How the 76ers Tobias Harris deal affects the Toronto Raptors

Toronto Raptors - Tobias Harris (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images)
Toronto Raptors - Tobias Harris (Photo by Claus Andersen/Getty Images) /

The Philadelphia 76ers sent shockwaves throughout the league by trading for Tobias Harris. The Sixers intentions are clear, but how does the trade affect the Toronto Raptors?

Following the Philadelphia 76ers loss to the Toronto Raptors on Tuesday night, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN revealed that the Sixers had traded for Tobias Harris of the Los Angeles Clippers. Philadelphia also picked up long-time Raptors killer Mike Scott and Boban Marjanovic.

Adding an All-Star caliber player like Harris to the 76ers makes them that bit scarier since they already have Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid and Jimmy Butler on the books. The window for the Sixers seems to be well and truly open and now is the time to make a move into contendership.

The Trade

First thoughts, that’s a lot to give up for Tobias Harris, especially since he’s on an expiring contract. Second thoughts, this is still a great pick-up for the Sixers and one they had to make. This trade instantly makes the Sixers a lot better, especially in the starting line-up.

Financially, the Sixers get a little more flexibility moving forward. Both Boban Marjanovic and Mike Scott are unrestricted free-agents at the end of the season and will probably be let go. All attention should be put into resigning Butler and Harris, and if they both walk the Sixers could be left in a rather precarious position moving forward.

That, in truth, would cancel out most of the flexibility. The two forwards are more than likely to sign long-term deals and lock themselves into a decent payday. Although, the possibility of Jimmy Butler leaving still remains a possibility.

The Sixers are mortgaging their future on this big four, it could well backfire. Then again, it could work. Equally, they’re losing one of their best bench contributors in Landry Shamet, who was shooting 40-percent from three on four attempts a game in his rookie season.

How does it affect the Raptors?

What should really matter is how this affects the Raptors short term, and sadly, it affects the Raptors in the short term.

Instantly, the Sixers starting line-up becomes the best in the East. Adding Harris allows the Sixers to space the floor a little more, opening up the court for Simmons and Embiid to work. While they lose a spark off the bench, the 76ers get better immediately, which poses a problem for the Raptors. The Sixers are confident that they can make the Finals this year and beyond, they now have the star power to do it.

It’s probable that Kawhi Leonard only resigns with the Toronto Raptors if they make the NBA Finals, which could still happen. The Raptors own the second seed and are only a game and a half back from the Milwaukee Bucks, Jonas Valanciunas is set to return soon and Toronto will hopefully be trending in the right direction.

The Raptors won’t meet the Sixers again this season and may not even meet each other in the playoffs if the standings don’t change too much. However, the standings are bound to change, so what happens if they do meet?

The Sixers would have a line-up that could outmuscle and outsize the Raptors, one that possesses five potential hot-hands that could go off at any moment. Still, the offense would rely on the functionality of Ben Simmons and how he operates off of the ball. Simmons is rendered more or less useless if he’s required to space the floor or play without the ball.

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If Kawhi Leonard matches up on Ben Simmons, the Sixers could find themselves in trouble yet again. But with another stellar player added to the list, maybe Philadelphia can afford to take the risk of not having Simmons play with the ball in his hands a little more.

The Sixers have taken a huge risk that could well backfire, if it doesn’t though, they could cause a lot of problems for the Raptors in the playoffs.