Tobias Harris’ contract is a death sentence

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Tobias Harris contract could be involved in a Ben Simmons trade
Tobias Harris contract could be involved in a Ben Simmons trade
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Tobias Harris’ contract is a death sentence for GM’s around the NBA. He’s a nice NBA player. When the 76ers acquired him at $18 million on the last year of his contract, most NBA teams would want that player on their team.

Elton Brand messed around and gave Tobias Harris a five-year, $180 million deal that was completely guaranteed. He couldn’t possibly ever live up to. Will his salary be moved by The Sixers? There are many trade talks involving Tobias Harris’ contract but are they realistic in actuality?

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To put it into perspective

To put Tobias Harris’ contract into perspective, he is the highest salary on the team and will be every year of his current deal. If the Sixers would’ve acquired James Harden in December 2020, Tobias would still have had the biggest contract on the Sixers payroll.

He is a good player but Tobias Harris has one of the worst contracts in the NBA. THIS ISN’T HIS FAULT.

In the third season of his five-year contract, Tobias still has the 13th biggest salary in the NBA.

11-3-20

Tobias Harris' contract hangs over the Sixers because of Elton Brand.

On November 3, 2020, I wrote an article entitled Sixers trade rumors: The nonsense and the actuality. HERE IS A SECTION OF THE TEXT FROM THAT ARTICLE.

The media has said or written that Tobias Harris wasn’t an elite player last season. That’s right, he wasn’t. It wasn’t because he had a bad season though.

Harris wasn’t elite last year because Tobias Harris is not an elite NBA player. He will never be an all-star but he’s getting paid like a first ballot hall-of-famer. He is a very nice player. When the Sixers acquired Harris during the 2018-19 season, he was making $18M in the final year of his contract.

In the summer of 2015, Tobias Harris signed a four-year, $64 million contract with the Orlando Magic. Giving him a bit more today would be fine. $18-22 million per season would be great for Tobi. $36-40 million is a death sentence.

Tobias averages around 17-20 ppg. That’s what you’re getting from him. You won’t get much else. There isn’t another level for Tobias to reach. This is who he is and he will never be better than he is right now.

Why Elton?

Elton Brand is responsible for Tobias Harris' contract with the 76ers

So why did Elton Brand sign him to a five-year $180M max contract? It’s obvious Brand can’t evaluate talent, or he would’ve known what Harris is and will continue to be in the future. Exactly what he is now.

There is/was no upside for Harris. He will take up 23% of the cap for the Sixers in 2020-21. Philly has a roster where the top four players take up most of the payroll. On most other teams, Tobias’ percentage of the payroll would be considerably higher.

If the 100% guaranteed contract of Harris doesn’t seem so bad, look below it’s a list of the upcoming seasons highest paid players. Tobias is 10th in the entire league“.

13th highest salary

Harris is the NBA’s 13th-highest-paid player this season, and the 12 players ahead of him have all been selected to at least five All-Star teams. Harris came close last year, but he’s never been an All-Star even once.

Orlando Magic

Harris played one season at the University of Tennessee. He was drafted by the Charlotte Bobcats with the 19th overall pick in the 2011 NBA Draft.

He was traded to the Milwaukee Bucks before his rookie season. Tobi didn’t really start to come into his own and become a starter until he became a member of the Orlando Magic during the 2012-13 season.

Clippers I.Q

The Los Angeles Clippers offered Harris an $80 million contract extension that Tobias rejected. An NBA extension is for four years usually, so I think what Jerry West offered Tobi was somewhat low balling him.

It’s better to low ball him from a basketball standpoint for an organization trying to optimize its future than give him $36-40 million per season. If the Clippers would have given him this kind of franchise player money, they would have Kawhi Leonard and Tobias Harris, instead of Kawhi and Paul George.

When Tobias signed his deal with The Sixers, it was the fifth largest contract in the NBA at the time. Anyone think that he is close to the fifth best player in the entire NBA?

At the time, the 11-year veteran’s $180 million dollar contract was the biggest contract in franchise history.

Joel Embiid Extension

Joel Embiid signed a max contract extension on August 17, 2021. The Supermax deal is a 4-year $196 million extension that doesn’t begin until the final two years on Joel’s current contract end. This deal became the richest contract in Sixers history, rightfully so.

He will be the Philadelphia 76ers franchise player through 2026-27. That is if “god willing”, Joel Embiid remains injury free.

The problem with the Tobias Harris contract is when you give a good player, franchise player money with years attached, it makes it almost impossible to get the needed talent to surround a player like Joel Embiid with. Assuming that you want to legitimately contend for an NBA championship in the near future.

