Tobias Harris

Atlantic Notes: Pritchard, Celtics, Harris, VanVleet

Payton Pritchard showed on Saturday night that he’s too valuable for the Celtics to consider moving him before the trade deadline, writes Brian Robb of MassLive. Injuries gave Pritchard a chance to play with the game on the line and he delivered 12 fourth-quarter points, including a three-pointer that turned out to be the game-winner.

Pritchard has recently overtaken Sam Hauser in Boston’s rotation, and he was in the game at crunch time due to injuries to Marcus Smart and Derrick White. Robb acknowledges that several teams have expressed interest in Pritchard, but he doesn’t believe the Celtics can improve their title chances by trading him.

“I’m happy for Payton,” coach Joe Mazzulla said. “This league can be unforgiving at times. You have to be strong-minded, you got to work hard, you got to be patient. Payton’s all of those things. I’ve always told him: Whenever it’s his time, I trust him completely. He was great tonight.”

There’s more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Smart and Robert Williams both left Saturday’s game with injuries, but the Celtics don’t sound overly concerned about either of them, according to Jared Weiss of The Athletic. Smart suffered a sprained right ankle, but X-rays were negative and he’s considered day to day. Williams didn’t return after halftime due to a hyperextended left knee, but Mazzulla assured reporters that he’s OK.
  • The Sixers‘ best option is to hold onto Tobias Harris, at least through the end of this season, contends Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Harris delivered 17 points, six assists and five rebounds Saturday as Philadelphia won at Sacramento without Joel Embiid and James Harden, and Pompey points out that Harris’ willingness to adapt to changing roles has made the Sixers seem like legitimate title contenders. Harris has one year left on his contract, and Pompey believes that if the team wants to unload him, it will be easier this summer when he has an expiring deal.
  • The Raptors fell to 20-27 with Saturday’s loss, and Fred VanVleet understands that the team needs to start winning to avoid major changes at the deadline, per Michael Grange of “In my seven years going through it, you realize there’s nothing you can do about it,” VanVleet said. “The better you play and the better your team does, the lower the chance anybody getting shipped out of here.”

Sixers Notes: Harris, Embiid, Thybulle, Playoffs

Though starting Sixers power forward Tobias Harris may want an extension from Philadelphia, it would behoove the team to keep him on his current deal to maximize its flexibility, Kyle Neubeck of opines in a new mailbag. Harris will be a free agent in the summer of 2024.

Neubeck notes that moving on from Harris for a better player would probably necessitate also including the rookie scale contract of impressive shooting guard Tyrese Maxey. Neubeck opines that the team should hold off on an extension unless it comes at a discount.

Elsewhere in the mailbag, Neubeck also discusses the possibility of the Sixers having a quiet trade deadline as they start to gel, closing lineups, and more.

There’s more out of the City of Brotherly Love:

  • All-NBA center Joel Embiid will be shelved for the Sixers’ next game, Friday against the Bulls, due to left foot soreness, per Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer (Twitter link). Pompey notes that this will mark Embiid’s second straight absence with the ailment.
  • Philadelphia head coach Doc Rivers recently explained his decision to prioritize playing swingman Matisse Thybulle over Danuel House for the Sixers, Pompey writes in a recent article“I just think Matisse is playing terrific defense,” Rivers said. “And it’s really helped us. He’s staying aggressive… overall, he’s been fantastic for us.” 
  • Following a rocky start to their 2022/23 season, the Sixers have been coming on strong of late. The team currently boasts a 23-14 record this year, and is just 2.5 games behind the Celtics for the Eastern Conference’s top seed. But another year of regular season achievement is no longer the end game. The goal now must be making it beyond the second round of the playoffs, Pompey opines in a separate piece. Philadelphia’s opening night starting five of James Harden, Maxey, Harris, P.J. Tucker and Embiid has only been fully available eight times thus far, as Pompey notes. Whenever Embiid returns, Pompey believes the club will be able to fully assess its roster needs ahead of the February 9 trade deadline.

