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Clippers trade Tobias Harris to Philly, free up cap space for the summer

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Like many teams, the Clippers are gearing up to make a run at Kevin Durant and other key free agents.

Portland Trail Blazers v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Sean M. Haffey/Getty Images

The Los Angeles Clippers pulled off a mini-blockbuster move ahead of Thursday’s trade deadline by shipping Tobias Harris to the Philadelphia 76ers in exchange for a generous haul of draft picks. With all eyes on Anthony Davis, and whether or not the New Orleans Pelicans will trade him to the Los Angeles Lakers, the Clippers and Sixers sneaked in with a move that could play a big role in shaping the NBA landscape.

Here’s the full deal, which has interesting components for both sides:

76ers get: Tobias Harris, Boban Marjanovic, Mike Scott

Clippers get: Landry Shamet, Wilson Chandler, Mike Muscala, Philly’s 2020 first-round pick (protected), Miami’s 2021 first-round pick (unprotected), Detroit’s 2021 second-round pick, Detroit’s 2023 second-round pick.

With the exception of Shamet, the 26th overall pick in the 2018 NBA Draft, all of the players traded are on expiring contracts. Which means the trade can ultimately be reduced to this: Philly gets Tobias Harris’ Bird rights, and LA gets a whole bunch of young and future assets.

For the Sixers, getting Harris and his Bird rights puts them in position to build a formidable East contender for years to come. Philly now has the ability to max or near-max both Harris and Jimmy Butler this offseason, and build a four-man core around those two, Ben Simmons, and Joel Embiid. That’s a foundation with legitimate title aspirations.

And for the Clippers it’s perhaps even more exciting. LA got four draft picks and a rookie, all for the rental of a player they likely weren’t going to re-sign. They now have the cap space make a run at Kevin Durant, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, or Butler, and if they trade some more contracts, they could sign two of those players.

By adding more draft picks (especially Miami’s, which is a very valuable piece), the Clippers also have the assets necessary to put together a stronger trade package for Davis, or perhaps another top player. Either way, they have multiple roads they can take towards becoming a powerhouse in the 2019-20 season, and beyond.

And if they fail . . . well, an extra four draft picks is a pretty good way to start a rebuild.

Ultimately, all roads in the NBA lead to the Golden State Warriors, for now at least, and this trade reflects that. Philly strengthens up to try and make a run at the Dubs this year, and to position themselves as title contenders in coming seasons, and the Clippers cleared the space necessary to ensure that they can offer Durant a max contract, and still put a good team around him.

One thing is clear: The 2019 offseason is going to be absolutely bonkers.