Philadelphia 76ers: Tobias Harris-Buddy Hield trade hypothetical

A Philadelphia 76ers trade hypothetical in Bleacher Report’s fantasy league has turned more than a few heads.

The Philadelphia 76ers are uncomfortably positioned in basketball no-man’s land. Not truly a contender, but too expensive and too committed to rebuild. Sure, the Sixers have enough talent to compete, but poor roster construction has all but dashed hopes of true contention in the near future.

One avenue to “true contention” is via trade(s). The Sixers need to make major changes of some kind, and swapping players is the most attainable solution at this point in time. In Bleacher Report’s newly minted fantasy league, Philadelphia has already swung a blockbuster trade.

Here it is in full.

76ers Get
Buddy Hield
Harrison Barnes
Cory Joseph
Kings Get
Tobias Harris
Josh Richardson
Zhaire Smith
2022 1st round pick (top-8 protected)
(Kings also receive the Sixers’ 2022 first-round pick (top-8 protected) and $1.8 million in cash)

The idea of bringing Buddy Hield to Philadelphia is not a new one. He’s a scrumptious fit on paper — a deadeye shooter who can create his own shot without domineering possessions. Few players fit more cleanly as a third option next to Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons.

Brett Brown has gotten creative with shooters in the past (see: J.J. Redick, Landry Shamet), so he would have no trouble integrating Hield into the Sixers’ halfcourt offense. Harrison Barnes is a big contract, but not as big as Tobias Harris. On the surface, this trade is at least palatable.

In the end, however, it’s difficult for me to endorse this. Josh Richardson only has one year left on his contract and is bound to get expensive when it ends, something the Sixers are undoubtedly conscious of. Even so, he’s a valuable asset and someone Philadelphia should value more strongly than this proposal would suggest.

While Hield is a treat to watch, he’s far from a perfect player. He’s a much cleaner fit than both Harris and Richardson, but the Sixers’ issues aren’t the fault of either one. Harris is a much better player overall, and some may even argue the same for Richardson. I would focus on adding shooters on the periphery, rather than shoveling Harris and Richardson to Sacramento for more long-term money.

The cherries on top of my argument are Zhaire Smith and the first-round pick. Harris’ contract is bad, but the Sixers are still taking back negative money in Barnes, who is overpaid (albeit to a smaller degree). If the Sixers were to execute this trade without the additional assets, fine. But the inclusion of Smith — who I still have faith in as a prospect — and a first-round pick, is stretching an already paper-thin offer too far.

If the Sixers could finagle a Horford trade, as opposed to a Harris trade, then the deal would swing wildly in Philadelphia’s favor. While Harris is overpaid, Horford is actively harming the Sixers. He’s a much worse contract, and in this case, he does fill a need for Sacramento in the frontcourt. The Kings wanted Horford last summer, but were outbid.

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The Kings probably wouldn’t pay the same price for Horford, but when it comes to the Harris-Richardson proposal, it feels too costly for the Sixers — even if Hield, and even Barnes, would find a comfortable home in Philadelphia.