Sixers Notes: Harris, Melton, Batum, Hield

The Sixers and veteran forward Tobias Harris are expected to part ways once the 2023/24 season concludes, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Harris, who averaged 17.2 PPG, 6.5 RPG, 3.1 APG and 1.0 SPG on .487/.353/.878 shooting in 70 regular season games, will be an unrestricted free agent this summer.

“Several” league executives believe the Pistons could pursue Harris, who had a previous stint with Detroit, but the 31-year-old is expected to draw interest from a variety of suitors, Pompey reports.

As Pompey writes, Harris wasn’t at his best in Philadelphia’s play-in victory over Miami on Wednesday, recording just nine points (on 40% shooting), though he did grab 10 rebounds and dish out four assists in nearly 32 minutes. Many of his teammates struggled on offense as well, Pompey notes.

Harris was benched for the final four-plus minutes of the fourth quarter, which head coach Nick Nurse primarily chalked up to exhaustion (Twitter video link PHLY Sixers). Nurse said the 76ers will likely choose between “six or seven guys” — including Harris — for closing lineups in their first-round series vs. New York.

Here’s more on the Sixers:

  • De’Anthony Melton did not practice on Friday and will not play in Saturday’s Game 1, but Nurse said the 25-year-old has not been ruled out for the entire series, per Derek Bodner of PHLY Sports (Twitter link). Melton, who is another of Philadelphia’s many impending free agents, has been limited to just five games since January 12 due to a lumbar spine injury.
  • As Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic details, Philadelphia pushed for Nicolas Batum to be included in the James Harden trade with the Clippers back in November, and the veteran swingman showed how valuable he can be on both ends of the court in Wednesday’s victory. The 35-year-old scored 20 points, including 17 in the second half, and had a key block on Tyler Herro‘s three-point attempt with 26 seconds remaining. Batum is playing on an expiring $11.7MM contract and is set to hit unrestricted free agency this offseason.
  • He is only credited for 84, since the NBA doesn’t officially include the in-season tournament final or play-in games, but sharpshooter Buddy Hield holds the unusual distinction of playing 86 games this season before making the playoffs for the first time in his career, writes Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Hield, who was acquired from Indiana at the trade deadline, has been the league’s most durable player during his eight NBA seasons, Bontemps notes. The Bahamian guard will be an unrestricted free agent in 2024.
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