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Why is 76ers’ Tobias Harris one of the best paid players in the NBA?

As one of the highest paid players in the league, you’d imagine Tobias Harris has a few rings. That’s not the case though, so why’s he paid so much?

As one of the highest paid players in the league, you’d imagine Tobias Harris has a few rings. That’s not the case though, so why’s he paid so much?

Though it’s not the first time that the 76ers’ player has seen his salary scrutinized, one can appreciate that now that his teammate has won MVP and earns significantly less, questions are going to be asked. Yet, why is it that his salary is so high?

Introducing Tobias Harris

Now an established member of the 76ers’ roster, Tobias Harris signed a five-year contract worth $180 million back in 2019 with the team, which immediately made him one of the highest-paid players in the NBA. As one can imagine, the contract immediately turned heads, with many questioning why a player who was not one of the major stars of the league - that doesn’t mean he’s not good - could be earning so much. Needless to say, the reason why Harris’ salary is so high is based in a myriad of factors which we’re going to walk you through.

Why is Tobias Harris’ paid so much?

As mentioned above, Harris signed a five-year deal back in 2019. What that meant is that he pocketed an annual average salary of $36 million. Now, while you might be questioning just how the 76ers got to that point, the reality is that Harris has affirmed himself as quite a special player in the NBA. Indeed, the fact that he earns as much as he does is testament to the fact that the franchise has recognized his versatility as a player who can score, rebound and defend as good as any in the league today. Add to that his growing ability from beyond the arc and you’ve got yourself a player who arguably is in a class of his own. This is all to say, it makes sense that the franchise has sought to show him love.

Yet, it’s got to be said that Harris’ contract is also a direct indication of where the NBA is at today. As we know, the league’s salary cap continues to increase and with it so too do the salaries of the top players, as well as those who are on the rise. With that in mind, one could reasonably argue that Harris’ salary is as much the product of market conditions, as it is his unique attributes. Ultimately, these are factors can be discussed but the most probable reason that the Sixers agreed to pay Harris what he earns, is because if they didn’t he would have taken his special skill set to another team. The Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, and Brooklyn Nets were among those who were known to be interested. What’s important to note, is that all of those teams could have offered a maximum-salary, however, by trading for him the Sixers got Harris’ Bird rights which in turn allowed them to offer a five-year contract, something others couldn’t. Of course, it didn’t hurt that Harris was in demand at the time, but it’s worth noting that he accepted a salary of $8 million less.

What’s the future look like for the Sixers & Tobias Harris?

It’s interesting to note that the Sixers have in fact made it clear that they would like to bring back their core players for the next season. This includes Harris alongside the likes of James Harden and newly crowned league MVP, Joel Embiid. Yet on the other hand, some reports indicate that privately the team is trying to find a way to offload their fourth highest paid player. Indeed, were the franchise able to free itself from Harris’ salary it stands to reason that there would be some significant wiggle room when it comes to building around Embiid and Harden. On the other hand, there’s been no official word that we’re about to witness such a move which means for those who continue to criticize Harris’ status and salary, just think about what the team voluntarily gave up to sign him.