- The Philadelphia 76ers made a blockbuster trade on Tuesday to acquire forward Tobias Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers.
- The move is the Sixers’ second big, star-driven trade of the year – they traded for Jimmy Butler in November.
- In dealing several future draft picks and rotation players, the Sixers have gone all-in on 2019 with a “Big 4” but there will be pressure to succeed, as both Butler and Harris are free agents at the end of the season.
Early Wednesday morning ESPN’s AdrianWojnarowski reported that the Philadelphia 76ers had pulled off yet another blockbuster trade, acquiring forward Tobias Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers, along with big man Boban Marjanovic and a solid role player in Mike Scott.
The deal didn’t come cheap for the Sixers, who sent three rotation players – Mike Muscala, Wilson Chandler, and rookie Landry Shamet – as well as their 2020 first-round pick, the Miami Heat’s unprotected 2021 first-round pick, and two second-round picks to Los Angeles in exchange for the deal.
The trade is the second blockbuster deal that the Sixers have pulled off this season, having brought Jimmy Butler to the team in November.
Philadelphia’s second big trade of the year sends a clear message to both fans of the franchise and the rest of the league – the Sixers believe they can win a title now, and anything less than a Finals appearance this year will be seen as a disappointment.
As things stand, the Sixers are well-positioned to contend for a title this year. When the dust from the trade has settled, Philadelphia will sport a starting five of Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick, Jimmy Butler, Tobias Harris, and Joel Embiid – three All-Star calibre players, one near-All-Star, and one of the best shooters in NBA history. It’s a lineup that should stand up to any of other contenders in the East in a seven-game series, and even presents a compelling matchup against the Warriors in the Finals if things go according to script in the West.
Putting the Sixers in contention for a title was always the plan when the team chose to “Trust the Process” back in 2013, and the assets they accumulated in the time since then are what gave them the opportunity to trade for both Butler and Harris this year.
If it works, it will be the ultimate vindication of the “Process” era, but the Sixers all-in move does not come without risk.
Should disaster strike and the Sixers flame out of the playoffs in the first or second round, there is no guarantee that either Butler or Harris come back next year, as both players are set for sizable pay days in free agency this offseason.
If this year is successful, the Sixers could potentially pay both players and build around that core-four for the next few years, but there’s nothing stopping either Butler or Harris from taking a competing offer in the offseason should they decide to leave.
Should that worst-case scenario play out, the Sixers would still retain their two treasures of the “Process” era – Simmons and Embiid – but will have wiped away basically every other asset they have accumulated. Philadelphia could still contend in the East, but surrounding their duo with talent will be much more challenging after shipping away so many draft picks.
Then again, if the Sixers make the Finals and establish themselves as the team to beat for years to come, convincing Harris and Butler to return shouldn’t be too difficult as long as the money is right, and surrounding them with young players and veterans willing to take a minimum deal to contend for a title becomes an easier proposition.
There’s no telling how things will play out for the Sixers, but Philadelphia is making moves like a team that truly believes it can contend for a title right now. Whether they’re correct or not will likely shape the next four years of the franchise.
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