76ers

Sixers land Tobias Harris in blockbuster trade with Clippers

Sixers land Tobias Harris in blockbuster trade with Clippers

Updated: 1:07 p.m. 

Elton Brand clearly isn't messing around in his first season as general manager.

The Sixers agreed to a blockbuster deal with the Clippers for forward Tobias Harris, center Boban Marjanovic and guard Mike Scott, the team announced Wednesday.

The Sixers will send rookie Landry Shamet along with veterans Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala plus their own lottery-protected first-rounder in 2020, Miami's unprotected first in 2021 and two second-rounders, to L.A. 

The clear prize of this deal is Harris. The 26-year-old forward is having a career year, averaging 20.7 points and 7.9 rebounds per game while shooting 42 percent from three — all of which would be career-high marks. There are those around the league that believe Harris was an All-Star snub.

ANALYSIS: Elton Brand is going all in with this Sixers team

He slots perfectly into the four spot in the Sixers' starting five, which will now feature Harris, All-Stars Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons and Jimmy Butler along with the elite shooting of JJ Redick. It gives the Sixers arguably the second-best starting group in the entire NBA behind the Warriors.

This will be Harris' fifth NBA stop since being selected in the first round (19th overall) out of Tennessee in 2011. His marked improvement as a three-point shooter is one of the biggest reasons Harris has become a valued commodity. During the first six seasons of his career, Harris shot below average from behind the arc at 33 percent. During his last two seasons with the Pistons and Clippers, he's shot at an elite rate, hitting threes at 42 percent clip on 5.2 attempts a night. His length and athleticism will also play very well into what the Sixers do defensively.

Like Butler, Harris will become an unrestricted free agent this summer. It adds to the risk of the move and it'll be interesting to see how the Sixers navigate all that.

Marjanovic and Scott might find roles off the Sixers' bench. Marjanovic is a massive human at 7-foot-3 and 290 pounds. He could struggle to keep up with the Sixers' pace, but if they need someone to just bang underneath, he could do the trick. Scott has had his issues off the court, but could be an intriguing three-and-D option.

Make no mistake, the Sixers paid a heavy price. While Chandler and Muscala are nothing more than expiring contracts, Shamet was a first-round pick that clearly exceeded expectations. His shooting and poise were a huge boost to a thin bench. The Heat pick could also prove to be incredibly valuable. Miami will shed a few of its horrendous contracts by then, but still won't exactly be in a great spot cap wise.

The crazy thing is, the deadline isn't ever here yet and the buyout market will be right behind it. The Sixers may not be done.

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NBA Eastern Conference power rankings: As Bucks limp to finish line, Sixers starting to look dangerous

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NBA Eastern Conference power rankings: As Bucks limp to finish line, Sixers starting to look dangerous

In this edition of our Eastern Conference power rankings, things are getting interesting at the top as we inch closer to the playoffs.

1. Bucks (53-19) Last ranking: 1
Milwaukee had one of its toughest weeks of the season. After the Bucks lost to the Sixers at home, they beat the Lakers before losing to the lowly Cavs. The biggest culprit is the injury bug which has ravaged their deep roster. Giannis Antetokounmpo missed two games with an ankle injury. Malcolm Brogdon and Nikola Mirotic are both out for an extended period. George Hill and Sterling Brown are also out. Milwaukee is limping to the finish line.

2. Raptors (51-21) Last ranking: 2 
There’s a chance Toronto could catch Milwaukee, though the Raptors are dealing with injury issues of their own. Kyle Lowry missed their win over the Thunder and will miss the rematch Friday night. Kawhi Leonard is still on his back-to-back restriction. The other thing I’m still curious about is Marc Gasol. He’s been OK. Meanwhile, Jonas Valanciunas has been really good for Memphis. He had a monster 33-point performance against the Rockets and has averaged 19.4 over his last 11.