Fischer’s Latest: Cavs, LeVert, Crowder, Okoro, Bogdanovic, More

The Cavaliers would love to add a defensive-minded wing who is also a consistent shooting threat, but doing so won’t be easy, writes Jake Fischer of Yahoo Sports. After acquiring Donovan Mitchell in the offseason, Cleveland no longer has any first-round picks available to trade, so landing a wing would probably require the club to move Caris LeVert and another rotation player, which isn’t an appealing prospect.

Fischer names Tobias Harris and Jae Crowder as a couple veterans who would make sense for the Cavaliers from an on-court perspective. However, Cleveland likely wouldn’t be able to put together a package for Harris that would entice the Sixers, and the Suns are seeking a “playoff-caliber player” in return for Crowder — if the Cavs had that sort of player available, they wouldn’t be in the market for another wing, Fischer writes.

Although LeVert might have to be included in a package for an upgrade on the wing, the Cavaliers still value his “high-character presence in the locker room,” per Fischer, and aren’t looking to move him, even if they’re open to discussing him. As the Cavs consider what sort of impact any potential target might have, LeVert will be the “comparative barometer,” says Fischer.

Here’s more from Fischer’s latest story:

  • The Cavaliers are still hopeful about Isaac Okoro‘s development into the sort of two-way wing they’re missing and he has a strong desire to remain in Cleveland, sources tell Fischer. The fifth overall pick in the 2020 draft, Okoro will be eligible for a rookie scale extension during the 2023 offseason.
  • The Cavaliers are among the teams with interest in Pistons forward Bojan Bogdanovic, but Detroit has set a high asking price for Bogdanovic, according to Fischer. The team is believed to be seeking a first-round pick, plus either additional draft assets or a young player with upside. The Mavericks, Lakers, and Suns are among the other teams interested in Bogdanovic, Fischer adds.
  • Crowder, who is in the final year of his contract, is hoping to sign an extension similar to the three-year, $33MM deal P.J. Tucker got from Philadelphia this past summer, Fischer writes. The Suns‘ unwillingness to give Crowder that sort of deal is considered a factor in his decision to remain away from the team this season.
  • While forwards like P.J. Washington, Jalen McDaniels, and Kelly Oubre will draw interest from potential suitors, center Mason Plumlee appears to be the Hornets‘ most likely trade candidate, says Fischer. Moving Plumlee would open up more minutes for youngsters Mark Williams and Nick Richards at center.

Atlantic Notes: Barrett, Brunson, Harden, Harris, Stoudamire

Knicks wing RJ Barrett is expected to miss around a week with a lacerated right index finger, a source tells Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News. Barrett sustained in the injury just two minutes into Tuesday’s loss to Dallas when he appeared to get scratched by Luka Doncic when the two players were vying for possession of the ball, per Bondy.

The 22-year-old has been ruled out for Thursday’s game against San Antonio, the Knicks announced (via Twitter). Jalen Brunson, who missed his first return to Dallas on Tuesday, is once again listed as questionable with right hip soreness.

Here’s more from the Atlantic:

  • Following up on weekend report indicating that James Harden is contemplating a return to Houston in free agency, ESPN’s Zach Lowe said on his Lowe Post podcast that there are “whispers around the league” that Harden wants to continue doing one-plus-one contracts going forward — in other words, a two-year deal with a player option (hat tip to RealGM). The star guard went that route last summer with the Sixers in free agency, opting for short-term flexibility over long-term security.
  • The Knicks reportedly had internal discussions about trading for forward Tobias Harris, which prompted Kyle Neubeck of to examine the rumor from the Sixers‘ side of things. While Neubeck doesn’t doubt the veracity of the rumor, he also doesn’t think the Sixers would have any interest in what the Knicks might realistically offer for Harris, who has been a valuable contributor for Philadelphia in 2022/23, even if his contract isn’t ideal.
  • Former player and current Celtics assistant coach Damon Stoudamire has accumulated plenty of coaching credits since playing days ended, but Tuesday marked the first time he was the acting head coach in an NBA game, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe (subscription required). Stoudamire, who hopes to become a head coach in the league, filled in when interim head coach Joe Mazzulla unexpectedly missed the win over Houston due to eye irritation, according to Washburn. “We pretty much knew what we wanted to do,” said Stoudamire, who only found out he’d be in charge about 15 minutes before tip-off. “Honestly, it’s a collaborative effort. Everybody plays their part in situations like this. And it’s been like this pretty much all season. For me, it was just a matter of going out there and truly not messing it up.”

