PHILADELPHIA (94 WIP) -- The Philadelphia 76ers followed their most disappointing performance of the season — a 119-107 loss to the Toronto Raptors — with a blockbluster trade.
The Sixers have traded:
Own 2020 protected first-round pick
Unprotected 2021 first-round pick via the Miami Heat
2021 second-round pick
2023 second-round pick
The Los Angeles Clippers send back:
1. Tobias Harris is really good
First off, Harris is just 26 years old. He was a first-round pick in 2011 after just one season at Tennessee, and now — in season No. 8 (!) — Harris is averaging 20.9 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.7 assists. Harris is shooting 49.6 FG% / 43.4 3P% (!) / 87.7 FT%. Harris is an elite shooter. That 43.4 three-point percentage is on 4.7 attempts per game. He's eighth in the NBA in three-point percentage. His true shooting percentage of 60.5% is 29th in the NBA.
Harris is an All-Star caliber player trending up.
Defensively, Harris isn't elite by any means, but he's solid. At 6-foot-8, he gives the Sixers another athletic, big body.
2. Tobias Harris is a long-term play
Harris, as mentioned, is just 26 years old. He's an unrestricted free agent after the season, but the Sixers have acquired his Bird rights, meaning only Philadelphia can offer him a five-year max contract after the season. It would seem like general manager Elton Brand, Harris and Co. understand that a long-term deal with Philly is coming, or else you don't make this trade.
Harris is certainly more worthy of a five-year max than 29-year-old Jimmy Butler, and gives Brand and the Sixers some Butler insurance.
If things go well in the playoffs, say an NBA Finals appearance and everyone is getting along, Brand likely tries to re-sign Harris and Butler — probably meaning JJ Redick is gone. Embiid, Simmons, Butler, and Harris could cost the Sixers around $130 million. The 2020-21 projected salary cap is around $118 million, with the luxury tax at $143 million, per Derek Bodner.
Boban Marjanović is 7-foot-3 with a 7-foot-10 wingspan, but make no mistake, he's not just some ogre. He can play basketball and he has an excellent personality. Him and Embiid together on the same team is going to be must-see TV. Boban is a silky smooth career 77 percent free-throw shooter. He doesn't play much, about 10 minutes per game, but he's a much needed reliable backup center than can impact a game.
Marjanović, 30, is also an unrestricted free agent after the season. His future with the team is less certain, and frankly less important, than Harris'.
4. Mike Scott
Scott is a 30-year-old veteran 6-foot-8 power forward who is similar to Wilson Chandler. Scott, who spent his first five NBA seasons in Atlanta, is shooting 39.1 percent from 3 on 2.6 attempts per game this season. He'll give the Sixers some minutes off of the bench.
Scott is also an unrestricted free agent after the season.
5. Bye bye, Shamet
Saying goodbye to Chandler and Mike Muscala, and the draft picks honestly, is rather easy. Landry Shamet is a tough pill to swallow, and probably the asset that the Clippers needed to get this deal done. Shamet is a 40 percent 3-point shooter as a 21-year-old rookie and has a bright future.
6. Is Markelle Fultz next?
Very possible, but who knows? Fultz is due $9.75 million next season, so the assumption at this point is the Sixers are trying to trade him just to get him off of the books, but who even wants him? Maybe a bottom-five NBA team looking to take a shot on a high-upside asset, like say, the Atlanta Hawks, who are coached by former Sixers assistant Lloyd Pierce. The NBA trade deadline is Thursday at 3 p.m. ET.
7. The bench
The Sixers' bench is now T.J. McConnell, Marjanovic, Scott, Jonah Bolden, Furkan Korkmaz, and Amir Johnson. Zhaire Smith and Justin Patton continue to rehab from their injuries.
Other than trading Fultz, the Sixers could improve their bench by acquiring someone such as the New York Knicks' Wes Matthews on the buyout market, which would be huge. While their starting lineup is stacked, their bench is pretty awful.
8. Are the Sixers the best team in the East now?
Maybe. They're certainly going to be a problem in the playoffs with a starting lineup of Simmons, Redick, Butler, Harris and Embiid, all of whom will be playing close to 40 minutes per game in the postseason. On paper, the Sixers look excellent, but they will have just 30 games to gel before the playoffs begin. There's only one basketball, they still need to stop opposing guards, and Butler can blow up at any moment.
9. Pressure shifts to Brett Brown
If the Sixers fall short of expectations, which probably means reaching the conference finals at the very least, Brett Brown is going to unfairly take the blame from the media (and fans, in turn). For multiple reasons, I don't think Brand would fire Brown, barring something unforeseen. Brown has proven to be a good NBA head coach, and his relationship with Embiid and Simmons is critical to the future of the franchise. Brown should, and I think will, see this thing out regardless of how the 2018-19 season ends, but that won't stop people from yelling about him.
10. Up next
The Sixers host the Denver Nuggets on Friday night and LeBron James' Los Angeles Lakers on Sunday afternoon, so there couldn't be a better time for these trades in terms of exciting upcoming games.
By Andrew Porter