AP Photo/Matt Slocum
The Philadelphia 76ers will continue to reshape their roster around Joel Embiid and James Harden, a process that could reportedly include trading Tobias Harris.
ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Thursday on Get Up that Harris’ name has popped up “a lot” in trade talks as the Sixers prepare to wield the financial flexibility expected from Harden’s new contract after he declined his $47.4 million option for next season.
Harden agreed to take less on his next contract so the Sixers could “make legitimate upgrades for their roster for the upcoming season,” per Shams Charania of The Athletic.
Harris, who’s under contract with the 76ers through 2023-24 on a five-year, $180 million deal, is no stranger to trade rumors.
Last year, the 29-year-old forward discussed his advice to young players who are dealing with that type of speculation, saying, “You can’t really control what’s going on and what you hear.”
“Nobody knows what can happen,” Harris told reporters. “I know from experience that it is part of this game, and it’s just part of the NBA. So, it’s just one of those things.”
The 2011 first-round pick may be set for another summer of uncertainty.
Despite playing for five different teams across 11 NBA seasons, the University of Tennessee product has remained productive. He’s averaged 16.4 points, 6.2 rebounds, 2.3 assists and 1.3 threes across 753 career regular-season appearances.
However, Harris is coming off a 2021-22 campaign in which he tied for 103rd in FiveThirtyEight’s WAR metric.
Between that modest performance and his high salary, it’s fair to wonder what level of interest Harris would garner on the trade market and whether the return would represent an upgrade for a team with championship expectations.
Perhaps the Sixers could hunt for a more defensive-minded wing to stabilize that end of the floor since Harden and Embiid will dominate the offensive touches, but Harris’ two-way contributions also have value.
The front office faces a lot of pressure to make some notable changes this summer after the Sixers failed to live up to high expectations in recent years. The team has made the playoffs five straight seasons but hasn’t advanced beyond the second round.
Harris is the 76ers’ best trade chip from a production standpoint, but his contract could make it difficult to find a deal that improves the roster.