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Report: source claimed Sixers asked Cavs for ‘Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and a draft pick’ for Tobias Harris

According to a new report, the Suns, Jazz & Mavs, now join the Cavs, Pacers & Pistons, as teams who’ve expressed interest in trading for Tobias Harris. But Philadelphia sounds... let’s go with unmotivated for now.

Philadelphia 76ers v Cleveland Cavaliers Photo by Jason Miller/Getty Images

At Liberty Ballers we’ve been all over the Tobias Harris trade market lately, or better yet, lack thereof.

Our Paul Hudrick recently reported that:

“There’s nothing imminent on Harris and the chances of him moving ahead of the draft are low, per a league source. Apparently the Sixers share the view that Harris should be seen as a positive asset and will only look to move the veteran forward in a deal that makes sense for them.”

So that almost gives you the sense rival teams have been trying to buy low on the talented, (but still overpaid) 12-year vet. Harris is due $39.2M this season, and is set to be an unrestricted free agent next summer.

Bryan Toporek explained why with a new CBA set to launch, Harris might finally be regarded as a positive value to certain teams. Cash-strapped squads could look to trade off long-term salary, aiming for cap space and optionality down the line instead. He’s expiring, AND is actually good, AND the perfect teammate?

Harris’ next contract might look a heck of a lot better than his last one did for any team (yes, including the Sixers) possessing his Bird Rights.

With Joel Embiid’s supermax about to kick in, with potential monster offers set aside for James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, letting Harris walk next summer wouldn’t magically open up tons of cap-space.

Based on a recent podcast appearance from Tobias Harris’ agent (and father) one also gets the sense that the stretch-four’s camp may be yearning for no. 12 to take on a bigger role moving forwards.

Torrel Harris, CEO of Unique Sports Management International, referred to his son as an “assassin scorer” who the Sixers too often leave “twiddling his thumbs” in the corners, spotting up. So if they held him through the year, they’d risk losing him for nothing if he’s still unhappy. That gives them at least some incentive to trade him at some point before next summer.

And now a new report from Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer provided several key updates on the Harris trade front.

Per Pompey:

“The Sixers have been adamant that they’re not willing to trade [Harris] unless it drastically improves their team. They made that clear on draft night and don’t intend to change their stance.

However, the Phoenix Suns, Utah Jazz, and Dallas Mavericks joined the previously mentioned Cleveland Cavaliers, Indiana Pacers, and Detroit Pistons as teams making inquiries about the 30-year-old’s availability, according to sources.

A source said the Suns want Harris to play alongside Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal. And they want to acquire him before the start of free agency on June 30 because of possible second apron ramifications.”

That’s intriguing. And June 30 is only five full days away! Could something sneakily be on the horizon? (Also, wow, it’s easy to forget Harris is just 30.)

Obviously, the Phoenix Suns, who recently acquired Beal from Washington now have a bit of an incentive to move off Deandre Ayton’s remaining $102M, three-year salary.

Swapping DA for Harris’ expiring contract would allow Suns’ President James Jones to not only add another floor-spacer, but also try to arb a potential gap left at big with some bargain vets. Typically, it’s easier to find a solid replacement-level player at five like a Bismack Biyombo (or heck, there’s always another Plumlee bro right?) than at other positions.

Maybe call Montrezl Harrell? Hassan Whiteside was legit solid in 2022 and didn’t even make a squad last season, try him.

But more importantly, Jones could provide new owner Matt Isbia some massive cash savings on a team that’s already wildly expensive, top heavy, and lacking avenues to properly support stars Devin Booker, Kevin Durant, and Beal.

But if there was a third-team out there who wanted Ayton, perhaps Daryl Morey could swing something?

Pompey continues:

“The Sixers have no interest in [Ayton]....So Phoenix wants the Sixers to get a third team involved to facilitate the deal, according to a source. However, the Sixers are unwilling to do so.

The Pacers were interested in acquiring Harris during Thursday’s NBA draft. However, sources said they didn’t have enough assets to acquire him.”

Don’t forget, the Pacers offered a truckload of money to the 2018 no. 1 overall pick last summer. But the Suns possessed matching rights and quickly moved to retain the center who once anchored the 2020-2021 Western Conference champ squad. But it seems as of now, Indiana’s brass is relieved that move didn’t pan out.

Here’s where things get pretty funny.

Remember the old Ben Simmons drama, when we used to hear Morey was asking teams for the sun, the moon, and the stars in exchange for his disgruntled point-forward?

What was that Morey supposedly asked Golden State for once, like Andrew Wiggins, James Wiseman and four first-round picks or something? Lol, if true it sounds like we might be back in that type of territory.

Per Pompey:

“Last week, sources told The Inquirer the Sixers are overvaluing Harris and asking for “outrageous packages in return.” That goes in line with what a source said the Sixers told the Cavs what it would take days before the draft: A package of Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley, and a draft pick.

A source said Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey “isn’t negotiating in good faith....”

It’s such a ludicrous ask that you wonder if it really happened. If it did, one gets the sense the Cavaliers knew Morey was kidding. Sometimes when I play fantasy football, and a rival makes me a lopsided trade offer, I counter with one even worse.

You want A.J. Brown for three dudes I never heard of? No, but how about you give me Travis Kelce for the Jags D?

This strategy (assuming it’s really what happened and it wasn’t intended as comedy, or a simple buzz off) has actually worked for Morey in the past. We won’t troll him even though the source’s claim is objectively comical. Pompey’s piece adds that the Sixers were “fully aware the Cavs would quickly decline,” and that new coach Nick Nurse is eager to coach Tobias. To be fair, you kind of have to ask for Mobley if you’re even talking to them. It’s due diligence. And maybe they’d panic with the new CBA and feel they can’t retain all of Darius Garland, Donovan Mitchell, Mobley and Allen and counter with something more reasonable that you happen to love. If not, you know I had to try.

But the most interesting part to me is that we’ve now heard a total of six teams made inquiries on the NBA journeyman, and that Phoenix may want to make something work by next Thursday. And it sounds like the Sixers found a creative way to say basically, stop low-balling us, we want a real return.

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