Thursday, September 22, 2022

Tobias Harris opens up about ex-Sixers teammates

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In just one calendar year, the Philadelphia 76ers have seen significant roster changes and remodeling. But some relationships are built to withstand breakups, trades, and front-office cutbacks.

Some of the moves were obvious: The trade for James Harden not only brought in two new faces, but also saw Ben Simmons, Seth Curry and Andre Drummond all relocate to Brooklyn. The additions of De’Anthony Melton, Montrezl Harrell, PJ Tucker and Danuel House also add to the list of new names.

But in order to land Melton, the Sixers also had to fire Danny Green, who played two seasons for Philadelphia before his offseason departure. In those two seasons, Green averaged 7.8 points for Philadelphia, which provided helpful playoff experience and leadership. Ultimately, Green’s serious knee injury and hefty contract made him a prime trade contender that summer.

Green shared significant playing time with Tobias Harris, another Sixers starter with his own contract issues. And recently Harris showed Green some love on Twitter after Green was revealed to have the most wins of any NBA player in the past decade.

Green’s stats aren’t very surprising, especially considering which teams the guard has played for over the past decade. He fitted for two Sixers teams that had 100 regular-season wins, as well as the Los Angeles Lakers bubble team and the always-great San Antonio Spurs teams of the early 2010s.

Even when superstars like LeBron James and Steph Curry hit rock bottom with their teams, they often don’t have the luxury of switching to another team to escape. Green, on the other hand, has been masterful at picking his teams and ensuring he gets the most out of the experience.

And he’s not the only sixer whose time in Philadelphia could be shortened through trades.

Most Sixers fans know that Tobias Harris’ name was as available as any during the offseason.

The only problem? The final two years of a five-year, $180 million deal that’s easily one of the worst in the league. No, it’s not Russell Westbrookian in his size-to-talent ratio, but there’s no question the Sixers grossly overpay a player who’s at best a reliable fourth option.

Unfortunately, even this reliability can have its limits. According to RealGM’s John Wilmes, the Sixers should experiment with lineups that completely rule out Harris.

“Without Harris, the roster makes more theoretical sense: imagine Embiid and Tucker’s big precourt complemented by the jarring contrast of Maxey’s and Melton’s athleticism, all orchestrated by Harden’s dazzling basketball brain,” Wilmes wrote.

In fact, Wilmes went so far as to argue that in a perfect world, Harris wouldn’t break the Sixers’ starting five.

“That’s the ideal that Sixers’ most optimistic forecasters have in mind. And while that’s perhaps the most devastating look Philly can offer, the less-than-romantic truth of Harris’ night-to-night numbers will help them win regular-season games while he’s around,” Wilmes explained.

At this point, however, Harris is unlikely to be relocated before the regular season. But Sixers GM Daryl Morey is anything but unfamiliar with the trade deadline blockbuster.

In the event the Sixers do complete a trade, it’s unlikely that one of Tyrese Maxey, Joel Embiid or James Harden would be involved. However, according to NBC Sports’ Noah Levick, it’s Harris who could see his name traded.

“If the Sixers’ current “Core Four” don’t finish the year together, Harris seems the most likely to leave. A deal with Joel Embiid would be more breathtaking than any James Harden extrajudicial drama in the last two years. Everyone exposed to Tyrese Maxey seems to appreciate him and believe he will keep rising. Maxey will be 22 when the Sixers welcome the Knicks on November 4,” Levick wrote on Sept. 9.

However, it’s hard to imagine a team giving up what Morey is looking for in a Harris trade. In Ben Simmons, at least one team knew they were getting a young defensive ace with multiple All-Star appearances. The last individual honor Harris won was selection to the All-SEC Second Team during his lone year in Tennessee. However, a deal with James Harden was out of the question this time last summer, and yet it all came together by deadline.

“If the Sixers’ current “Core Four” don’t finish the year together, Harris seems the most likely to leave. A deal with Joel Embiid would be more breathtaking than any James Harden extrajudicial drama in the last two years. Everyone exposed to Tyrese Maxey seems to appreciate him and believe he will keep rising. Maxey will be 22 when the Sixers welcome the Knicks on November 4,” Levick wrote on Sept. 9.



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