Philadelphia 76ers: Tobias Harris shouldn’t be untouchable

(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)
(Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images) /

2021 has been a banner year for Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris.

He got married, made more money than the first seven years of his career combined, and finished out the 2020-21 NBA season with the best marks of his decade-long NBA career.

Reunited with his former Clippers coach Doc Rivers, Harris turned a corner as a defender, developed as a locker room leader, and set new career-highs in assists, blocks, and field goal percentage as the Sixers’ second offensive option behind Joel Embiid.

While some initially questioned Elton Brand‘s decisions to acquire Harris for a king’s ransom and them extend him to the richest contracts in franchise history, 2020-21 vindicated the still employed GM, even if he now has to run his decisions through one of the brightest minds in the business, Daryl Morey, before putting pen to paper.

With that all in mind, Tobias Harris shouldn’t be untouchable. If the Philadelphia 76ers feel as though they can secure a better player for his services or could sparse his money out more effectively over multiple contracts, they should 100 percent pursue that venture.

Joel Embiid should be the Philadelphia 76ers’ only untouchable player.

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There isn’t a team in the NBA who couldn’t use a player like Tobias Harris.

He’s big, strong, effective at both ends of the court, and a willing 1B who doesn’t get too upset if another player runs the show in clutch situations.

Granted, not every team would like to have Harris at his current contract, as a five-year, $180 million deal is hard to stomach for over half of the teams in the NBA today, but in the current NBA, securing a true 3-and-D combo forward is one of the most in-demand positions in the league.

If you can garner a max contract offer, why not accept it? I certainly would.

With players like Jerami Grant, Kawhi Leonard, and Mikal Bridges either outright untouchable or aggressively ungettable, there might just be a team like the Utah Jazz who would love a third star of the 3-and-D variety that would be willing to exchange parts like Joe Ingles and Jordan Clarkson to reshape their roster heading into 2021-22.

Could Daryl Morey hang up on such a call if it comes through? Sure. But should he? No, no he shouldn’t.

According to Mitch Lawrence of Sirius XM NBA, the Sixers are putting out feelers on the value of their should-have-been All-Star and even presented an offer to his former team that was shot down by new GM Rafael Stone. While it may feel a tad unusual to see Morey actively offering up a trade involving Harris like it’s “My GM” in 2K, it’s hard to argue with his thought process assuming Lawrence’s reporting is sound.

Harris is a really good player, but he’s not particularly aggressive, to a near-maddening degree. He lacks that certain je ne sais quoi that made the Jimmy Butler-Joel Embiid pairing so gosh darn compelling to watch. Assuming Ben Simmons is gone by the start of the regular season, and Danny Green leaves in free agency – just not via a sign-and-trade for Dennis Schroder – flipping Harris for a pair of starting-caliber, um, starters to fill out their opening game lineup alongside Embiid, Seth Curry, and “Player X” makes a ton of sense.

Alternatively, the Sixers could sniff out the market, find nothing they like a la trading the 28th overall pick, and simply bring back Harris this fall. I know, crazy, right? A team can offer up a player via trade and then ultimately keep them? Gosh, is such a thing even allowed in the NBA?

*Spoiler alert* it is, and it happens all the time. Need proof? Well, look no further than the Sixers last season, who almost traded Simmons, Matisse Thybulle, and Tyrese Maxey on multiple occasions before relying heavily on that trio during the postseason to, shall we say, mixed results.

While Harris may not like hearing his name come up in trade talks, he’s already been traded before, seven times actually, and may just be moved again before his playing days are done. For better or worse, Harris already has his money, so the rest, as they say, is just gravy on an unequivocally successful career.

Please don’t sign-and-trade for Dennis Schroder. dark. Next

So, Daryl Morey, you do you. You clearly have a strong vision for how to reformulate the Philadelphia 76ers around Joel Embiid’s generational talents, and after watching you work the trade wires in 2020 like a maestro conducts an orchestra, few in the City of Brotherly Love should question your team-building abilities. In the grand scheme of things, bringing a ‘chip back to South Philly is the ultimate goal, even if it means saying goodbye to a few fan favorites along the way.