Estimated reading time: 10 minutes
Tobias is a very nice NBA player. When the 76ers acquired him at $18M 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 $180M guaranteed five-year contract that he couldn’t possibly ever live up to. Will his salary be moved by the NBA trade deadline on February 10?
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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 ANYWAY.
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.
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 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“.
The Los Angeles Clippers offered Harris an $80 million contract extension that Tobias turned rejected. An NBA extension is for four years, so I think what Jerry West offered Tobi was somewhat low balling him.
It’s better from a basketball standpoint than giving 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 Tobi signed his deal with The Sixers, it was the fifth highest contract in the NBA at the time. Anyone think that he is close to the fifth best NBA player?
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. It’s the richest contract in Sixers history.
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, it makes it almost impossible to get the needed talent to surround a player like Embiid with. Assuming that you want to legitimately contend for an NBA championship.
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 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.
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.
Ben Simmons &
When the idea of trading Ben Simmons wasn’t a forced decision, I was against this 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.
It’s about Daryl Morey trying to sell other organizations 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.
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 for big time talent. To be able to move financially is crucial in the NBA, it’s 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 JUST GOES AWAY IF THE SIXERS DON’T SPEND IT, THAT DOESN’T MAKE IT TRUE. THAT’S NOT THE WAY IT WORKS.
The Philadelphia 76ers have players who’s salaries are in conflict with their talent. You can’t give players years & money 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, Harris in a Ben Simmons deal, has to NOT be prepared to 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.
He is due almost $77 million guaranteed the next two seasons. 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 by the Sixers. Since it was given to Tobias, they couldn’t give it to anyone else that actually warrants the money.
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 that big of an issue but it does and it is.
You can’t give a player that’s never going to be an all-star, franchise player money.
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.
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 season, while maximizing the hype machine or the people in charge 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 MOST CONTENDERS IN THEIR 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. Morey hired him in 2007 as a senior analyst. An analytics guru and McNair worked his way up to assistant general manager of the Houston Rockets by 2018.
Has to be a point guard
If the Sixers make a blockbuster trade with the Sacramento Kings they have to take one of Sacramento’s point guards.
They have De’Aaron Fox, Tyrese Haliburton, and just drafted Davion Mitchell from the NCAA National Champions, the 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.
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. 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.
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. 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, Korkmaz. It was harder to exploit the Sixers with him on the floor.
For the Sixers to even consider becoming championship contenders, they need 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’.