Knicks Discussed Acquiring Tobias Harris

The Knicks pondered the possibility of pursuing Sixers forward Tobias Harris in a trade prior to their recent winning streak, Ian Begley of SNY TV reports (video link).

Harris’ name has been bandied about on the rumor mill for quite awhile and The Athletic reported last month that the Sixers were gauging interest in the veteran forward. It appears that the Knicks had some interest and could continue to look at Harris, depending upon how the next few weeks play out.

Harris had eight points, six rebounds and two assists in Philadelphia’s 119-112 win over the Knicks on Sunday as New York lost its third straight after an eight-game winning streak.

“The Knicks, at least internally, talked about the idea of acquiring Tobias Harris via trade before their winning streak started,” Begley said. “… Tom Thibodeau spoke highly of Harris before the game. That’s just one name to keep an eye on.”

With the Sixers’ addition of James Harden and the emergence of Tyrese Maxey last season, Harris’ numbers dropped somewhat last season. He averaged 17.2 points per game, compared to 19.5 PPG the previous season. This season, Harris is averaging 17.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

Harris is highly respected around the league for his professionalism, but his salary makes him difficult to trade. He’s making $37.6MM this season and $39.3MM in 2023/24, the final year of his contract.

“I know that he does have some fans in the organization,” Begley said. “He’s making a lot of money. It would be a big trade to pull off salary-wise but it’s at least something the Knicks kicked around internally prior to this winning streak.”

Philadelphia, naturally, has championship aspirations, so it’s difficult to gauge what it would hope to get for Harris and still remain in the hunt for an Eastern Conference title. The Knicks would love to move Evan Fournier, who’s making $18MM in the second year of a four-year contract that includes a team option in the final year.

Derrick Rose, also out of the Knicks’ rotation, is earning $14.5MM this season with a team option on next year’s salary. Cam Reddish has an expiring $5.9MM deal. But the Sixers would also likely want a younger, cheaper player who could take Harris’ spot, such as Obi Toppin ($5.3MM), to help them this season. Toppin is currently sidelined by a leg injury.

Harden is reportedly considering a reunion with the Rockets in free agency next summer.

Sixers Notes: Harris, Reed, Milton, Embiid

After spending most of his career as an isolation scorer, Sixers forward Tobias Harris concentrated on improving his catch-and-shoot game over the summer to provide a complementary weapon to Joel Embiid and James Harden, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. The results have been impressive, as Harris is thriving in the role and the Sixers have reeled off six straight wins. He scored 17 points in 21 minutes Wednesday, two days after sinking a game-winning three-pointer against the Raptors.

Harris is averaging 17.1 points per game this season, which is his lowest mark since being acquired in a trade nearly four years ago. But he’s shooting 42.2% from beyond the arc, which would be the best figure of his career.

“I know that if you threw me out there two years ago, I wouldn’t be able to do it and get going because that wasn’t the mentality for me, catching and shooting really fast,” Harris said. “At first it was tough, but now I kind of changed my mentality toward it and just said like, ‘OK, if that’s the case and situation, how do you be the best at it?’”

