Tobias Harris

Sixers Notes: Road Woes, Embiid, Clarkson

The Sixers traveled to Washington on Thursday and got ambushed by the Wizards’ high-powered offense. The loss brings the team’s record to 5-7 on the road (Philadelphia is 10-0 at home) and coach Brett Brown was asked about the team’s difference in play home vs. away.

“I have no idea,” Brett Brown told Hoops Rumors and other media in attendance at the Capital One Arena on Wednesday night. Brown added that the team was too careless both in its turnovers and in allowing Davis Bertans (7-of-13 from behind the arc) to get space early in the contest.

“Some of it you shake your head and you give Bertans a lot of credit,” Brown said after the game. “Some of the shots that he was making you give him some credit. When you go back and you do coach stuff, and you look at it, I think the separation that he received was too careless. That’s what the game was telling you, you got it going. I didn’t think that we responded from a sense of urgency standpoint like we needed to.”

Here’s more from Philadelphia:

  • Tobias Harris, who re-signed with Philly on a five-year deal this offseason, pinpointed the Sixers’ defense as an area that let them down on Thursday night. “We should not be losing,” Harris told Hoops Rumors and other media members in attendance. “There is a high expectations for our group, for our team. There are expectations to win on the road, at home. Just come out every night and play to win and to win a game. Tonight, [there is] big frustration just on how we defended, because it was like they were just picking and choosing whatever they wanted, so that is the big frustration.”
  • The game in Washington was a physical one in the paint with Moritz Wagner, Bertans, and Ian Mahinmi making Joel Embiid work for everything he got in the paint. After the contest, Embiid was experiencing hip soreness and he’s been ruled out of Saturday’s game vs. the Cavs with a left hip contusion, as Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer reports (Twitter link).
  • Sam Amico of SI.com hears that the Sixers are among the teams interested in Jordan Clarkson. There’s no indication on whether Cleveland is interested in dealing the combo guard.

Jimmy Butler Talks Sixers, Heat, Big Twos, Embiid

The Kawhi Leonard buzzer-beater that eliminated the Sixers from the playoffs in the spring and helped propel the Raptors to their first NBA championship was a sliding-doors moment for the league — and for star forward Jimmy Butler. Speaking to Michael Lee of The Athletic, Butler mused about what might have happened if Philadelphia had pulled out a win in Game 7 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals in May.

“What happens if we win that game?” Butler said. “Do we win a championship? Am I in Philly? All of these ifs. Who knows?

“But you think about it. It’ll haunt you for the rest of your days — especially if you don’t get an opportunity — that you were that close. And then you’re like, man, one play, one possession, one anything and it easily could’ve been us winning that championship. If I ask you, who would you pick if we win that? You’d probably say Philly. Golden State is not healthy? I would say Philly. I don’t know many people who would say Golden State, if they’re not healthy.”

While it’s an agonizing what-if to consider for 76ers fans, that second-round loss ultimately opened up a path for the team to make some major changes in the offseason. According to ESPN’s Zach Lowe, the parent of one member of the Sixers told higher-ups that team chemistry felt off in the wake of the end of the 2018/19 season, and improving that chemistry has been a priority this fall, with Tobias Harris and Al Horford frequently organizing dinners that many players attend.

Lowe doesn’t suggest that Butler was responsible for last season’s chemistry issues, but he does confirm that the Sixers didn’t make the 30-year-old a five-year, maximum-salary offer during free agency, as previously reported by Adrian Wojnarowski and Shams Charania. For his part, Butler has found a new home with the Heat, telling Lee that Miami “just fits” him.

“Basketball is great here, but the people here, what they expect of you on a daily basis. The level that they hold you accountable at here, is something that I respect,” Butler said. “It’s something that I really love — not just like, really love — because it’s about having good people and doing things the right way. Because when this basketball thing is over with, you’re still going to have to have those morals. And if you don’t have that, you’re in for a rude awakening.”

Here are a few more noteworthy quotes from Butler, via Lee, on his offseason decision, his new team, and one of his former teammates:

On not teaming up with a star to form a “Big Two” this past summer, as other players did in Los Angeles and Houston:

“It just wasn’t the way that it worked out. I’m not one to go with the trend anyways. I don’t do what everybody else is doing. I’m not saying that it’s bad, it’s good, it’s just I worry about myself, first of all. I worry about the people that I’m around. And then you move down the line. I mean, I don’t care who I team up with. Organizational-wise, this was the place for me.

“Now, if you get some other people that think like I think, that go about things the way that I go about it, this is the place for them as well. I don’t know. I didn’t talk about it. … I leave people alone and do what I’m going to do and that’s what I did.”