Daryl Morey

Daryl Morey, Sixers President of basketball operations is trying to trade Tobi in Simmons deal.

Elton Brand is literally still the 76ers general manager and Daryl Morey is the President of Basketball Operations. Why is Brand still the GM?

The logical answer is he knows where the bodies are buried or has something on the owners that he’s using to blackmail the organization.

Regardless, Daryl Morey is the actual general manager in an unofficial capacity. He was brought to Philadelphia to clean up the mess Elton made following the 2018 season.

To fix the blunder of the Sixers signing Al Horford and Tobias Harris to $277 million contracts in just a four day span.

The Al Horford and Tobias Harris contracts were seen quickly as two of the worst contracts in the NBA. Al Horford gave the Sixers trouble, playing for a rival team, the Boston Celtics. This made fans think it was a smart business decision. It wasn’t, I lost my mind the night it happened.

“THE PROCESS” WAS A 4-5 YEAR PLAN THAT WAS ROLLING SMOOTHLY WITH DRAFT PICKS AND CAP ROOM.

IT ONLY TOOK ELTON BRAND 4 DAYS TO SCREW IT UP.

WOW

Morey was able to move Horford’s salary, this was incredible. Even getting back a future starter in Danny Green.

Al wasn’t signed to as many years or the guaranteed money that Tobias Harris was. Much of Horford’s salary was guaranteed though and it was an amazing job by Morey to move him. THIS CAN’T BE UNDERSTATED.

Helping Harris

Ben Simmons assisted on 97 of Tobias’ 473 made baskets last season, while no other teammate helped on more than 30. As Rich Hofmann of ESPN noted Tuesday, “Harris’ transition frequency is down from 18 percent of his offense in 2020-21 to 13.3 percent so far this season, and it’s fair to think that Simmons played a role in that success.” 

2020-21 season

During the first year under his new contract, Harris’s deal made him the scapegoat after a disastrous roster was built around him. After trading Al Horford and Josh Richardson for Danny Green and Seth Curry, respectively, Harris shot an impressive 51.2 percent overall and 39.4 percent from three last season.

This season, his effectiveness has dropped off considerably. He’s shooting a career low 45.0 percent overall and 28.7 percent from three-point distance, his lowest marks since the 2013-14 campaign.

“I told him that I saw him dribbling way too much [last year],” Rivers said. “Tobias is so darn skilled going downhill left and right, and we need to get back to taking advantage of that.”

Harris blamed the team’s spacing issues for that tendency toward over dribbling, saying it placed him “in those positions to try and find something to create.” The additions of Seth Curry and Danny Green during the 2020 offseason put Harris into a role for which he would be much better suited.

Ben Simmons &

Daryl Morey and Ben Simmons getting along with the Philadelphia 76ers organization

When the idea of trading Ben Simmons wasn’t a forced decision, I was against it in every way imaginable.

I used to say trading Ben Simmons could be the worst trade in NBA history if he develops a jump shot. In this scenario, he’s the best player in the world by 2025 with the same skillset as LeBron James.

Once Ben realizes he can backdown and overpower these smaller, weaker NBA guards, he will be a major problem for opponents, jump shot or not. He is the biggest guard in NBA history and when teams have to bring help his vision can take over.

This isn’t about Ben and trading him is no longer an unforced error. Ben Simmons wants out of Philadelphia so badly that he is willing to surrender in excess of $330,000 every time the Sixers take the floor.

This is about Daryl Morey trying to sell other organizations during trade talks on taking Tobias Harris’ contract along with Ben Simmons’.

The Sixers President of Basketball Operations wants a top-flight player for Ben Simmons. A top-25 player. Whether or not he finds a trade partner remains to be seen. It might be in The Sixers best interest to free up cap room and get young players that very well can be stars in the future, instead of looking for a current star in return.

Brazen

Ben Simmons & Tobias Harris' contracts could be traded together by the Sixers.

If the Al Horford trade was a small miracle, then unloading Tobias Harris’ contract in a trade would be like walking on water. It’s a brazen attempt by Morey to dump salary so that the Sixers can be future players in free agency. To be able to move financially is crucial in the NBA. It’s absolutely essential.

It’s something that should have been an option the last few years, if not for handing out bad contracts. Signing players to deals with years that they can’t possibly live up to is never a sound business decision.

JUST BECAUSE SOME FANS AND MEDIA WERE SCREAMING THAT THE MONEY GOES AWAY IF THE SIXERS DON’T SPEND IT, THAT DOESN’T MAKE IT TRUE. THAT’S NOT THE WAY IT WORKS.

that exceed what they are in actuality.

