76ers

Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, Mike Scott outline biggest factors in free agency

Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, Mike Scott outline biggest factors in free agency

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.”

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Sixers Talk podcast: Are the Sixers still a Finals contender?

sixers-talk-joel-embiid-all-star.jpg
NBCSP/USA Today Images

Sixers Talk podcast: Are the Sixers still a Finals contender?

The Sixers are off to a solid start for any team, but the Sixers were built to be a championship contender. Danny Pommells and Anthony Gilbert discuss that and who will take up the open role in the starting lineup on this edition of Sixers Talk, presented by Wilmington University.

• Are the Sixers still a Finals contender? (2:00)

• Who will move into the starters lineup in place of Al Horford? (6:34)

• Did the Sixers miss on the trade deadline? (10:31)

• This team lacks veteran leadership (20:42)

• Story time with Anthony Gilbert (29:03)

Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers

Joel Embiid thinks idea he can't be effective with Ben Simmons is 'BS'

Joel Embiid thinks idea he can't be effective with Ben Simmons is 'BS'

Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons both rejected the notion that they’re incapable of playing together effectively Saturday at All-Star Weekend in Chicago. 

”I think it's BS, because when you look at the last couple years, the last two years that we've been playing together, it's not a problem,” Embiid told reporters, per ESPN’s Tim Bontemps. “This year it's only been a problem because our offense has struggled.

"It's definitely going to be better after the All-Star break. I mean, just look at the last two years, what we've been able to do. I think it can work, and it's going to work."

The Sixers were indeed very good when the pairing shared the floor the past two years. Lineups with Embiid and Simmons had net ratings of plus-15.5 in 2017-18 and plus-7.8 in 2018-19. This season, that number has dropped to plus-1.3.

"It takes time," Simmons said. "Not everything is perfect. Not everything works right away. I love playing with Joel. I think he's an amazing talent, a guy I respect for his game, and I know he feels the same way about me. We continue to go the right way. There's so many different things that we haven't tried. We've got a lot of talent. It's scary how good we can be."

On Feb. 5, Embiid suggested he was having to detract from his own offensive game for the greater good.

“How we played last year, obviously a different structure, the ball movement was better, and this year we've got different players,” he said. “I’ve sacrificed a lot, trying to make everybody feel comfortable, and that's normal.

“We've all got to sacrifice and if it means taking less shots just to make sure everyone is happy and keep winning, then that's what we've got to do. But at the same time, we've still got to understand what's going on around us and how we can help each other be better.”

Pertinent statistics don’t seem to support the idea that Embiid has had to sacrifice much. While his usage rate has dropped from 32.7 to 30.3, his post-ups per game are identical (8.1) and his three-point attempts per 36 minutes are nearly the same (4.6 this year, 4.4 last year). 

However, until Brett Brown’s major adjustment Tuesday night vs. the Clippers, he’d been in a starting lineup with Al Horford, a pairing that hasn’t been beneficial for either player. Embiid and Horford are the only Sixers' two-man lineups with at least 400 minutes together to have a negative net rating (minus-1.1) and have been poor offensively.

As for Embiid and Simmons, the two were strong against the Clippers, both personally and as a combination. They complemented each other well in the high and low post as Embiid had 26 points and nine rebounds and Simmons posted 26 points, 12 rebounds and 10 assists.

Brown said it was “arguably the best game those two have paired up with” since he started coaching them. 

Simmons will be on Team LeBron and Embiid will be on Team Giannis for Sunday night’s All-Star Game. 



Click here to download the MyTeams App by NBC Sports! Receive comprehensive coverage of your teams and stream the Flyers, Sixers and Phillies games easily on your device.

More on the Sixers