When the Philadelphia 76ers re-signed free agent Tobias Harris last month, giving him a new five-year contract worth $180 million, it allowed the team to hold on to one of the key players behind their successful 2018-19 campaign. But with Harris often seen as being overpaid for a player of his caliber, a new report suggests that the Sixers might benefit by trading him to another team and balancing out their roster by acquiring two natural wing players and a seldom-used but promising backup power forward.
As pointed out on Wednesday by Bleacher Report‘s Greg Swartz, Harris is a talented player who averaged 18.2 points and 7.9 rebounds in 27 games last season, after the 76ers acquired him from the Los Angeles Clippers prior to the February trade deadline. But with Philadelphia set to pay him $36 million per season until 2024, Swartz opined that Harris’ contract is “especially generous” for his talent level, especially since he will be playing slightly out of position at small forward due to former Boston Celtics forward/center Al Horford’s arrival in free agency.
According to Swartz, the Sixers could shed Tobias Harris’ contract and have a “far more balanced” roster if they ship him to the Denver Nuggets for a package that includes Gary Harris, Will Barton and Jarred Vanderbilt. Gary Harris’ acquisition, as noted, could help the Sixers spread the floor better and allow the newly acquired Josh Richardson to play his natural small forward spot. Over the past three seasons, the 24-year-old shooting guard averaged 15.2 points and shot 38.7 percent from beyond the arc while mostly starting alongside Jamal Murray in the Nuggets’ backcourt.
Last year, Tobias Harris was offered an $80 million deal. More than he earned in his entire eight-year NBA career. He said no. Rolled the dice. And made $100 MILLION MORE. We go behind-the-scenes with Harris and his agent/father Torrell. https://t.co/PzP7xn5U4q
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) July 17, 2019
As shown on his Basketball-Reference player page, Barton struggled through injuries in the 2018-19 season, averaging 11.5 points, 4.6 rebounds and 2.9 assists while starting 38 of 43 games played. Bleacher Report‘s Swartz posited that he could be an “ideal” sixth man for Philadelphia, should the theoretical trade push forward. Vanderbilt, on the other hand, hardly played as a rookie for Denver in the 2018-19 season but was mentioned as someone who could give the Sixers “some young depth” at the power forward position.
While Tobias Harris may have to remain at small forward in Denver in the event the deal becomes a reality, the Nuggets’ current starting power forward, Paul Millsap, is 34-years-old and on the final year of a contract that will pay him $30.4 million this season. With that in mind, Swartz wrote that Harris would still be able to provide Denver with some valuable scoring from the wing, despite the likelihood he’ll still have to play out of position.