Sunday, January 23, 2022

76ers’ Tobias Harris addresses being mentioned in trade rumors: ‘It’s not my first rodeo’

Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris knows a thing or two about being traded, since he has been dealt four separate times in his career. First, he was moved from the Milwaukee Bucks to the Orlando Magic in 2013. Then in 2016, he was traded from the Magic to the Detroit Pistons

The Pistons shipped him to the L.A. Clippers in 2018, and then he was traded to Philadelphia in 2019. Now, Harris’ name is being brought up in trade rumors again, as the Sixers are reportedly looking to unload Harris — and the remaining two-plus years on his current, massive contract — prior to February’s trade deadline. The team is also obviously still looking for a suitable trade for disgruntled All-Star forward Ben Simmons, who has yet to play this season.

Just because a player has been traded several times before doesn’t mean the situation becomes easier. Harris has established a home for himself in Philadelphia after re-signing with the Sixers, and he has been vocal about his affinity for his teammates, and the community at large. Thus, it’s fair to wonder how being mentioned in trade rumors has impacted him — a topic he directly addressed following Philadelphia’s 109-98 loss to the Charlotte Hornets on Thursday night. 

“That’s something I’d rather not talk about,” Harris replied when asked if he was bothered by the rumors. “That already took too much energy out of me yesterday and today, and I want to move on from it. But, this is my 11th year in the NBA. It’s not my first rodeo. It’s not the first time I’ve been in trade rumors and it probably won’t be the last. So that’s that”  

Just like you can’t blame Harris for being less than enthralled with the idea of being traded (again), you also can’t blame the Sixers for exploring the possibility. Harris’ play this season has been underwhelming, and frankly he hasn’t lived up to the enormous contract that Sixers general manager Elton Brand singed him to back in 2019. 

With the Sixers, Harris has basically been a high-level role player masquerading as a max player, and that fact has only been amplified in Simmons’ absence this season. Thus, the Sixers are certainly justified in testing the market. However, that doesn’t mean that Harris’ days in Philadelphia are nearing an end, as finding a trade may be easier said than done given the fact that Harris still has two years and $76 million remaining on his contract after the current campaign. 

The Sixers should by no means be desperate to trade Harris, either. He’s a great guy to have in a locker room, and he’s extremely well-liked and respected by his teammates. Plus, he’s still a productive player, albeit an overpaid one. On the season, he’s averaging 18.4 points, 7.5 rebounds and 3.9 assists per game. If a sensible deal presents itself, sure, go for it. Otherwise, moving forward with Harris certainly wouldn’t be the end of the world for Philadelphia. 

Sometimes, when a player knows that his organization is potentially open to moving him, the relationship between the two sides is irrevocably damaged. That likely won’t happen here given the level of professionalism that Harris operates with, but it’s something to monitor nonetheless.  

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