Joel Embiid puts on full-court press to recruit Tobias Harris back to Philadelphia

Ben WeinribYahoo Sports Contributor

The Philadelphia 76ers have a big offseason ahead of them with in-season additions Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris hitting free agency, and star center Joel Embiid is looking for answers.

Both Embiid and Harris were attending the Steve Nash Showdown — a charity soccer match in New York City — on Wednesday, when Harris fielded questions from reporters. Embiid made sure to sneak one in at the end.

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While Harris didn’t give an answer about his future, he’s turning out to be one of the more popular under-the-radar free agents. The Utah Jazz had interest until they traded for Mike Conley, and he could be a fall-back option for the Brooklyn Nets if they can’t land Kevin Durant.

Harris hasn’t made an All-Star team yet, but he played like one last season. He averaged a career-high 20.0 points per game with 7.9 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 39.7 percent shooting from beyond three.

Can the 76ers keep Harris and Butler?

The 76ers went all-in last season when they traded for Butler and Harris, and the question remains whether they have the appetite to keep both on max or near-max contracts. That may be affordable for now, but Ben Simmons will soon need a giant deal of his own.

Philadelphia owns the Bird Rights to both players — as well as the Early Bird Rights to fellow starter JJ Redick — so they have the ability to go over the cap to sign each player.

Harris has a vested interest in staying beyond having the opportunity to stay on one of the East’s best teams. The 76ers can offer him $188 million over five years, compared to $141 over four years for any other team.

Philly only got to use the starting lineup of Simmons, Redick, Butler, Harris and Embiid 21 times last season, so there’s reason to believe more time to jell can help them get past the second round of the playoffs.

The 76ers also gave up a ton to just let both players go. They sent a pair of first round picks and Landry Shamet to the Los Angeles Clippers for Harris and Dario Saric and Robert Covington to the Minnesota Timberwolves for Butler.

Joel Embiid (left) wants Tobias Harris (right) back on the 76ers. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)
Joel Embiid (left) wants Tobias Harris (right) back on the 76ers. (AP Photo/Chris Szagola)

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