Tobias Harris

Sixers’ Nick Nurse Talks Harris, Reed, Embiid, More

Newly hired Sixers head coach Nick Nurse has been dealt a fairly difficult hand this summer. Star point guard James Harden is angling to be traded away before having played a single game under Nurse.

But Nurse still has a team to coach. To that end, he recently sat down with Ky Carlin of Sixers Wire for a comprehensive conversation about the club.

Here are a few standout moments from the chat, which is well worth reading in full.

On how he’ll integrate power forward Tobias Harris into his system: 

“There’s so much more he could possibly do and I kind of want him to settle in and play this role that he’s capable of playing that he’s got experience playing, but I do kind of want him to dream outside that role or expand outside that role eventually.

“I do keep a pretty loose lid on the roles if that makes any sense because I think there [are] guys — there’s some guys maybe they never shot three-pointers before and they’re not bad and we may need them to shoot more threes or, or whatever it is. [Reserve center] Paul Reed would be a good example for us for that. When we got James and Joel [Embiid] out there, there’s gonna be some open threes. So let’s start to open up their minds a little bit and let’s get working on it, and let’s see what happens. Things like that.”

On improving Reed’s shooting mechanics:

“Yeah, I mean, listen, about day two after I had the job, we went in the gym with Paul Reed and we just tried to start making a couple mechanical adjustments on his shooting form to see if he couldn’t shoot it a little better. It’s really been going good. I think he’s gonna have a good, good season.”

On how he will handle Embiid with regards to the league’s new resting policy:

“I think that we are looking at it maybe a little different than people think we might be. We’re trying to get him to play more games. Our goal is that it’s going up for him, not not the other direction, and some people would say, ‘Oh, that’s playoffs. Is he going to be?’ We’re just trying to get it going the other direction. I think that’s just what our people believe here that he can play and again, knock on wood, cross our fingers, all that stuff. There’s always things that can come up with that stuff, but I don’t know. I believe in the guys playing as much as they can and let’s see what happens.”

Morey Spells Out What He Wants In Potential Harden Deal

Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey says he’s trying to honor James Harden‘s trade request but won’t make a deal unless he can get a top-level player in return, or enough assets to acquire a difference-maker in a separate trade.

In a revealing radio interview on The Anthony Gargano Show, Morey discussed the Harden situation, as well as other roster issues. The quotes were posted by Morey said he’s seeking a “running mate” for Joel Embiid in a potential Harden trade, though he’s still hopeful Harden will change his mind.

“I do have a long relationship with him, and I am attempting to honor that,” Morey said. “If we do look at a trade, it will be for one of two things. Either a player who helps us be right there like we were last year. Up 3-2 on one of the best teams in the East, the Celtics. Obviously, we didn’t get it done, but James is one of the reasons we were up 3-2.  Or we are going to do it where we get enough draft picks so we can turn those into a player who can be a running mate with Joel. If we don’t get either – a very good player or something we can turn into a very good player – then we will just not do it.”

In regard to finding another top talent to pair with Embiid, Morey expressed hope that Tyrese Maxey could develop into that type of player.

Here are some other highlights from the interview:

  • Morey confirmed that the disconnect between Harden and the front office is due to the guard’s contract demands. Harden took a pay cut and signed a two-year deal last summer. He’s seeking a long-term deal, which Philly is reluctant to give him. “He is wishing for a different situation contractually,” Morey said. “That has been the main desire for looking for a new situation. At this point, if we can do something that is winwin, we will look at it. But if we can’t, then we won’t.” Harden picked up his option for next season prior to free agency.
  • Morey realizes that fans are weary of the team’s playoff flameouts and says he feels their pain. “Losing the way we did, the fact that this has happened over and over. I do nothing else but try to figure out how to get this team over the hump.”
  • Morey tried to calm down fans who are concerned about Embiid’s recent comments about wanting to win a championship “whether it’s in Philly or anywhere else.” He had some fun with that yesterday, that was a very Joel day yesterday. I spoke to him at length, he is very excited,” Morey said. “Coach (Nick) Nurse is planning to do some innovative things for training camp that Joel is excited about. ... He wants to win in Philly. That is the only place he wants to win. He was referencing the fact it is not totally in his control.”
  • With Harden and Tobias Harris on expiring contracts, the Sixers could be in the rare position of a contending team with plenty of cap space next summer. Morey plans to protect that cap space as much as possible. He’s hopeful of acquiring another star in that fashion: “What we are attempting to do is not just have the best team this season, but also have the ability to be a very unique team with the most cap room for a team that is as good as us. The new CBA next year will put massive constraints downwards on salaries in the league. So us being the only team with a top player, where another player can join, puts us in a very unique situation.” 
  • That cap situation for 2024 is why the Sixers aren’t planning to extend Maxey this offseason, Mike Vurkonov of The Athletic tweets. “Because of the quirk of the CBA we will be able to add a significant player next year before we extend Maxey and he’ll be a cornerstone, once we do that, with the franchise for a very long time,” Morey said.