On the Heat’s upside:

“The ceiling is a championship. And I don’t care what nobody has to say. If the stars align, we can get it done. If we figure this thing out, we stay together, we get our defense on track, we get our offense on track, and we become top five in both categories, we right there. We right there. We’ve got an opportunity to do something special and we’re working at it every single day.”

On former teammate Joel Embiid:

“That m———er is special. For real. Any time I text him, which we text plenty, FaceTime, phone calls. I always tell him, ‘Continue to show why you’re the best player in this league.’ Because I saw it. I saw it. He can do everything. Like, legit, he can do everything. He works and I respect it. … That’s how you become the best player, you’ve got to be obsessed with it. And he is. He is.”

Sixers Expect To Pay Luxury Tax In 2020/21

Sixers managing partner Josh Harris anticipates that the team will be a luxury tax payer for the 2020-21 season, as he told Rich Hofmann of The Athletic in a Q&A session that also included GM Elton Brand.

Harris said there “are definitely issues” that come with being a taxpayer, including some roster restrictions. But he has no qualms about that prospect.

“If that’s what it takes to win, we’re going to do it,” he said.

The luxury tax threshold is approximately $132.6MM and Philadelphia is currently a few million below that number. However, the Sixers already have nearly $144MM in contract guarantees for next season. That’s due in large part to Ben Simmons‘ max extension. He’ll jump from $8.11MM this season to $29MM in the first year of that extension. The combined salaries for Tobias Harris, Joel Embiid and Al Horford next season total up to more than $91MM.

Harris and Brand provided some other interesting insights in the Q&A:

  • Harris expects the team to get deeper in the playoffs and everyone is accountable:  “I think we all feel some pressure. Elton does. I do. Brett and the players all want to deliver for the city,” he said.
  • Harris had hoped Jimmy Butler would re-sign but was impressed by the way the front office shifted gears to re-sign Harris, acquire Josh Richardson in a sign-and-trade with Miami, and bring in high-profile free agent Horford. “He obviously had a lot of choices and we’re happy for him that he’s with a great organization,” Harris said of Butler. “But for us, the job that Elton and his team did to pick up Al Horford and Josh Richardson on the heels of that and to get Josh Richardson back in a sign-and-trade obviously, I watched it from the inside and it was incredible.”
  • Brand presents Harris with various scenarios in free agency and trades to spell out how each move would impact the bottom line: Brand told Hofmann how he breaks it down to his boss. “Hey, these are our options. If this happens, I don’t know, but this player could be available, this player could be available, this player could be available. This looks like a 50-win season, this looks like a 55, our penetration could be this in the second round to the Eastern Conference Finals, to the finals. If we lose this player and can’t do a sign-and-trade, we’re going to be here.”

Atlantic Notes: Sixers, Burke, O’Quinn, Smart, Fizdale

Despite the loss of J.J. Redick, the Sixers have plenty of perimeter shooters on their current roster, as Derek Bodner of The Athletic details. Tobias Harris, Josh Richardson, Mike Scott, Al Horford, James Ennis, Trey Burke and Raul Neto loom as long-range threats but mainly in catch-and-shoot situations. That means Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons need to create and open up space for their perimeter players.

We have more from the Atlantic Division:

  • Point guards Trey Burke and Raul Neto could be useful members of the Sixers’ rotation but big man Kyle O’Quinn will have regain the form he showed earlier in his career with the Knicks to make a meaningful contribution, Mike O’Connor of The Athletic writes. O’Connor breaks down the strengths and weaknesses of the incoming reserve trio and how they’ll fit in.
  • Marcus Smart admits the Celtics were a dysfunctional team last season, he said on ESPN’s The Jump this week. Many players were uncomfortable with their roles, according to Smart. “It’s hard for anybody to have to look themselves in mirror and sacrifice something,” Smart said.
  • The fact that the Knicks didn’t re-sign any of their nine free agents reflects poorly on coach David Fizdale, the New York Post’s Marc Berman opines. The teams sold player development over the team’s win-loss record last season, yet didn’t consider any of those players worthy of another contract, Berman notes.

Harris Withdraws From Team USA This Summer

Add Tobias Harris‘ name to the growing list of USA Basketball players pulling out of consideration for this year’s FIBA World Cup. Harris, who re-signed with the Sixers for five years and $180MM this summer, has decided to focus on the upcoming NBA season, Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer tweets.

Anthony Davis, James Harden, Bradley Beal, CJ McCollum and Eric Gordon have also withdrawn from Team USA participation this summer, starting with training camp in Las Vegas early next month. Two other players, Damian Lillard and Kevin Love, are also undecided and will announce their decisions in the next few days, Joe Vardon of The Athletic reports.