3. Sixers (47-25) Last ranking: 3 
Don’t look now, but the Sixers are the hottest team in the NBA. They’ve won six straight – including wins over Milwaukee and boogeyman Boston – and are now 7-1 when all five members of their new starting five are in the lineup. The Sixers have one of the easiest remaining schedules, but it seems unlikely that they’ll catch the Bucks. They appear to be a near-lock for the three seed.

I’m keeping them at three here only because of the body of work this season. With that said, the Sixers have to be looked at as a team nobody wants to face in the postseason. We’re just eight games into “Sixers 3.0.” This new starting unit may just be scratching the surface. Scary.

4. Celtics (43-29) Last ranking: 4
Boston continues to be one of the most confounding teams in the NBA. On some nights, they look unbeatable. On other nights … not so much. There still appears to be a struggle to mesh Kyrie Irving’s abilities as an iso player with Brad Stevens’ offensive system. It’s also evident that the Sixers picked on Irving defensively with great success Wednesday night. We won’t truly learn about the Celtics until the playoffs begin.

5. Pacers (44-29) Last ranking: 5
Indiana has dropped four in a row and that’s to be expected while missing All-Star Victor Oladipo and having one of the toughest schedule in the league to close out the season. The Pacers are clinging to the four seed, but will likely drop and face off against Boston in the first round.

6. Pistons (37-34) Last ranking: 8
Detroit came back down to earth after its ridiculous run, but this is a team that’s figured some things out. The Pistons will go as far as Blake Griffin and Andre Drummond will take them, but it’s the recent resurgence of their perimeter players like Reggie Jackson, Wayne Ellington and Langston Galloway that’s fueled their recent success.

7. Nets (37-36) Last ranking: 6
I did struggle to drop Brooklyn because they did have a brutal road trip that took them to Oklahoma City, Utah, Los Angeles (to play the good L.A. team), and Sacramento. As their monster comeback against the Kings -- in which D’Angelo Russell dropped 44 -- shows, they can be wildly entertaining when playing well.

8. Heat (35-36) Last ranking: 7 
Miami is doing its best to hang on to that eighth seed with three impressive wins this week over the Hornets, Thunder and Spurs. Goran Dragic is rounding into form since returning to the lineup and has given Miami a huge boost off the bench. He averaged 22.3 points in the three wins and shot a sizzling 64 percent from three.

9. Magic (34-38) Last ranking: 9 
Orlando kept pace with Miami, winning three in a row as well. All three wins occurred after the arrival of Michael Carter-Williams. Coincidence? Yes, definitely.

10. Hornets (32-39) Last ranking: 10 
Charlotte gave the Sixers quite the scare, but it’s looking like the Hornets will come up short in their quest for the playoffs. It’s not surprising. All season in this space we referenced the need to get Kemba Walker help. That help never came.

11. Wizards (30-43) Last ranking: 11
Thomas Bryant looks like he might be a legitimate prospect. Other than that … #FreeBradleyBeal

12. Hawks (25-48) Last ranking: 12 
You have to respect what Lloyd Pierce is doing in Atlanta. The Hawks are coming off a nice win against Utah and Trae Young is making a late push to overtake Luka Doncic as Rookie of the Year. They won’t be a pushover for the Sixers Saturday.

13. Bulls (21-52) Last ranking: 13 
Same deal with the Bulls, who look like they might have something with the quartet of Lauri Markkanen, Zach LaVine, Otto Porter Jr. and Wendell Carter Jr. Though they’re playing to win, it would be something if they got the No. 2 pick and wound up with Murray State’s Ja Morant.

14. Cavs (19-53) Last ranking: 14 
Speaking of Morant, he’s looking like one hell of a consolation prize if Cleveland can’t get the No. 1 pick (again). A backcourt duo of Collin Sexton and Morant could run a few teams out of the building.

15. Knicks (14-58) Last ranking: 15 
They’re watching the NCAA Tournament with bated breath, hoping Zion Williamson gets delivered to them healthy.

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Sixers PA announcer Matt Cord on the origin of his pronunciations and his biggest fans

Sixers PA announcer Matt Cord on the origin of his pronunciations and his biggest fans

If you’re a Philly fan in a Sixers jersey walking down South Street, you may have been subject to an impromptu version of the Sixers' starting lineup intros.