James Harden Picking Up Option, Working With Sixers On Trade

Sixers star James Harden has decided to exercise his $35.6MM player option for 2023/24, but he doesn’t intend to return to Philadelphia, reports Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link). According to Charania, the plan is for Harden to work together with the 76ers to find him a new home via trade.

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link) confirms that Philadelphia and Harden have begun to explore trade scenarios, adding that the expectation is that the 10-time All-Star has played his last game as a Sixer.

The news comes as a major surprise. For several months, Harden’s anticipated free agency was considered likely to be a battle between the Sixers and his former team, the Rockets.

Within the last week or two, Philadelphia had seemingly emerged as a clear frontrunner based on reporting from several outlets. However, the 33-year-old won’t actually reach free agency after all, opting into the second season of his two-year deal with the 76ers in order to make it easier to trade him.

The Clippers have expressed interest in acquiring Harden, a league source tells Kyle Neubeck of (Twitter link). Wojnarowski (Twitter link) confirms L.A.’s interest and says the Knicks are also expected to engage in trade conversations with the Sixers.

The Clippers, armed with several movable contracts and a long-standing desire to add a backcourt play-maker, are an intriguing potential trade partner for Philadelphia. According to Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link), Los Angeles – which has been gauging the trade market for Marcus Morris and Norman Powell – have also inquired about Sixers forward Tobias Harris.

The Knicks, meanwhile, also possess a handful of tradable contracts, including Evan Fournier‘s expiring $18.9MM deal, and control several extra future first-round picks.

Still, Chris Mannix of (Twitter link) cautions that the Clippers and Knicks won’t be Harden’s only suitors. Philadelphia is already casting a “wide net,” according to Mannix, who says the club will be seeking a package of players who can fit alongside reigning MVP Joel Embiid.

The Rockets could make a play for Harden via trade if they so choose, but they’ve seemingly shifted their focus to free agent point guard Fred VanVleet, and Harden is focused on a move to a contender, according to Wojnarowski.

Although Harden missed out on All-Star honors this year for the first time since 2012, he still posted strong numbers during the regular season, averaging 21.0 points, a league-leading 10.7 assists, and 6.1 rebounds per game with a .441/.385/.867 shooting line in 58 appearances (36.8 MPG). He was expected to be among the top free agents available this weekend if he had opted out.

Because Harden is on a two-year contract, he won’t be eligible to sign an extension before he reaches unrestricted free agency in 2024. If he’s moved, he’ll be playing for his fourth team in four years. He was dealt from Houston to Brooklyn in January 2021 and from Brooklyn to Philadelphia in February 2022.

Atlantic Notes: Harris, West, Toppin, Celtics Moves

Sixers forward Tobias Harris knows that his expiring $39MM+ contract could be included in a blockbuster trade this offseason. Harris also knows that a segment of Philadelphia fans hopes that will happen. However, Harris doesn’t want to leave, Gina Mizell of the Philadelphia Inquirer writes.

“Casual Sixers fans, they’ll trade me for a Crumbl Cookie,” Harris said. “But at the end of the day, they have to realize that you’re not getting a 6-9 forward back who can damn near shoot 40 percent from 3, guard the other team’s best player, shoot, post up, drive and play 70-plus games a year. … I’m excited to come back, bring this group back, add a few pieces that help us out as a whole team and be ready to win.”