Team USA will bring 12 players to the FIBA tournament. Among the players under consideration to replace the stars who have withdrawn, according to Vardon, include Marcus Smart, Jaylen Brown, D’Angelo Russell, Mike ConleyJosh Richardson, Thaddeus Young and Julius Randle. Select Team members could also be considered for the final 12-man roster, including Trae Young, Vardon adds. Top pick Zion Williamson has withdrawn from the Select Team this summer.

The original list of 20 invitees to the USA Basketball camp can be found here.

Sixers Notes: Tax Outlook, Harris, Redick, Korver

The Sixers are about to enter their final season for a while of not being a taxpaying team, Derek Bodner of The Athletic writes in detailed breakdown of all the contracts the organization issued since free agency began.

Philadelphia has been among the most active teams this offseason, adding free agents Al Horford, Kyle O’Quinn and Raul Neto, trading Jimmy Butler to the Heat for Josh Richardson, re-signing Tobias Harris, Mike Scott and James Ennis, extending Ben Simmons and giving a four-year contract to former two-way player Shake Milton. Even with all those additions, the Sixers are comfortably below the tax line.

That changes next year when Simmons’ maximum rookie extension kicks in. The Sixers will not only be a taxpayer going forward, but would need to unload significant salary to say below the apron and retain the ability to use their full mid-level exception. The same situation will exist for 2021/22 unless they lose Richardson, who has a player option for that season. Bodner doesn’t expect that to happen, stating that the team is likely to consider keeping Richardson more valuable than having the full MLE.

There’s more this morning from Philadelphia:

  • The Sixers‘ tax status for the upcoming season gave them the freedom to start Harris’ new five-year, $180MM deal with a higher first-year salary than they needed to, Bodner adds in the same story. Instead of beginning with a $31MM salary for 2019/20 and 8% raises the rest of the way, Harris will get a max salary of $32.742MM this year, followed by lower raises in years three and four when the organization will have tax concerns.
  • J.J. Redick, who signed as a free agent with the Pelicans, said on his latest podcast that he expected to retire in Philadelphia, tweets Will Guillory of The Athletic. However, he added, “Sometimes the economics of things don’t work out.” Redick, who spent the past two years with the Sixers, referred to New Orleans as “Duke south” and said he has known new GM Trajan Langdon since his freshman year at the university. He dealt mainly with Langdon in free agent talks, while his agent negotiated with executive vice president of basketball operations David Griffin.
  • Kyle Korver strongly considered the Sixers before reaching an agreement with the Bucks yesterday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Korver started his career in Philadelphia, but his relationship with Milwaukee coach Mike Budenholzer, whom he played for in Atlanta, swayed his final decision.

Contract Details: Celtics, Matthews, T. Harris, Lyles, More

The Celtics stretched Guerschon Yabusele‘s $3MM+ cap hit for 2019/20 when they waived him last week in order to create a little extra room under the cap, tweets Jeff Siegel of Early Bird Rights. While that decision may seem curious, it helped allow Boston to complete a couple less glamorous signings.

For one, the Celtics’ new two-year deal with French center Vincent Poirier isn’t worth the minimum, but rather has a value of $4.65MM over two years, per Siegel (Twitter link). Poirier’s deal starts at around $2.27MM, which wouldn’t have been possible without cap space, since the team has already committed its full room exception to Enes Kanter.

Meanwhile, second-round pick Carsen Edwards also benefited from the Celtics’ leftover cap room. According to Siegel (Twitter link), the former Purdue standout will earn $1,228,026 in his rookie season, rather than the rookie minimum of $898,310. By using their cap room, the C’s were also able to lock up Edwards to a four-year contract.

Here are some details on a few more contracts that were recently made official:

  • Wesley Matthews‘ new minimum-salary contract with the Bucks includes a second-year player option, according to Michael Scotto of The Athletic (Twitter link).
  • Tobias Harris has a trade bonus in his five-year contract with the Sixers, according to Siegel (Twitter link). That bonus will be worth either $5MM or 5% of the remaining money left on his contract (whichever is lesser). The bonus can’t exceed Harris’ maximum salary.
  • Trey Lyles‘ two-year, $11MM contract with the Spurs has a partial guarantee of just $1MM for the second year, tweets Siegel.
  • No. 42 overall pick Admiral Schofield got a three-year contract from the Wizards with the first two years guaranteed and a $300K guarantee on year three, tweets Siegel. According to Bobby Marks of ESPN (Twitter link), Schofield’s deal starts at $1MM in his rookie season.
  • The three-year, minimum-salary contract for Raptors second-round pick Dewan Hernandez has a $500K partial guarantee on year one, and is non-guaranteed for years two and three, tweets Siegel.

Sixers Notes: Simmons, Butler, Harris, Horford

Don’t expect to see Ben Simmons at the FIBA World Cup, tweets ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. Simmons’ agent, Rich Paul, tells Woj that Simmons is “doubtful” to suit up for Australia, preferring to spend the summer concentrating on the upcoming NBA season.

