With the James Harden era in the rearview mirror for the Philadelphia 76ers, the organization now finds itself in a position where reigning MVP Joel Embiid likely doesn’t have the help he needs.
While the Sixers will undoubtedly look to acquire a new star to pair with Embiid, they could also use some internal growth from their current roster.
Tyrese Maxey seems like a prime candidate to step up, but according to a report, executives around the league are also looking at Tobias Harris as a potential candidate for a big year.
“I’ve talked to executives around the league, and while everyone talks about Tyrese Maxey as the player who will break out following the James Harden trade, I think people forget Tobias Harris is a guy who can drop 20 points a game,” said NBA insider Michael Scotto. “Executives around the league think he’s going to have a good season and flourish in a contract year.”
Harris is set to become a free agent in the 2024 offseason as he wraps up an extremely lucrative deal that will pay him around $39 million this season alone. There will almost certainly be a market for his services if the Sixers let him walk, but a strong 2023-24 campaign would still go a long way for his stock.
The veteran is off to an impressive start this season, averaging 19.7 points, 4.7 rebounds and 2.0 assists per game across three appearances. He has been one of the most efficient players in the league so far, shooting 66.7 percent from the field and 54.5 percent from beyond the arc.
The 2020-21 campaign likely stands as the best season of Harris’ tenure with the Sixers to this point. That season, he averaged 19.5 points, 6.8 rebounds and 3.5 assists per game while maintaining efficient shooting clips (51.2 percent from the field and 39.4 percent from deep).
Philadelphia is 2-1 this season thanks to back-to-back victories over the Toronto Raptors and Portland Trail Blazers. Embiid, Maxey and Harris have been major factors in the squad’s solid start, with Kelly Oubre Jr. also making his presence felt.
The Sixers are already being linked to several star players around the league, and executive Daryl Morey will likely turn over every stone in trying to bring in some external help. But for now, the squad needs to work with what it’s got, and that could mean increased expectations for a player like Harris.