There’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Montrezl Harrell has reclaimed the backup center role from Paul Reed, who has fallen out of the rotation over the past two weeks, Pompey states in a separate story. Reed, who saw just four minutes in Wednesday’s rout of the Pistons, acknowledges that he needs to play better. “You have to handle it like a professional,” he said. “I understand that I have areas that I need to improve on. I ain’t trippin’. I just know I have to get better so I’m putting in the work every day, and I know it’s going to pay off.”
  • Shake Milton‘s improvement gives the team four rotation-level guards and could lead to some interesting decisions when Tyrese Maxey returns from injury, according to Rich Hofmann of The Athletic. Hofman expects coach Doc Rivers to use more three-guard lineups when the roster is healthy with some mixture of Maxey, Harden, Milton and De’Anthony Melton.
  • In an interview with Cassidy Hubbarth of ESPN, Embiid rejects the idea that he and Harden aren’t ideal complements to one another. “I don’t know where that’s coming from because last year when we got him, we just kept dominating teams,” Embiid said.

Atlantic Notes: Harden, Harris, Sixers, R. Williams, Raptors

James Harden says he was at a “low point” after the Sixers were eliminated in last season’s playoffs by the Heat. Being traded twice in two seasons, dealing with significant injuries, and a couple of tough playoff losses left him “drained and deflated,” according to Yaron Weitzman of

The whole two years was a low point. I’ve never really had to deal with something like that,” Harden told Weitzman recently. “My body, mentally, physically … It was a lot going on. I mean, basketball is everything to me.”

The former MVP guard discussed a number of topics with Weitzman, including his reluctance to do interviews (“People will take the smallest thing that I say and basically screw it up and then it becomes a problem“), his desire to have his career be remembered in a positive light (“I’m one of the people that changed the game of basketball. Honestly, the only thing that I’m missing is a championship“), his offseason work to avoid future injuries, acclimating with the Sixers, adjusting his game as he gets older and plays alongside another ball-dominant star in Joel Embiid, and his relationship with the back-to-back MVP runner-up, among others.

When asked about his struggles in playoff elimination games, Harden admits his results have been mixed — but says it’s not entirely on him.

I’ve had a few bad games in close-out games. Not all of them have been bad,” he said. “Quite frankly, a lot of the times our team wasn’t good enough to compete for championships, if you want to be honest. There’s only so much I can do.”

Weitzman’s feature is worth checking out in full if you’re interested in Harden’s career.

Here’s more from the Atlantic:

  • Sixers forward Tobias Harris was ruled out for Friday’s victory over the Warriors due to back pain, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer. It was Harris’ third missed game of the season, and it’s unclear what his status is going forward.
  • In another story for The Philadelphia Inquirer, Pompey writes that the city’s Chinatown residents continue to be adamantly opposed to the Sixers‘ arena proposal, and recently voiced their displeasure at a contentious meeting. “People are very frustrated about the developer continuing to promote their proposal without thinking about Chinatown people’s anger,” said Wei Chen, the civic engagement director of AAU.
  • Celtics big man Robert Williams made his 2022/23 season debut in Friday’s loss to Orlando. As Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe relays (via Twitter), Williams admits he was a little nervous before the game. I felt great. The nerves were getting me pretty bad before the game. We (bleeping) lost. We gotta bounce back from that,” he said.
  • The Raptors have fallen to 13-16 after dropping Friday’s nail-biter to the Nets. According to Doug Smith of The Toronto Star, the team’s front office is displeased with the up-and-down start to the season, and are keeping a close eye on how players respond while evaluating the roster ahead of February’s trade deadline.

Atlantic Notes: Harris, Grimes, Tatum, Brown, Raptors

Though Sixers starting power forward Tobias Harris may be a trade candidate down the line, Philadelphia needs his two-way contributions while weathering injuries to the team’s three leading scorers, writes Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

Harris, the Sixers’ fourth-leading scorer, has two years and $76.9MM remaining on his current maximum-salary contract with the club. In his last two contests – with James Harden, Joel Embiid, and Tyrese Maxey out – Harris is averaging 21.5 PPG while taking 20.5 field goals a night. For the 2022/23 season, the 6’8″ vet is averaging 15.6 PPG, on 13.1 field goal tries.