“I’ll do the BEEEEENNNNN Simmons and they’ll look at me, like that guy's weird,” public address announcer Matt Cord joked.

Now in his 22nd season, Cord is always working on his craft, even if that means soliciting the reaction of fans strolling to their neighborhood bar. 

How he enunciates and emphasizes players names is constantly evolving, as are the physical movements he delivers them with, sometimes resulting in an inadvertent whack to those that dare cross behind his perch.  

For Cord, the starting lineup introductions are his performance, and the mic is his stage.

It wasn’t until about a handful of years ago that Cord started incorporating physical gestures into his routine. Out of necessity due to a neck accident, a stationary mic was switched out for one that Cord could move around with more freely, giving new life to his performance.

Recently, Stephen Curry approved.

“I totally knew he was watching everything, but I didn’t know anyone had taped it,” Cord said. “Now everywhere I go, people say that to me, ‘Hey! I saw that video Steph posted!'”

But, since Joel Embiid was out, there was one thing Curry missed.

“He missed my Process,” Cord said.

***

It’s true. There’s nothing quite like when Cord introduces the Sixers' "crown jewel" at Wells Fargo Center — especially if you sit behind the scorer’s table.

“When I do Joel ... from Kansas ... No. 21… JO-el, The Process EMMBEEEEEEEAD ... I turn around for ‘The Process,’ for whoever is sitting behind me.”

Take a look for yourself.

But, it wasn’t always this way.

In the summer of 2016, Cord ran into Embiid at a music festival.

“I go up to Joel and say, ‘Hey man, you’re going to start next year, and I’m working on your name and I need something else.'”

“Call me Hans, that’s my middle name,” Cord remembers Embiid saying.

“So then, the very first game, I see him in the back (at the arena), and I’m like Joel HANS Embiid, and he’s like, ‘No, no, no. I’ve changed it to ‘The Process.’ He was joking around, and he said he legally changed his name to The Process, so you have to call me The Process.”

Cord, worried Embiid could get in trouble, decided against it.

“I didn’t do it the first game … and he kind of looked at me a couple times in the game when he scored.”

And now, the rest is history.

***

Embiid isn’t the only player who has influenced Cord’s introductions.

“Years ago, (Allen) Iverson came up to me and said, ‘Make me 6-2.’"

And so, Cord obliged.

“And finally … a 6-2 guard…

“The next game, I did it again. And the next game, Eric Snow (formers Sixers point guard) came up to me and said, 'Can you make me 6-4?' And I’m like no, stop this, I’m going to get in trouble, everyone’s going to be seven feet by the end of this!”

Lucky for Cord, that same game, Iverson re-thought his request.

“He came up to me and said I think we better go back to six-foot.”

***

If you catch Cord at the arena, there’s one thing you’ll always see him doing: Smiling.

“Honestly, since I’ve been here, and I know you can’t have a bad game as a PA announcer, but he’s just always smiling,” T.J. McConnell said. “And just the way he announces so enthusiastically, he comes up with these things like Three-J (when McConnell shoots a three), and even stuff he said when I was a rookie with Ish Smith, like a 'dish from Ish.'”

Well actually, Cord doesn’t come up with all of those sayings. But, he did come up with Three-J.

Longtime statistician Ron Pollack has offered up sayings like, "Dish from Ish," "Feed from Embiid," and "Embiid indeed!" It’s a joint effort.

***

For players like JJ Rrrrrrrrrredick and Allennnnnn Iiiiiii-versooooonnnn, both say that when fans come up to them in the streets, they say their name like Cord says their name.

“That’s the coolest thing ever,” Cord smiles.

But what means more to him than anything else is his biggest fan, his almost 16-year-old niece, Lily, who has Down syndrome.

“She is fantastic, she imitates me. She can do Embiid. She can do Iverson,” Cord said as he pulled out his cell phone.

“Here she is doing Bobi, down by the beach.”

Watch out Matty, Lily might be coming for your job.

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