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Sixers talked to Pelicans about Markelle Fultz-Nikola Mirotic swap before trading for Tobias Harris

Tobias Harris

The Philadelphia 76ers made one of the biggest deals of deadline week, acquiring forward Tobias Harris from the Los Angeles Clippers. Before that, however, ESPN.com’s Zach Lowe reports that they discussed a deal to acquire Nikola Mirotic from the New Orleans Pelicans for former No. 1 overall pick Markelle Fultz. The Sixers eventually dealt Fultz to the Orlando Magic for Jonathon Simmons and a future first-round pick.

“Adding Nikola Mirotic makes them even more malleable. (Outbidding the Sixers, who offered two second-round picks, per sources, probably made it sweeter. The Sixers and Pelicans also discussed the general framework of a Mirotic-Markelle Fultz swap before Philadelphia acquired Tobias Harris, sources say. It is unclear how far those talks would have advanced otherwise.) He unlocks more Giannis-at-center lineups, and can even jostle with some centers himself to spare Antetokounmpo wear and tear.”

As we’d heard from the Sixers Wire not long ago, Sixers general manager Elton Brand said that he wasn’t worried about Tobias Harris’ future with the team, especially since the team is now considered a favorite in the Eastern Conference.

“With Jimmy Butler and the newly acquired Tobias Harris joining Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons, however, some have grown concerned with the team’s ability to re-sign both Butler and Harris this summer. Each of the two will be unrestricted free agents, and each will likely command annual salaries upwards of $30 million.”

But Brand said that he was interested in keeping Tobias Harris as “part of the core team” that he’s looking to hold together for years to come.

“I’ve gotten all assurances from the managing partners that we can bring them back and sign them for what we need to sign them for.”