The Clippers have agreed to trade leading scorer Tobias Harris to Philadelphia as part of a larger trade with the 76ers, a person not authorized to speak publicly on the matter said Tuesday.
The Clippers will deal Harris, who made a game-winning shot in Charlotte only hours before the trade, along with center Boban Marjanovic and forward Mike Scott to Philadelphia in exchange for Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, Landry Shamet, first-round picks in 2020 and 2021 and second-round picks in 2021 and 2023. Terms of the deal were first reported by ESPN.
The Clippers had been considered neither aggressive buyers nor sellers but opportunists ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline. They found a willing trading partner in the 76ers, who will send a 2020 pick that is lottery protected for three years, as well as an unprotected 2021 first-round pick from Miami. The second-round picks are owed via Detroit, a source confirmed.
Los Angeles' goal is to build a long-term contender for NBA championships with hopes to take a large step toward that end this summer in free agency, when they could have the financial flexibility to sign two star players to maximum-level contracts.
Tuesday’s trade, however, now places the Clippers in a position to potentially acquire a star a different way — via a trade — by stockpiling assets that could be used for future offers. Up to this point, the franchise has been hamstrung in its ability to take a swing at major stars who want to play elsewhere before they are allowed to choose in free agency.
The importance of stockpiling such assets has been underlined in the wake of several high-profile trade demands.
All-Star-caliber stars such as Jimmy Butler and Anthony Davis have each requested trades this season, and both listed the Clippers as a franchise they would consider signing with long-term. Butler was traded in November from Minnesota to Philadelphia, where he will now team with Harris. Davis does not become a free agent until 2020 but remains available in trades, with the Lakers most notably pursuing such a deal.
Harris turned down a four-year, $80-million offer last summer from the Clippers in hopes of attracting a max offer as a free agent this summer and re-signing him may not have been in the team’s plan as it plans to chase other stars such as Kawhi Leonard.
Harris has been enjoying his best season as a professional and even though the team's second-leading scorer, Danilo Gallinari, is expected to return from back spasms as soon as Thursday, removing a player of Harris' caliber puts the team's playoff contention in jeopardy.