The Sixers forward is also hopeful James Harden will re-sign with the club. “There’s not many guys that can go out and drop 40 in a playoff game,” Harris said.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • The Sixers are adding Doug West to Nick Nurse‘s coaching staff, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets. West was an assistant to Nurse with the G League’s Rio Grande Valley Vipers.
  • Obi Toppin‘s future with the Knicks seems cloudy and the New York Post’s Peter Botte speculates on potential landing spots for the backup power forward. Botte lists the Pacers, Clippers, Kings and Hawks among the potential trade partners for Toppin, who is eligible for a rookie scale extension this offseason.
  • With the addition of Kristaps Porzingis, the Celtics can now address potential depth issues at forward and guard, Jared Weiss of The Athletic writes. They might address those needs via a sign-and-trade involving restricted free agent Grant Williams. Any new additions will have to make up for the toughness and aggressiveness that Williams, if he leaves, and Marcus Smart brought to the table.

Suns, Mavs Had Advanced Ayton Trade Talks During Draft

The Suns and Mavericks came close to making a deal on draft night that would have sent Deandre Ayton to Dallas, according to Marc Stein (Substack link).

Sources tell Stein that the proposed trade would have resulted in Tim Hardaway Jr., Richaun Holmes, and JaVale McGee heading to Phoenix. However, the Suns balked at the idea of taking back McGee as part of the package. It’s not yet known if the negotiations can or will be resuscitated, Stein writes.

The packaged described by Stein, which doesn’t include any draft compensation, seems pretty light for a former No. 1 overall pick. Sources tell Stein that the Suns were intrigued because they like Hardaway and Holmes and envisioned them as players who could immediately step into the rotation alongside stars Kevin Durant, Devin Booker, and Bradley Beal. Their contracts would also be movable in subsequent trades.

While one of Stein’s sources wouldn’t rule out the possibility of Phoenix and Dallas resuming their trade discussions, separate reports on Friday and Sunday indicated that the Suns intend to hang onto Ayton, which makes it sound as if the team has pivoted away from any talks involving the big man that occurred prior to or during Thursday’s draft.

Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer, who reported on Saturday that the Suns had spoken to the Sixers about a deal involving Ayton and Tobias Harris, also followed up on Sunday by stating that Phoenix had ended its pursuit of Harris and planned to keep Ayton.

As Yossi Gozlan of HoopsHype notes (via Twitter), if the two teams are willing to reopen their negotiations, it would make sense to fold any potential deal into a four-way trade with the Thunder and Kings that includes the previous Davis Bertans and Holmes agreements. In that scenario, they might be able to find a way to reroute McGee to Oklahoma City or Sacramento.

McGee is still owed approximately $12MM in guaranteed money over the next two seasons, including a player option for 2024/25. That 2022 signing looks like a clear mistake by the Mavericks, who also explored signing Bruce Brown using part of their mid-level exception a year ago, but decided that McGee was a “bigger prize,” ESPN’s Tim MacMahon said during the latest Hoop Collective podcast (Twitter audio link).

Pacific Notes: Suns, Ayton, Camara, Lakers, Warriors

Responding to a Saturday report that suggested the Suns are interested in using Deandre Ayton as a trade chip to acquire Tobias Harris from the Sixers, John Gambadoro of Arizona Sports 98.7 calls the rumor “just total BS,” tweeting that Phoenix has “no interest” in such a deal.

Gambadoro, who reported earlier in the week that Ayton appears unlikely to be traded, reiterated that point in his tweet on Sunday. While that doesn’t mean that the former No. 1 overall pick is a lock to begin next season in Phoenix, Gambadoro is pretty plugged in on Suns issues, so it sounds – for now at least – like Ayton is a good bet to stay put.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

  • The Suns didn’t have a first-round pick on Thursday night, but they were able to add a young player using a second-rounder, the last one they’ll own until 2031. Gerald Bourguet of takes a look at what the team should expect from No. 52 pick Toumani Camara.
  • The Lakers‘ No. 17 pick was mentioned in a series of trade rumors leading up to the draft, but the team hung onto it and nabbed Jalen Hood-Schifino, whom Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka referred to as a “lottery-level talent,” adding he “fits well with the young core that we’re building here.” As Jovan Buha of The Athletic writes, by drafting Hood-Schifino – and Maxwell Lewis at No. 40 – rather than trading for a veteran, the team was prioritizing its future over its present, at least on draft night.
  • Although the Warriors‘ leaders can’t formally address the Chris Paul acquisition until it becomes official, head coach Steve Kerr told Tim Kawakami of The Athletic that the team “sensed we needed a shift” entering the offseason. “Didn’t mean we needed an overhaul, but we needed a shift of some sort. I think everybody in the organization sensed that,” Kerr explained. “And it feels like we’ve made a pretty significant shift without giving up our identity and our sense of who we are as a team. I think, all in all, it’s a very positive shift.”
  • In case you missed, we rounded up a few Clippers-related items earlier this morning.

