PHILADELPHIA — The Philadelphia 76ers have agreed to acquire Los Angeles Clippers forward Tobias Harris as the centerpiece of a six-player, four-draft pick trade they hope can put them over the top in the East.
A person familiar with the trade told The Associated Press the Sixers also acquired center Boban Marjanovic and forward Mike Scott as part of the deal. The person spoke to the AP on condition of anonymity because the trade had not yet been announced.
Harris is ready for the move — he tweeted early Wednesday a GIF from the opening credits of the 1990s sitcom “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” showing Will Smith’s character playing basketball.
The Clippers restocked the roster with pieces for the future. The Sixers sent rookie guard Landry Shamet and four draft picks to the Clippers. Philadelphia also traded forwards Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala to Los Angeles.
The 26-year-old Harris is having a breakout season with the Clippers. He averages 20.9 points and shoots nearly 50 percent from 3-point range and is expected to start with All-Stars Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, along with Jimmy Butler and JJ Redick, to form one of the top starting fives in the Eastern Conference.
Sixers general manager Elton Brand traded for Butler, a four-time All-Star, earlier this season, and showed again he is not afraid to make a bold move for the win-now franchise. Harris and Butler both will be free agents this summer.
The Sixers’ four picks, in a trade first reported by ESPN, sent to the Clippers are their lottery-protected 2020 first-round pick, a 2021 first-rounder, a 2021 second-round pick and a 2023 second-round pick.
The Sixers are 34-20 and in fifth place in the Eastern Conference. The Clippers are 30-25 and have shed the salary needed to make them attractive for major free agents in the summer.
This could be the first of several major deals expected before the NBA trade deadline passes at 3 p.m. Eastern Thursday. The Sixers could still be in the mix — possibly even making Butler available in the right deal. The Sixers are certainly listening to offers for any trade that involves 2017 No. 1 draft pick Markelle Fultz, who has been rehabbing a bad shoulder and missed most of the season. Coach Brett Brown refused to commit before Tuesday’s loss to Toronto that Fultz would be part of the playoff rotation.
“I’m hoping to be pleasantly surprised with how he arrives back with us more than assume that he’s going to be there,” Brown said. “It’s not smart for me to think like (he’ll be a part of the rotation).”
Brand is going for it in his first season as GM, and the Sixers suddenly seem positioned as a legitimate NBA title contender.
Harris, still not quite healed from a shoulder strain he suffered last week, made his final game with the Clippers a memorable one. He hit a running jumper in the lane with 4.3 seconds remaining to lead the Clippers past the Charlotte Hornets 117-115 on Tuesday night.
“It’s as good as it’s going to be,” Harris said of his injured shoulder. “It’s not any better or worse. It’s about pushing myself and battling through it, keeping my mental state at a high level to go into a game and be effective.”
The Clippers held the eighth seed in the West but the trade seems to signal an intent on building through free agency and the draft.a