Sixers Trade for Tobias Harris Shakes Up the N.B.A.’s Eastern Conference

Sixers Trade for Tobias Harris Shakes Up the N.B.A.’s Eastern Conference

February 7, 2019

The Philadelphia 76ers made a bold move in the early hours of Wednesday morning to try to seize control of the post-LeBron James Eastern Conference by trading for Tobias Harris, the Los Angeles Clippers’ dynamic forward.

In his second trade this season for a player who can become a free agent in July, Philadelphia General Manager Elton Brand surrendered two future first-round picks and two second-round picks in a six-player deal. The clear headliner, though, is Harris, who will join Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, J.J. Redick and Jimmy Butler, November’s acquisition, in what threatens to be the league’s most potent starting lineup outside of Golden State.

The cost for Philadelphia was significant. The Sixers gave up their first-round pick in 2020 and an unprotected first-round pick in 2021, which they have from the Miami Heat, along with Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala and Landry Shamet, a rookie guard. In return, Philadelphia will receive Harris, Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott.

“We are in a unique position to contend now, and we think this trade positions us well for the postseason,” Brand said in a statement.

Philadelphia entered Wednesday’s play as the East’s No. 5 seed at 34-20, six games behind Milwaukee (39-13). The Sixers’ twofold challenge now will be establishing a chemistry among its new five-man core in the 28 games left before the playoffs and then re-signing Harris and Butler this summer after making two of this season’s biggest trades to get them.

Harris emerged as an All-Star contender for the Clippers this season by averaging 20.9 points and 7.9 rebounds per game. His move to Philadelphia gives the Sixers another much-needed shooter (.496 from the field and .434 from 3-point range) alongside Redick.

In making this trade, the Clippers ultimately decided that the draft picks Philadelphia offered were too valuable to pass up as they prepare for a big summer in which they are widely considered to be the league’s strongest threat to lure Kawhi Leonard away from the Toronto Raptors in free agency.

The Clippers, at 30-25, have been one of this season’s surprise teams and sit at No. 8 in the Western Conference. But earlier this week, they also were named as one of four teams that Anthony Davis of the New Orleans Pelicans is willing to sign with long-term. This deal adds two more potentially enticing trade chips for the Clippers to offer the Pelicans for Davis — who has requested a trade — or to use in pursuit of other elite players.

With Thursday’s 3 p.m. trade deadline approaching, teams across the league, especially Philadelphia’s top rivals in the East, are running out of time to make their own moves to try to keep pace.

The Boston Celtics, according to numerous reports, have been urging the Pelicans not to trade Davis until after the season, since league rules prevent Boston from trading for Davis while both he and Celtics guard Kyrie Irving are playing under maximum rookie scale contract extensions. The Toronto Raptors, meanwhile, have reportedly expressed trade interest in the very available Memphis Grizzlies duo of Marc Gasol and Mike Conley.

Source: Read Full Article