Suns, Jazz, Mavericks Join Pursuit Of Tobias Harris

The Sixers‘ options for a potential Tobias Harris trade are growing, but they seem more inclined to keep him, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Pompey hears that the Suns, Jazz and Mavericks have expressed interest in acquiring the veteran forward, joining the Cavaliers, Pacers and Pistons, who Pompey mentioned as possible trade partners prior to the draft.

A source tells Pompey that Phoenix views Harris as an ideal complement to its new Big Three of Kevin Durant, Devin Booker and Bradley Beal. The Suns are hoping to get a deal done before the new Collective Bargaining Agreement takes effect on July 1 to avoid restrictions involving the second tax apron.

The main impediment to a deal with Phoenix is that the Sixers would have to take Deandre Ayton in return, Pompey adds. Philadelphia doesn’t have any use for another center with Joel Embiid on the roster, especially with Ayton owed $102MM over the next three years.

The Sixers wouldn’t be interested in any other trade package the Suns could offer, according to Pompey. His source says Phoenix wants to add a third team to facilitate the deal, but Philadelphia hasn’t been willing to pursue that option.

The Pacers made overtures about Harris during Thursday’s draft, but sources tell Pompey they don’t have enough assets to make a deal work. Pompey is skeptical that Indiana can change that in light of Harris’ $39.2MM salary for the upcoming season.

Pompey also hears that Sixers management is overvaluing Harris in trade talks and asking for outrageous compensation in return. A source tells him that when the Cavaliers inquired about Harris, Philadelphia responded by asking for Jarrett Allen, Evan Mobley and a draft pick. A source told Pompey that Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey “isn’t negotiating in good faith.”

Philadelphia appears determined to keep Harris, Pompey adds, knowing that more trade opportunities will arise before the deadline in February. A source told Pompey that Nick Nurse is looking forward to coaching Harris and plans to give him a larger role in the offense than Doc Rivers did.

Sixers Rumors: Harris, Harden, Harrell, Centers

The Pistons, Cavaliers, and Pacers are among the teams that have inquired about Sixers forward Tobias Harris, with Indiana showing the most interest, according to Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. However, a source tells Pompey that a draft-night trade involving Harris is unlikely.

As Pompey explains, a separate source said the Sixers will likely only make a deal involving Harris if they get an offer that’s “hard to pass up.” Pompey has heard that teams around the NBA believe Philadelphia is overvaluing the veteran and is seeking “outrageous” packages in return for him.

Harris’ outsized contract has long made him a tricky piece to move in a trade, but he’s entering the final year of that deal in 2023/24. His $39MM+ expiring salary could appeal to teams looking to create cap flexibility beginning in 2024.

According to Pompey though, the Sixers view Harris as a good fit with new head coach Nick Nurse. If they keep him through this offseason, they could explore trading him at the 2024 deadline or could even try to re-sign him at a lower price next summer.

Here’s more on the 76ers:

  • It seemed earlier this year that the consensus among rival executives was that James Harden would leave Philadelphia for Houston. That consensus no longer seems to exist, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on a recent episode of The Lowe Post podcast. “The brakes have now been pumped, like slammed on, around the league to the point that I bet if you poll 50 front office executives, the majority of them would guess he’s going back to Philly,” Lowe said, per RealGM. According to Pompey, the Sixers don’t want to compromise their future by overpaying Harden on a long-term deal, but the Rockets also have reservations about committing huge money to him.
  • The Sixers face two significantly different paths this offseason depending on whether Harden decides to stay or go, Pompey writes in a separate story for The Inquirer, exploring how the former MVP’s decision will affect the organization in the short and long term.
  • Kyle Neubeck of explores the impact of Montrezl Harrell‘s decision to turn down his player option for the 2023/24 season. While Neubeck believes a separation is in both sides’ best interests, he notes that the Sixers will need to address the backup center behind Joel Embiid, with Harrell expected to depart and Paul Reed headed for restricted free agency.
  • In case you missed it, the 76ers are reportedly attempting to acquire a second-round pick in Thursday’s draft.

