Are 76ers New Favorite in East After Tobias Harris Trade?

Are 76ers New Favorite in East After Tobias Harris Trade?

The Eastern Conference just got a whole lot more interesting. Late Tuesday night the L.A. Clippers agreed to a deal that sends All-Star-caliber forward Tobias Harris to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for rookie Landry Shamet and two first-round draft picks.

The Clippers will also send center Boban Marjanovic and forward Mike Scott to Philly. The Clippers will also receive reserves Mike Muscala, Wilson Chandler and a pair of second-round picks.

This another classic going-for-it move by first year general manager Elton Brand. A few months after dealing for four-time All-Star Jimmy Butler, he strikes again by adding a fourth piece to an already great core.

Harris, an impending free agent, was an All-Star snub this season, averaging career-highs in points (20.9), rebounds (7.9), and assists (2.7). He’s also shooting a career-best 49.6 percent from the field on a career-high 15.5 attempts, and his 43.4 percent from beyond the arc is 8th in the NBA.

76ers Odds Slashed

While it’s tough to say right now that the 76ers have jumped any of the three teams ahead of them, their +350 odds Tuesday to win the East were trimmed to +275 on Wednesday morning. And their +1400 title odds (down from +1600) in NBA Finals betting are a good bet.

It’s about more than just your core in the postseason, but only Golden State touts a more talented quartet of players, something NBA betting fans should keep in mind.

The 76ers were just 5-8 against the spread in their last 13 and had lost three of five straight up, so the timing is right for them to get back into the East race. As it stands, we still like Boston’s +250 odds to with the East, followed by Milwaukee’s +265 and then Toronto’s +225 odds.

The 76ers were a step behind the top three teams in the Eastern Conference in Milwaukee, Toronto and Boston, but it’s certainly now a four-team race.

But until someone dethrones Boston - now that LeBron is gone – it’s the Celtics’ conference. Plus, they’re likely to make a move before Thursday’s deadline.

What to make of the 76ers

Simply put, the Philadelphia now has a Big 4. Joel Embiid, Ben Simmons, Butler and Harris make up the best quartet of talent in the Eastern Conference, and having J.J. Redick as a fifth option is pretty good, too.

Head coach Brett Brown will need to find a way to quickly mesh Harris with his other three stars in the final two months of the regular season. It won’t be easy, and it also won’t be easy to move forward with a bench that’s largely been stripped down by the trade; Shamet and Muscala were the team’s two leading bench scorers.

Still, the odds are good that they’ll figure it out. The 76ers will get the upcoming All-Star break to get Harris up to speed and have him hit the ground running in late February.

Move Helps LeBron, Lakers

Speaking of LeBron, this trade has potential ramifications for his Lakers. Though he just suffered the worst loss of his career in the wake of myriad Anthony Davis rumors, a spot in the Western Conference Playoffs may have opened up.

The Clippers received some nice pieces in the deal – Muscala, Chandler and Shamet were all getting serious minutes for the 76ers – but trading their leading scorer in Harris could mean a step back in the short-term.

They’re clearly readying themselves for a big 2019 free agency push (while using those draft picks as selling point to a free agent) and that might mean more trades to clear cap space and gain long-term assets. If that’s the case, their standing in the No. 8 spot of the West playoffs could be up for grabs.

As of Wednesday morning the Clippers are 30-25, one game clear of the ninth seed Kings (28-25) and 2.5 games clear of the 10th-seeded Lakers.

Sacramento has won three straight and could make a move into the postseason, but we wouldn’t bet against James making a run, especially as Magic Johnson and GM Rob Pelinka begin making moves. They dealt for Pistons sharpshooter Reggie Bullock on Tuesday night.

They still have plenty of work to do and need to get the kids ready for primetime, but keep James’ and the Lakers’ +1400 odds to win the West in the back of your mind. Until someone knocks off LeBron, who has been to eight straight Finals, we aren’t counting him out.

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