Report: 76ers trying to include Tobias Harris in Ben Simmons trade

Ben Simmons and Tobias Harris in 2021 NBA Playoffs - Philadelphia 76ers v Atlanta Hawks
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The 76ers took their Ben Simmons trade drama into the season, believing better offers would come as more players became available and some teams disappointed/became desperate.

Hello, Hawks.

Atlanta is just 17-22. Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk is talking publicly about breaking up the roster. John Collins, who’ll become trade-eligible Jan. 15, is reportedly frustrated with his role.

But if trading Simmons hadn’t proven to be convoluted enough, Philadelphia looked at a realistic suitor and apparently said: Take Tobias Harris, too.

Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated:

I’m hearing that they want to include Tobias Harris.

The gist I’m getting is Atlanta was interested until they brought Tobias’ name up.

Brian Windhorst of ESPN said he also heard the 76ers wanted to include Harris in a Simmons trade.

It’s unclear whether Philadelphia tried to put Harris into negotiations with only the Hawks or with other teams. Atlanta has a deep pool of helpful players, including some on reasonably high-paying contracts. Including Harris could allow the 76ers to get even more of those quality players from Atlanta.

Including Harris could also be Philadelphia’s way of saving face. The 76ers set an extremely high bar for a Simmons trade and have lost leverage as the trade deadline approaches. Trading Simmons and Harris together could yield a better return (especially if you overlook Harris’ inclusion in what has been branded a “Simmons trade.”)

Harris is a good player. He could help plenty of teams.

However, he’s having a down year and is owed a lot of money. It’s hard to get teams excited about acquiring the 29-year-old.

If they can even swing it with the salary cap.

Harris ($35,995,950) and Simmons ($33,003,936) have combined salaries of $68,999,886 this season. That’s a ton of money to match in a trade.

Plus, Simmons ($113,680,224 over three years) and Harris ($76,903,200 over two years) are guaranteed substantial salaries beyond this season. Even if they could match Simmons’ and Harris’ 2021-22 salaries, some teams won’t want that long-term commitment.

Another potential snag: Harris’ best position is power forward. Simmons’ best position might be power forward. (In Atlanta, Simmons wouldn’t play point guard with Trae Young already there. Collins departing would open a spot at power forward.)

Of course, Simmons and Harris needn’t land on the same team. Multi-team trades are possible.

But that’d be making the situation even more complicated.