Atlantic Notes: Milton, Harris, Randle, Bridges, Toppin, Rajakovic

Shake Milton is the least likely of the Sixers’ free agents to re-sign with the club, according to Kyle Neubeck of Milton is looking for a opportunity to get an expanded role elsewhere, though that could change if the Sixers fail to re-sign James Harden.

There’s also no traction regarding a possible trade involving Tobias Harris and his expiring contract, Neubeck writes. There’s no sense of urgency to deal Harris, as the Sixers believe they’ll have multiple windows beyond this week to potentially move him. They’re not inclined to deal the veteran forward unless it improves their flexibility or top-end ceiling, Neubeck adds.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Julius Randle believes the Knicks are “not that far off” from being a championship team, he said on Paul George‘s Podcast P show (hat tip to SNY TV’s Ian Begley). “We got a great mixture of talent, bro. We’ve got young dudes, we’ve got guys going in their prime. So we’ve got a great mixture of guys and it’s like, ‘How do we keep getting better?’ So from a team standpoint, I think that’s where we at.”
  • Mikal Bridges believes that when injuries struck the Suns last season, he got a chance to showcase his offensive ability. That set him up to become a primary option after he was traded to the Nets, he told Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. “I always tell people I got traded at the right time with having pretty much the whole team out and being the guy for about a month and just going through the pains and the gains and growth throughout every day,” he said. “Having bad games and losing a lot to finally starting to get it going and start being efficient and trying to win games. And then once it kind of got to that and then that’s when I got traded. So it was perfect timing. I couldn’t have been traded at a better time.”
  • Obi Toppin’s trade value could be a late first-rounder in this year’s draft, a source told Stefan Bondy of the New York Daily News. The Pacers could be a potential suitor for the Knicks’ backup power forward, Bondy suggests, since they were interested in him before last season’s trade deadline and possess two late first-round picks. However, Toppin has supporters within the organization and he would become more valuable to the Knicks if they deal Randle in a blockbuster.
  • Darko Rajakovic presented a straightforward approach during the interviewing process for the Raptors’ head coaching job, he told Serbian media outlet MozzartSport (hat tip to  “When I entered the whole process, I had no intention of pleasing anyone and simply wanted to present myself, who I am and what I am, what my beliefs are, and what my basketball philosophy is,’ he said. “In the end, they liked it the most, so they decided to hire me.”

Atlantic Notes: Knicks, Paul, Pritchard, Harris, Sixers’ Draft

Acquiring Chris Paul doesn’t make sense for the Knicks, Steve Popper of Newsday argues. Paul, who has a partially guaranteed contract, is expected to be traded or waived within the next couple weeks.

While the Knicks are in the market for another star player, a backcourt of Paul and Jalen Brunson would be undersized and create other issues, Popper writes. Ideally, Paul could be a sixth man, but the much younger Immanuel Quickley holds that distinction and just finished second in the Sixth Man of the Year balloting.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Payton Pritchard will be a restricted free agent next summer and rival teams are keeping tabs on the Celtics point guard, who is seeking more playing time, according to Steve Bulpett of, who spoke to multiple executives about Pritchard’s value. The 25-year-old’s $4MM salary for next season could be included as part of a bigger trade. He was disappointed when he wasn’t dealt prior to the February trade deadline.
  • Beyond James Harden‘s free agency, the second most pressing question for the Sixers is what to do with Tobias Harris, Rich Hofmann wrote for The Athletic. Harris’ $39.3MM expiring contract could provide cap relief next summer and help Philadelphia avoid the punitive penalties for tax teams in the new CBA. However, it could also be used in a trade to acquire a young talent with a multi-year contract or several players to fortify their depth.
  • The Sixers don’t have a draft pick next week and Kyle Neubeck of points out just how unusual that is. The franchise has made at least one selection every year for 73 straight years. The Jazz currently own the Sixers’ first-round pick and Philadelphia had to forfeit its second-rounder due to tampering charges last summer, stemming from the additions of P.J. Tucker and Danuel House Jr.