3 Tobias Harris trades to keep 76ers afloat during Joel Embiid absence

The Philadelphia 76ers could use Tobias Harris' expiring contract to reshape the rotation during Joel Embiid's absence.

Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers
Tobias Harris, Philadelphia 76ers / Bill Streicher-USA TODAY Sports
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2. 76ers trade Tobias Harris for Kings' Kevin Huerter


The Sixers don't want to take on long-term salary, but their offseason "cap space" plan is deeply flawed. There's no guarantee the Sixers can actually attract free agents or trade candidates superior to the options currently available. If Daryl Morey can find a true needle-mover at an affordable price, he has the responsibility to pull the trigger. Embiid is expected back before the playoffs and Philadelphia can't waste these precious opportunities.

Atlanta Hawks point guard Dejounte Murray has been the buzziest name at the trade deadline by far. He has well-documented interest from several teams, including the Los Angeles Lakers and New Orleans Pelicans. The Hawks won't pull the trigger unless a quality deal comes their way; Philadelphia has enough draft capital to at least get Hawks GM Landry Fields on the phone.

The Hawks essentially use Tobias Harris as a vessel to shed long-term salary. Murray has a four-year, $114 million extension that kicks in next season. De'Andre Hunter is in the first year of a four-year, $90 million contract. It's a double-edged sword for the Sixers — their cap space evaporates, but both Murray and Hunter are locked up for the next half-decade with no flight risk. That stability is helpful.

Atlanta starts to clear the books for a retool centered on Trae Young and Jalen Johnson. Harris can help in the short-term and the Hawks would get the upper hand in offseason negotiations, should they desire to re-sign him. De'Anthony Melton is an elite perimeter defender and spot-up shooter who would feast next to Trae Young in the backcourt.

The Hawks get two first-round picks, which is the reported asking price for Murray. Hunter can probably return positive value in his own trade, but the size of his contract is a potential turn-off for opposing front offices. The Sixers plug Hunter into Harris' 3-and-D role on the wing. Murray, on the other hand, is a great backcourt complement to Maxey. His shot creation would go a long way during the Embiid-less weeks to come.