The Philadelphia 76ers are reportedly looking to unload Tobias Harris' contract in order to go after bigger fish during the offseason by attaching his name to the Ben Simmons trade discussions, and it appears at least one team might be willing to work out a deal.
According to NBA insider Marc Stein, the Sacramento Kings could be convinced to take on Harris' contract to facilitate a deal for Simmons.
"I've heard Sacramento described by more than one rival team as the closest thing there is to a trade partner you could class as 'favorites' to bring a resolution to the seemingly interminable Simmons standoff before the deadline (as things stand). Reason being: More than one rival team believes Sacramento, in its desire for a significant shakeup as it bumbles toward a record 16th consecutive season out of the playoffs, could be convinced to take on Tobias Harris' contract to facilitate a Simmons deal. If the Sixers can't get the top-flight player they covet, going ahead with a Simmons deal that enables them to shed the two years and nearly $80 million left on Harris' contract after this season might be too enticing to resist rather than holding out for a star in return."
This news shouldn't necessarily come as a surprise following reports that Kings youngsters De’Aaron Fox and Tyrese Haliburton are not untouchable. Buddy Hield and Harrison Barnes have also been mentioned in trade rumors.
NBA analyst Bill Simmons also suggested on his podcast that the Kings could be the only possible partner for a Simmons-Harris package because they could send Hield, Haliburton and Barnes to Philadelphia in return.
The trio is making a combined $50 million, which could work to offset the $70 million combined that Simmons and Harris are making. Some other moves would have to be made, but this is arguably the most reasonable deal out there.
The Sixers and Kings have also reportedly had Simmons-Fox trade discussions, but Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports noted the conversations were more "exploratory due diligence."
Simmons hasn't played this season after insisting on being traded for much of the offseason, telling the Sixers he has no intention to play for the franchise again, per ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
The 25-year-old returned to the Sixers facility Oct. 11 after a lengthy holdout but hasn't fully engaged in team activities since returning. He has continued to tell the team he isn't mentally prepared to play, per Wojnarowski.
Sixers president of basketball operations Daryl Morey said during a radio interview on 97.5 The Fanatic in October that he was in no rush to trade Simmons, but things might have changed as it's clear Joel Embiid needs some help.
The 76ers are fifth in the Eastern Conference with a 23-17 record, four games behind the fourth-place Milwaukee Bucks.