Simmons, who was born in Melbourne, also pulled out of the 2016 Olympics so he could prepare for his rookie year. He began representing his home nation in international tournaments in 2012 when he was 15, but was cut from Australia’s World Cup team two years later. One of the NBA’s top young stars, Simmons is currently mulling over a five-year, $170MM extension offer from the Sixers.

There’s more today out of Philadelphia:

  • Even though Jimmy Butler‘s stay with the Sixers was short, GM Elton Brand doesn’t regret the trade that brought him from Minnesota, relays Tim Bontemps of ESPN. Philly sent Robert Covington, Dario Saric, Jerryd Bayless and a second-round pick in 2022 to get Butler for what turned out to be 55 games. “When we went into it last year, it was hopefully Jimmy found a great fit and hopefully we did also,” Brand said. “I’d make that trade again. He gave us a great playoff run last year.”
  • After re-signing for $180MM over the next five years, Tobias Harris has become much more important to the Sixers’ future, Bontemps observes in the same story. Harris often found himself as the fourth or fifth option on offense after being acquired from the Clippers in a mid-season trade, but with Butler and J.J. Redick both gone, the team will rely on Harris to provide more scoring. “I can come into next year with that kind of energy, that kind of fire to improve my game and show different parts of my game, too,” Harris said. “Obviously I’ll have the ball in my hands in more different situations and I’m ready for that. I’ve been working out all summer to get ready for that.”
  • Former Celtic Al Horford didn’t expect the Sixers to be among his suitors in free agency, writes Darren Hartwell of NBC Sports Boston. He said negotiations with Philadelphia “escalated very, very quickly” once teams were officially allowed to talk to players. “When Elton called and spoke with my agent, he laid down this offer,” Horford recalled. “I was very surprised there was that strong interest for me being here. It made the decision very easy. I’m just excited to be a part of this.”

Sixers Re-Sign Tobias Harris To Five-Year Deal

JULY 10: The Sixers have officially re-signed Harris, according to NBA.com’s transactions log. The club has now exhausted its cap room for the summer.

JUNE 30: The Sixers and Tobias Harris have reached an agreement on a five-year deal that will pay the free agent forward $180MM, his agent (and father) Torrel Harris of Unique Sports Management tells ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The contract won’t include a player option, Woj adds (via Twitter).

After making blockbuster mid-season trades for both Harris and Jimmy Butler during the 2018/19 campaign, the Sixers will only retain one of the two, with Butler reportedly headed for the Heat in a sign-and-trade.

However, in Harris, Philadelphia will be bringing back a forward who received All-Star consideration in 2018/19, as he averaged 20.0 PPG, 7.9 RPG, and 2.8 APG on .487/.397/.866 shooting in 82 games for the Clippers and Sixers.

He’ll return to a new-look Sixers team that will feature Josh Richardson and Al Horford. Richardson will reportedly be acquired from Miami via the Butler sign-and-trade, while Horford will sign a four-year contract with Philadelphia as a free agent.

If Harris had signed a maximum-salary deal, it would have been worth approximately $189.9MM, so his annual salaries will come in a little below the max. Still, it’s a significant investment for the Sixers, who already have Joel Embiid under contract on a max deal of his own and may soon sign Ben Simmons to a max extension.

Harris reportedly received interest from the Clippers, Jazz, Nets, and Mavericks, among others, in free agency.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Free Agent Notes: Harris, Leonard, Portis

Tobias Harris is meeting with the Sixers to begin free agency, The Athletic’s David Aldridge tweets. Harris is seeking a full, five-year max deal.

Jimmy Butler is in Miami to begin his free agency tour and is expected to tell the Heat that he wants to sign with them. The Sixers will likely get a chance to speak with Butler before he signs elsewhere, as Miami doesn’t have the cap space necessary to offer Butler a max contract.

Here’s more from the start of free agency:

  • Magic Johnson said he has spoken to Kawhi Leonard and Dennis Robertson (Leonard’s uncle) after Leonard’s camp contacted him, Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times relays (Twitter link). No meeting between the parties has been set up yet.
  • Bobby Portis and Jabari Parker are both operating as if they will not be back with the Wizards, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports reports on Twitter. Both players were brought to Washington in the mid-season deal that sent Otto Porter Jr. to Chicago.
  • Julius Randle is on the Knicks‘ radar, a source tells Marc Berman of the New York Post (Twitter link). New York missed out on Kevin Durant, watching him sign with the Nets.
  • The Knicks are meeting with Reggie Bullock tonight, Aldridge tweets. Bullock is ready to commit to a “strong offer,” Aldridge adds. The Lakers would like to keep him, though New York will be among the teams which will have a chance to steal him away from Los Angeles.