The 76ers are trying to get things moving ahead of the June 23 NBA draft and free agency.
Multiple league sources said the team appreciates the teams’ interest in Tobias Harris, Matisse Thybulle, Furkan Korkmaz and Shake Milton, as well as potential trading partners for Danny Green and the number 23.
The Sixers are trying to gauge the market and see what they can get for the players and the draft pick, a source said. This approach is part of their effort to compile information and see what trades might work when it comes time to close a trade.
The Sixers realize their current roster is unfit to win an NBA championship. They are determined to level it up with established players who can help push them forward.
Harris, Thybulle, Milton, Korkmaz, Green and the draft pick are the best trade assets available, with the team focused on holding Joel Embiid and Tyrese Maxey. James Harden, whose shares have fallen, has announced that he intends to pick up his $47.3 million option for next season.
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Harris has two years and $76.9 million left on the five-year, $180 million contract he signed on July 10, 2019.
The Sixers have publicly stated they will be bringing back their core players, including Harris. Privately, however, the team is once again trying to see what the market is for its fourth-best scorer behind Embiid, Harden and Maxey.
The Sixers have unsuccessfully tried to trade Harris in the past, as in some cases he was included in a package with Ben Simmons before the February trade deadline. The Sixers eventually sent Seth Curry, Andre Drummond and two first-round picks along with Simmons to the Brooklyn Nets for Harden and Paul Millsap.
The Sixers would love to earn a third star to play alongside perennial All-Stars Embiid and Harden. A trade would also allow Harris to become more involved in a team’s schedule. He was a third or fourth option throughout his tenure with the Sixers.
Harris’ contract is the best way to facilitate the kind of move that would bring another maximum-payer player to an above-pay-cap Sixers team. But the Sixers need to find a team willing to take his salary. The Sixers may also need to bring in assets, possibly via a third team, to attract a roster with available salary cap space to Harris’s deal.
Thybulle was considered untouchable before last season’s trading close. The Sixers’ refusal to trade him was a minor snag in the Nets trade.
However, Thybulle, a three-year veteran and two-time second-team all-defensive pick, has not developed on offense at the pace the Sixers would like. At times in the playoffs, Thybulle was left wide open while his defenseman roamed or doubled another player. He also missed a lot of time in the Sixers’ first-round series against the Raptors because he’s not vaccinated.
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But this offseason is the first in which Thybulle can focus on improving his offensive game. He wasn’t able to do that during the pandemic lockdown after his rookie season. Then he spent last summer with the Australian men’s basketball team and won a bronze medal at the Tokyo Olympics.
However, team president Daryl Morey is said to be a fan of Thybulle heading into the final year of his rookie deal. Thybulle is eligible for a five-year, $186 million extension this summer. While unlikely to get that extension, his status in the team is something to watch closely.
The Sixers have a $1.9 million club option on Milton for next season. However, there is a belief in the league that the team will not take it.
If that’s the case, it would make sense to put it in an exchange to get something in return. The problem is that teams don’t want to trade for a player if they think he could be won as an unrestricted free agent on July 1st.
Milton and Georges Niang were the Sixers’ top reserves last season, but Milton isn’t a pure point guard. He thrives as a ball-dominant scoring guard, and the Sixers already have ball handlers in Harden and Maxey. As a result, Milton may not be a good fit for the future, despite being their most effective player in the Game 6 loss to the Miami Heat in the Eastern Conference playoff series that ended their season.
Milton and Korkmaz had their minutes cut after the Sixers took over Harden at the February close.
Korkmaz enters the final year of his contract after ending the worst season of his career with three points (28.9%).
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Sources have said that the Indiana Pacers were one of the teams inquiring about Korkmaz ahead of last season’s trading close. It was believed at the time that a change of scenery could help the four-year-old winger jump-start his career.
Now, sources say he’s part of the group of players the Sixers are putting out feelers to test the market.