CAMDEN, N.J. — Tobias Harris paused before answering the question, which concerned the risk of the Sixers acquiring three players on expiring contracts in a bid to win now. Seated next to him was his 7-foot-3 friend Boban Marjanovic, who gave him a quick glance.
Mike Scott jumped right in. His thoughts on the matter were simple.
“I don’t give a s---,” he said. “I just want to play and win.”
Harris, the marquee name at the Sixers' introductory press conference Thursday for their three new players from the Clippers, was more diplomatic. He did, however, agree with the gist of what Scott had to say.
Mike said it really nice. … Obviously they invested a lot in all three of us. When we talk about what things go into a player’s decision, loyalty is one of them. It was a big move and it was a win-now move, and a win-big move, now. I think all of us can say that means a lot. This is already a winning culture. We just look to bring our games to it and help the best way we can.
Though the Sixers want to keep their new Big 4 of Jimmy Butler, Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Harris intact beyond this season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the logistics of doing so might prove difficult. And Scott didn’t want anyone to forget about another former Clipper who has plenty of value for the Sixers.
As Harris started to talk about the firepower of Butler, Embiid and Simmons, Scott interrupted him.
“JJ Redick, too,” Scott said.
And Harris agreed.
“Put some respect on his name,” he said.
Harris, as expected, didn’t make any dramatic reveals about whether he plans to re-sign with the Sixers, though his response to a question about what he’ll prioritize in free agency was telling.
This offseason will be the first time the 26-year-old Harris has total say over where he plays basketball — he’s never been an unrestricted free agent before. In his eighth NBA season, he just joined his fifth team. Based on his comments, it would be surprising to see Harris go anywhere if the Sixers fulfill their potential and play basketball into June.
Top of the list for me is winning culture, No. 1. No. 2 is just loyalty. I’ve been traded a couple times now, but just finding the right situation for team basketball, a winning culture, and loyalty for both sides — those are the three top things. This team has made a big trade for myself and hopefully this can be a long-term partnership and we can make it work. I’m excited for that. … Winning basketball games is just the key focus right now.
It’s not Scott’s job to care about the risk of trading for a trio of players on expiring deals, and it’s not Harris or Marjanovic’s either. Harris wants to “make it work,” but, on the eve of his first game with his new team (against the Nuggets, at 7 p.m. on NBCSP), he can’t know yet what it’ll take to make that happen. Although, it does sound like he has an idea.
“When you have this much firepower all around, that’ll be a challenge for us,” he said, “but it’s also not a bad challenge to have. We just gotta come together and build the chemistry fast.”
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