Tobias Harris has heard his name bandied about as trade bait for the Philadelphia 76ers, and sometimes quite passionately. Harris has noticed the noise and recently had a unique take on it.
And it has not just been fans speculating. Members of the national media also have Harris being a member of the 76ers for not very much longer. Here is Matt Moore of the Action Network:
"Tobias Harris for the Sixers and Tyus Jones for the Grizzlies are two players I am confident will be on new teams by the end of the summer."
And don’t think he has not noticed.
At a charity youth event held at the Wells Fargo Center sponsored by Fanatics (owned by former Sixers minority owner Michael Rubin), Harris spoke about all the trade chatter.
He has been mostly amused by the attitude of the casual fan (emphasis mine) and how desperately they want him out of Philly, according to the Inquirer’s Gina Mizell.
"“Casual Sixers fans, they’ll trade me for a Crumbl Cookie,” said Harris. … “I’m excited to come back, bring this group back, add a few pieces that help us out as a whole team and be ready to win.”"
In case you were wondering why Harris brought up Crumbl Cookies, he is a spokesman for the Main Line bakery.
Harris went on to point out that player’s like himself, tall scorers who can play defense, shoot almost 40 percent on three-pointers, and rarely get hurt do not exactly grow on trees.
He says discussions with new coach Nick Nurse have gone well and he is looking forward to next season – as a 76ers.
Is Tobias Harris correct in his assessment of Philadelphia 76ers fans?
Most fans’ problem, casual or intense, with Harris, is simply the value he brings to the team. He is being paid $39.2 million for the 2023-24 season, which is a lot for the fourth option on offense, a decent defensive player, and a below-average rebounder.
If Harris was paid $20 million, even the casual fans would let up. However, the massive speculation on Harris is also fueled by the fact the 76ers’ management boxed themselves in, in terms of tradable assets.
With few draft picks available to trade (thanks to the Simmons-Harden deal and Adam Silver’s hatred of the Sixers in stripping them of draft choices), and a very top-heavy payroll that makes it hard to match salaries, the Sixers have few cards to play in the wheeling-and-dealing of the NBA off-season.
The exception is Tobias Harris and his expiring contract. With teams deathly afraid of going over the second apron of the salary cap, a good player with a big salary that can be cleared at the end of the season is quite enticing to teams.
Keith Pompey of the Inquirer reported six teams have called general manager Daryl Morey about Harris. Morey reportedly has asked for outrageous returns for Harris. So if teams really want Harris, it will not be a repeat of the John Collins to Utah for a bag of basketballs deal.
For his part, Harris does not seem to be that concerned he will be wearing another uniform come the fall.
Harris is correct in that simply removing him from the team does not improve the 76ers’ chances of winning a championship. The fans who simply want him gone no matter what need to think of the consequences: Furkan Korkmaz or Danuel House now starting?
But the Sixers can not simply ‘run-it-back’ with the same crew and expect different results, that will not fly either.
Morey is more than happy to play the long game. He held out until the trade deadline to get rid of the holding-out Ben Simmons until he got something he liked. Harris won’t be traded for nothing, but it is a long off-season, regular season, and another trade deadline where things could change.