There’s more out of the Atlantic Division:

  • Knicks guard Quentin Grimes has been logging significant minutes of late, having been promoted to a starting role in the absence of injured wing Cam Reddish, per Peter Botte of The New York Post. “I feel great,” Grimes said of the opportunity. “I feel like I’m kind of back to my old game shape, really.Zach Braziller of The New York Post scouts how Grimes can help New York though his shooting, perimeter defense, and passing.
  • Ahead of his Mavericks’ 125-112 loss to the Celtics on Wednesday, All-Star guard Luka Doncic praised Boston as “probably” the league’s best team, adding that All-Star swingmen Jaylen Brown and Jayson Tatum could be the team’s best tandem, per Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Tatum and Brown combined for 68 points in Boston’s win over the Mavs.
  • The Raptors front office does not yet have enough information about the team’s roster to have made a determination about how best it can approach this season’s trade deadline, writes Doug Smith of The Toronto Star. Injuries and illnesses have affected several key players, including forward Pascal Siakam and shooting guard Gary Trent Jr. have impeded the team’s appraisals.

Joel Embiid Out At Least Two Games With Left Foot Sprain

Sixers center Joel Embiid will miss the team’s next two games with a sprain in his left foot, tweets Shams Charania of the Athletic. Embiid’s condition will be reevaluated later this week.

The injury likely occurred in Saturday’s game when Georges Niang accidentally landed on Embiid’s leg during a fast break, notes Tim Bontemps of ESPN (Twitter link).

Philadelphia will host the Nets on Tuesday and then travel to Charlotte the next night. If Embiid’s condition improves, he could be cleared to return Friday at Orlando.

The Sixers are already playing without injured guards James Harden and Tyrese Maxey, but Tobias Harris could be close to returning, tweets Gina Mizell of The Philadelphia Inquirer. Harris missed the past two games with hip soreness, but he was able to practice Monday morning.

Embiid, the runner-up in the MVP voting the past two years, is playing at a high level again this season, averaging a career-high 32.3 points through 12 games, along with 10.1 rebounds, 4.6 assists and 1.8 blocks.

Sixers Gauging Interest In Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle

The Sixers have begun preliminary check-ins with rival teams to discuss who may or may not be available in trades, and Tobias Harris is among the players who have been discussed, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Kyle Neubeck of provides more context on Charania’s minor rumor involving Harris, writing that there have been a lot more trade talks than normal prior to December 15, when most free agents signed in the offseason become trade-eligible, and “Harris’ name has been has been discussed quite a bit already.”

Neubeck also hears that Matisse Thybulle is drawing interest from opposing teams, and expects the fourth-year swingman to be a fixture in trade rumors leading up to the February deadline.

Harris’ name has popped up multiple times in the rumor mill over the past couple years, but as Neubeck notes, his salary — which pays him $37.6MM this season and $39.3MM in 2023/24, the final year of his contract — makes him difficult to move. Harris is a solid player, but just isn’t valued at what he currently makes, and replacing his production while likely not getting equal value in return doesn’t make much sense for a contending club like the Sixers, Neubeck adds.

Harris will miss Friday’s home game against Milwaukee with left hip soreness, tweets Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer.

As for Thybulle, he is one of the most unique players in the NBA because he’s an elite defender — he earned All-Defensive nods each of the past two seasons — but a major negative on offense. That makes his value difficult to gauge, because he was a liability in last season’s playoffs and has struggled mightily to start ’22/23, averaging just 1.5 points on .296/.188/.333 shooting (small sample size) in 13.1 minutes per night across 13 games.

Thybulle will be a restricted free agent next summer after failing to reach a rookie scale extension with Philadelphia. The former 20th overall pick will earn $4.4MM in the final season of his rookie contract.