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Report: Kings ‘could be convinced to take on’ Harris’ contract in Simmons trade

Could Joel Embiid receive yet another totally different core to play with?

Philadelphia 76ers v Sacramento Kings Photo by Rocky Widner/NBAE via Getty Images

You knew the Sixers were working the phone lines for a potential blockbuster ahead of the Feb. 10 NBA Trade Deadline. But maybe you didn’t know just how big these shakeups could get.

The latest rumors have us wondering if within the next few weeks, Joel Embiid could have yet another nucleus to battle with. Embiid, once again in MVP conversations, yet lacking the necessary support to contend for a title, has already been down this road. The player who probably expected to grow and develop with key names like Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jimmy Butler, JJ Redick, Ben Simmons, and Tobias Harris may need to hit the reset button again.

We knew Simmons was on the block, but recently we’ve heard more and more about Harris potentially being traded in the coming weeks as well.

Per Liberty Ballers’ Josh Grieb, Harris had this to say after a recent home loss to the Hornets:

“That’s something I’d rather not talk about,” Harris said addressing questions about being traded to what would be the 29 year-old’s sixth NBA team. “This isn’t my first rodeo. This isn’t the first time my name’s been brought up in trade rumors. It probably won’t be the last, so that’s that.”

Harris heard some boos from the home fans, and it’s not the first time that’s happened this season. His numbers are down from a career year in 2021, as he’s battled injury and illness in 2022.

The latest from Marc Stein, from his substack newsletter, “the latest trade winds:”

“More than one rival team believes Sacramento, in its desire for a significant shakeup as it bumbles toward a record 16th consecutive season out of the playoffs, could be convinced to take on Tobias Harris’ contract to facilitate a Simmons deal. If the Sixers can’t get the top-flight player they covet, going ahead with a Simmons deal that enables them to shed the two years and nearly $80 million left on Harris’ contract after this season might be too enticing to resist rather than holding out for a star in return.”

So, we have heard all along now that the Sixers want Simmons to suit up and play for the team. There is no development on that front. Yet the Sixers still have little interest in moving Simmons unless they’re getting back a top-25 player. But if they need to part with assets in order to move on from Harris, might they lump all of their positive and negative contracts into one double-max salaried mega deal? We feel Ben is worth four picks and Harris is worth negative one, so....

If there were a couple of teams who might not mind having Harris, even if they weren’t thrilled to onboard the journeyman, that has to tempt Daryl Morey. The Sixers would still need to get creative if they wanted to drum up cap space to be players in free agency even if they could part with Tobias. But depending on what they returned in a trade, and how long the incoming names were signed for, they could really enhance their flexibility.

It has been rumored that the Sixers might be targeting a sign-and-trade landing a big fish come summer like James Harden. Those types of scenarios could be easier to swing cap-wise if Harris were not on the books. There are even some possible, albeit highly improbable, Sixers super team scenarios that arise if they’re able to move Harris’ money.

Reports are that Kings’ guards De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton are not untouchable. Names like Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes figure to be even more obtainable. So there could be some type of framework here. Fox going to a third-team is one possibility. Haliburton seems like a prospect Daryl Morey might be intrigued by. Swapping one of Hield or Barnes for Harris in a broader framework might scratch enough of the Sixers’ itches to circumvent Philly’s currently unmeetable demands. Maybe something like “we need to get a top-25 player back for Ben Simmons...unless you’ll take Harris, then a top-35 player will do just fine.” Then Embiid could gear up for another seismic shakeup.