Thunder, the Rockets are another team with a ton of cap space so they can absorb Harris’s big contract and not blink an eye. They have a nice core of Jalen Green, Kevin Porter Jr., KJ Martin, and others as they look toward 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 deal he signed with the Rockets and he averaged 17.9 points and 10.1 rebounds in the 2021-22 season while shooting 39% from deep on 4.9 attempts.
Another team with a lot of cap space, the Spurs are an interesting team to think about as somebody who can take on large contracts like Harris. San Antonio has always remained a competitive team even after losing DeMar DeRozan in 2021, they were in the play-in tournament and they could view Harris as a guy who can help them get back to the playoffs.
San Antonio’s untouchables are probably Dejounte Murray, Keldon Johnson, and Devin Vassell, and the Sixers will likely not take back Josh Richardson in a deal, but they do have some players who could catch the eye of Daryl Morey.
The Kings, for some reason, are in win-now mode as signaled by the trade with the Pacers to get Domantas Sabonis, and they could inquire about Harris and see if they can make a move for him. They have not made the playoffs since 2006 and it seems like they could be looking to finally end that drought.
The only real issue for Sacramento in a Harris deal would be matching the salary. De’Aaron Fox is the only player on the roster set to make $20 million in the 2022-23 season and they won’t trade Sabonis. That then comes down to a guy like Harrison Barnes or maybe Richaun Holmes to add to the deal to get the job done.