Philadelphia 76ers star Ben Simmons is the biggest name available with the NBA trade deadline approaching. But president of basketball operations Daryl Morey could be throwing a wrinkle into a blockbuster deal by adding another 76ers’ starter.
Simmons requested a trade this summer, looking for an opportunity to join a different organization after a disastrous playoff performance. It only resulted in consistent drama between the two sides, with Simmons sitting out to address his mental health and the 76ers insisting they’ll only move him for an NBA star.
While more than 10 teams are interested in acquiring the All-Star guard, Morey has remained steadfast that a deal won’t happen unless he receives a king’s ransom or someone from the team’s list of 30 targets. While Philadelphia continues to negotiate with teams, recent discussions seem to indicate the 76ers might want even more now.
ESPN’s NBA Insider Marc Spears shared on The Hoop Collective Podcast that in the Philadelphia 76ers’ talks with the Atlanta Hawks regarding a Simmons trade, they also wanted Atlanta to take Tobias Harris’ contract.
- Tobias Harris contract: $35.995 million (2022), $37.633 million (2023), $39.27 million (2024)
Harris, Philadelphia’s starting power forward, is only in the third year of a $180 million contract he signed with the franchise. He currently is the sixth-highest-paid forward in the NBA by average annual salary ($36 million), making more than Khris Middleton ($35.5 million), Jimmy Butler ($35.2 million) and Jayson Tatum ($32.6 million).
Unsurprisingly, that is proving to be a barrier in trade talks with the Hawks and it would likely be an issue for other NBA contenders. While the 76ers have made it known they are willing to keep Simmons past the trade deadline, even if it means he doesn’t return to the court, a move feels inevitable by February.