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Tell a friend to tell a friend; the Sixers’ wing situation is weird

Tobias Harris is the top wing for a Sixers team that’s in a funky spot with the position.

2023 NBA Playoffs - Philadelphia 76ers v Boston Celtics Photo by Jesse D. Garrabrant/NBAE via Getty Images

Ready or not, another season of 76ers basketball is right around the corner. With that being said, it is once again time for preseason player profiles at Liberty Ballers.

We’ve already previewed several players, looking forward to how they could impact the team in the 2023-24 season.

Tobias Harris

Age: 31

Contract Status: Final year of five-year, $180 million extension; $39.2 million in 2023-24; UFA in 2024

Wow, where does the time go? Tobias Harris will be entering the final year of his five-year near-maximum contract extension he signed during the 2019 offseason. Despite the constant speculation that Philadelphia would look to move Harris while he’s on the final year of this deal, it’s been a very quiet offseason for him.

Despite the Sixers being in plenty of trade rumors — between James Harden, Damian Lillard and Buddy Hield — Harris has been pretty much absent from any of these trade talks. He commented on his trade value while also plugging his partnership with Crumbl Cookies in late May, and there's hardly been a peep about him since.

Season Outlook: Much like the state of the entire team, Harris’ situation entering this season is sort of in limbo. His role within the offense won’t be too different. He’ll be the third or fourth option and play about 35 minutes a game. Defensively is where things might be different for him this year.

Something to keep in mind with Philly’s wings and perimeter defenders is that the fate of P.J. Tucker seems to be tied to James Harden. The team seems to have been preparing their defense to replace Tucker with how much they’ve talked about playing Paul Reed at the four next to Embiid this season.

This would naturally mean Harris slides up to the three, a role he more or less had to play in the 2019-20 season. This shouldn’t be much of a problem for their defense. Harris’ improvements on that end of the floor have been the most progress he’s made in a Sixers uniform.

While it still may not be the most comfortable thing for him to do, he’s gotten used to the role of being a souped up 3-and-D guy, taking a backseat in the offense to supplement those around him. He took just 11.4 field goal attempts per game last year, his lowest mark as a Sixer. But his 4.4 three point attempts per game were the most he’s taken since the 2018-19 season when the Sixers acquired him from the Clippers.

It’s still possible Harris ends this season on a different team than the Sixers. That much money on an expiring contract can always be a helpful trade chip — and the team’s plan to save as much cap space for next summer would indicate they don’t plan on paying Harris again.

In the short term however, it’s hard to see the Sixers getting back someone who can match Harris’ production. Players who can both hit threes and defend wings at an above average level don’t exactly grow on trees. The Sixers are thin at the position given the departures of Matisse Thybulle, Jalen McDaniels and Georges Niang.

The Sixers’ fanbase has been counting down the days for four years when Harris’ contract would become an expiring deal and thus much easier to move. But now that they are here, it’s doesn’t quite look like a slam dunk to happen.

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