The Knicks did this and it’s the reason they were irrelevant for the past 20 years.

Tobias Harris trade

In my opinion, any GM in trade negotiations with the Sixers, taking on the contract of the 11-year veteran in a Ben Simmons deal, has to be prepared to NOT win until Harris’ salary is off the books.

The Sacramento Kings are looking at a record 16th consecutive season not making the playoffs. Taking on Tobias in the process of acquiring Ben Simmons might be feasible for them.

Harris is due almost $77 million guaranteed the next two seasons. He’ll be making almost $41 million in the final year of his deal in 2023-24. This is almost as bad as the Russell Westbrook or John Wall deals.

That money could have been spent on a real superstar for the Sixers. Since it was given to Tobias, they couldn’t give it to anyone else that actually warranted the money.

Harris entered the 2020-21 season with the league’s 10th-highest average salary, yet he’s the only one among the top 20 that hasn’t played in an All-Star Game.

Some players making less money than Tobias in the NBA are Bradley Beal, Anthony Davis, Joel Embiid and Nikola Jokic.

Any team taking on Tobias’ deal will be strapped in a similar situation. This is why moving Harris was/is so unlikely.

It means in most cases your team isn’t competing at the absolute highest level possible.

If the NBA didn’t have the salary cap structure it has then this wouldn’t be as big of an issue but it does and it is.

You can’t give a guy that’s never going to be an all-star, franchise player money.

Death Sentence

Tobias Harris' contract could be traded by Sixers in a Ben Simmons block buster trade.

The Tobias Harris contract is a death sentence for the team that controls it.

The 2.5 years left with its exaggerated price tag is an issue for any GM in any front office.

If the general manager doesn’t know the specifics involved and thinks he is making a good move, he never should’ve held that position in the first place and he won’t much longer. LIKE ELTON BRAND…..KIND OF.

Russell Westbrook

When the Los Angeles Lakers acquired Russell Westbrook I immediately wrote an article calling the move reckless. This precipitous trade for Los Angeles was either made to sell tickets and merchandise throughout the summer into the 2021-22 regular season, while maximizing the hype machine or the people in charge of the Lakers didn’t know WTF they were actually doing.

The two most important aspects for a championship contender winning an NBA title is defense and ball protection. Without these it doesn’t matter how many points you score.

Russell Westbrook isn’t a good defender and he has a career assist-to-turnover ratio of 2.07.

THIS WILL STOP A CONTENDER IN ITS TRACKS.

Murder by executive action

The Sacramento Kings seem to want to trade Buddy Hield, Harrison Barnes, Tyrese Haliburton and two 1st round draft picks to the Sixers for Simmons, Harris, and the perimeter defensive specialist Matisse Thybulle.

Thybulle isn’t the defender that Ben Simmons is but he is becoming recognized as a lockdown defender. One who likes to gamble, sometimes too much, especially on shot blocking attempts. I can still see Trae Young pump faking Thybulle as he goes flying into the third row.

This happened more than a couple times in the 2021 playoffs. Trae wasn’t in the corner either. Thybulle is still young though, with or without the Trae.

The Sixers don’t want to do this. My first thought is WTF but maybe Morey knows what he’s doing.

Sacramento Kings GM, Monte McNair was originally hired by Daryl Morey in 2007. He studied computer science at Princeton and Morey hired him in 2007 as a senior analyst. An analytics guru, McNair worked his way up to assistant general manager of the Houston Rockets by 2018.

Has to be a point guard

De'Aaron Fox & Tyrese Haliburton of the Sacramento Kings could be dealt in a Ben SImmons & Tobias Harris trade

If the Sixers make a blockbuster trade with the Sacramento Kings they have to take one of Sacramento’s point guards.

The Kings have De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and just drafted Davion Mitchell from the NCAA National Champion Baylor Bears with the 9th overall pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

It just makes sense that if the Kings are acquiring a point guard in Ben Simmons that they don’t want four point guards. They already have too many. From a Kings perspective, I’m not sure how I like a backcourt of De’Aaron Fox and Ben Simmons playing together. If the Sixers don’t want Fox, I have to imagine Sacramento would have to work out another trade with a different team.

Analysis

Sixers power forward Tobias Harris has a huge contract with years on it, can the Sixers trade him?

The analysis on this trade is tricky because I’m torn in two directions. Let it be noted, I like this trade because of Tobias Harris’ involvement but if he wasn’t involved I wouldn’t like anything about this deal.

