It looks like the Philadelphia 76ers are considering a shake-up after a shaky start to the season, at least according to a pair of reports. Shams Charania mentioned that the 76ers were shopping Tobias Harris (subscription required), while it was also reported that they were having discussions on guard Matisse Thybulle.
The Sixers’ decision to shop Harris and Thybulle, or at least listen to offers, comes at an interesting time for the team, which is without superstar guard James Harden and possibly now Tyrese Maxey but has seen their other superstar, Joel Embiid, step up.
They, of course, need Harden and Maxey healthy, but they could still stand to improve their supporting cast around their Big 3.
Will the 76ers actually make a trade?
While the 76ers have a Big 3, Harris is their fourth option. That suits Harris better, but he’s definitely an expensive fourth option, and the 76ers are wise to try and see if they can move him for a couple of rotation pieces. The problem is that teams don’t appear particularly interested in taking back his contract, which pays him $77 million this season and next season.
Who can blame them? He’s talented, but rebuilding teams don’t need him, especially since he’s 30. On the other hand, other competing teams don’t necessarily have the trade filler needed to take him back in a deal without unloading bad contracts on the 76ers, who aren’t in the market for them.
Additionally, the 76ers may have to give up an asset or two in a Harris trade to entice a team to take on his remaining contract, and they may be hard-pressed to find a player as good unless they’re moving him strictly for depth. Maybe the Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers, or San Antonio Spurs could be options. All three teams have veterans and/or cap space remaining.
The Spurs have Doug McDermott and Josh Richardson available, both of whom would be nice additions, but it appears that they are looking for a first-round pick for each player, not even including taking back a big contract. A first-round pick, if not two, would likely be the asking price to offload Harris, in which case the 76ers may opt to keep him for the rest of the season.
As for Thybulle, he’s a terrific defender but a limited offensive player that teams tend to leave open. The Sixers could still use his defense, particularly against opposing guards, but he may be an asset if another team believes in his game, and he’s not completely irreplaceable for Philadelphia. Therefore, they could move him as a result.
Ultimately, I wouldn’t expect an immediate trade, particularly with Harden and now Maxey sidelined. Additionally, the moratorium on trading recently signed players ends on December 15th, allowing teams more trade options. If anything were to happen, it would be after that date.