Harrison Barnes alone is better than Tobias Harris. Buddy Hield is a shooter and he represents salary in a similar fashion to Harris’ but we’re talking less money and fewer years.

The two first round picks would be great, especially if they’re Sacramento’s own draft picks.

Not to get any of this F’d up, Ben Simmons is the best player involved in this potential trade. The best player by a mile. No other player that could be involved has the upside that Simmons has.

HIS CEILING IS THE BEST PLAYER IN THE WORLD.

Sixers needs

Looking at the Sixers without Simmons, they need a point guard that ideally can defend both guard positions. Defense wins championships. EVERY SINGLE SEASON.

They need defensively what Aaron McKie and Eric Snow were to Allen Iverson. Tyrese Maxey needs to be moved to the shooting guard position and his backcourt partner needs to be able to defend the oppositions best backcourt player.

Tyrese Maxey and Seth Curry shouldn’t be starting together in the backcourt because of lack of defense and overall size. It might not seem like a serious liability during the regular season to the average fan but this will be exploited in a playoff series. A top notch perimeter player will just have a field day with them. Just shooting over the top of them, if he chooses to.

Not Sure It’ll Work

The Sixers need perimeter defense. Ben Simmons is the best perimeter defender in the NBA and only a handful of players ever had his defensive versatility EVER, ALL-TIME.

He covered for Tobias, Maxey, Curry, Shake, and Korkmaz’ defensive inefficiencies. It was much harder to exploit the 76ers defensive weaknesses with him on the floor.

For the Sixers to even consider becoming championship contenders, they will need better perimeter defense.

HOW MANY POINTS YOU SCORE IS IMPORTANT BUT IT’S NOT THAT IMPORTANT.

IT’S NOT LIKE IT’S THE DIFFERENCE IN WINNING & LOSING PLAYOFF SERIES’.

Don’t Fu**ing clap

Tobias Harris "don't clap" gif

On January 3, 2022, Fans of the Philadelphia 76ers began booing Harris during an ugly stretch in the second quarter. He then gestured to get them riled up even more. Later in the game he appeared to shout “Don’t fu**ing clap!” to the crowd after he made a basket.

Over me

Jimmy Butler after the Heat defeated The Sixers 4-games-to-2 in 2022 Eastern conference Semifinals.

Tobias Harris over me. Tobias Harris over me“, a hyped Jimmy Butler shrilled as he headed to the locker room after scoring 32 points to lead the Heat to the Eastern Conference Finals, thanks to a 99 – 90 series-clincher against the Sixers in Game 6 on Thursday night in Philly.

“The 76ers also gave Tobias Harris, who was acquired in a midseason trade in 2018, a five-year deal. The Tobias Harris contract was worth $180 million guaranteed. Harris scored 14 points in the loss.

Sixers Max offer to Jimmy

I think this was the ‘ole Michael Jordan example of making yourself believe something that isn’t quite true to keep you hungry and sharp against the opposition.

There are many articles written recently after the 2022 NBA playoffs ended, stating that The Sixers choose Tobias over Jimmy.

This is false. The Sixers offered Jimmy a $190 million max contract that he turned down before Philly offered the Tobias Harris contract for $180 million was proposed. Here is an excerpt from a Bleacher Report article from July 1, 2019

The Philadelphia 76ers weren’t able to re-sign Jimmy Butler in free agency, but it wasn’t because they didn’t try to“.

According to Tom Haberstroh of NBC Sports, the 76ers offered Butler a five-year, $190 million max contract, but he turned it down in order to take a four-year, $141 million deal from the Miami Heat.

Philadelphia received Josh Richardson as part of the sign-and-trade that sent Butler to Miami”.

The Sixers also agreed to re-sign Tobias Harris to a five-year, $180 million deal before adding veteran Al Horford on a four-year deal worth up to $109 million, via NBA.com”.

Jimmy Butler even said he wasn’t returning to Philly on J.J Reddick’s podcast after the fact in 2020.

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Moving on

ESPN’s Brian Windhorst has reported several possible Tobias Harris trade talks that possible were happening. You never know with these people because when there isn’t actual news to report they’ll make themselves believe an inquiry by one team that gets laughed at by another is a serious trade deal about to happen.

Sometimes they know the truth and just lie and say it fell through afterwards. I don’t think Tobias Harris’ contract will be moved, I think because of his salary, The Sixers will have to wait for the deal to expire following the 2023-24 season.

YOU NEVER KNOW THOUGH, IT ONLY TAKES ONE TEAM WITH AN INCOMPETENT FRONT OFFICE TO MAKE A TRADE HAPPEN.

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