There is going to be a large contingent of NBA teams interested in the services of forward Tobias Harris on June 30th at 6:00 p.m. when NBA Free Agency begins. Harris, 26, will be one of the most sought after free agents on the market after boasting career numbers with the Los Angeles Clippers in the first half of the season, and producing nearly equally as well with the Philadelphia 76ers in a smaller role.
Along with the 76ers, five other teams have been reported to be showing interest in Harris: the Indiana Pacers, Dallas Mavericks, Sacramento Kings, Brooklyn Nets, and Utah Jazz. All five of those teams can offer him a four-year, $141 million max contract. The 76ers can offer a five-year, $188 million max deal.
Here are the three best landing spots for Harris.
3. Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks are looking to jump back into playoff contention next season, and spent last season unleashing rookie phenom Luka Doncic on the NBA while trading for the highly valued Kristaps Porzingis.
Dallas’ theoretical big three has one spot remaining and they do not have a player on the roster to become that third member. Harris, however, would be just that guy. He’d fit nicely alongside Porzingis in the front-court as a floor spacer who has been able to make strides defensively over the last couple of seasons. He is a good rebounder at 6-foot-9 and had the best rebounding percentage, 12%, of his career over the last five seasons. He is also a nice tertiary distributor alongside Doncic, as he boasted a 12.5% assist percentage last season, a career-best mark.
The Mavericks’ ability to score the ball would greatly improve with the addition of Harris, who has continued to become more lethal at putting the ball in the basket each season he has been in the league.
LA → Philly
A look at Tobias Harris' best moments as a member of the Clippers. 🏀 pic.twitter.com/b3goY7Ra6m
— NBA TV (@NBATV) February 6, 2019
Adding Harris to a lineup featuring Doncic, Porzingis, another budding scorer in Tim Hardaway Jr., and Jalen Brunson would form a lineup in Dallas capable of playoff contention. That is also an extremely young team that would have the chance, under a smart front office, to grow together over a span of multiple seasons and establish chemistry as Doncic and Porzingis develop into their primes.
On the court Dallas has established a great environment great with an elite coach and Harris would become an integral part of a core that is young but talented. There is no doubt an admirable fit between him and the Mavericks.
2. Brooklyn Nets
An Islip native, Brooklyn is just about an hour away from the birthplace of Harris. The hometown allure has already been attached to Harris’ free agency, but the idea is more stable than that.
The Nets shocked everyone by reaching the NBA Playoffs this season, and even put up a competitive series against the Harris and the Philadelphia 76ers in the first round. Even with their drought in success over the past handful of years, they have established themselves as a healthy franchise with a smart front office and a budding young team.
Position-wise, Harris fills their greatest void. The Nets will likely re-sign D’Angelo Russell, have Joe Harris and Caris LeVert on the wing, and Jarrett Allen reigns supreme at the center spot. Brooklyn’s power forward rotation was spotty this season with DeMarre Carroll, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson, Rodions Kurucs, and Jared Dudley all absorbing time there. None are ideal options for a team with high aspirations.
Harris is the exact opposite. Of the players available, he is the best option. He also has connections to Brooklyn’s head coach, Kenny Atkinson. He checks all the boxes for Brooklyn’s greatest needs and when you mix that with the ties he has to the state and team, there is no wonder why the Nets have been heavily linked to Tobias Harris.
This is also the team in which Harris may be able to have his largest role as a player. He is just as good, if not better than LeVert and Russell, and is the most efficient player of the bunch. If he is savoring for a bigger role after playing fourth fiddle in Philly, then he shouldn’t have to look any further than Brooklyn.
The Nets would become a much stronger team with the addition of Harris. When you mix that in with the internal development they are hoping to see from their young players, they have an extremely bright future.
1. Philadelphia 76ers
For years, Harris has been trying to find a home. He’s been traded four times now. And the Sixers want to be that home for Harris. They made that clear when they traded Landry Shamet and multiple first round picks to bring him aboard.
While being the fourth option on a top-heavy team, it didn’t quite seem like he was being pushed back in line. He averaged 14.8 field goal attempts per game, which is only 0.7 fewer attempts than he averaged with the Clippers in the first 55 games of the season. His overall usage percentage dropped a bit, but that can be expected when you join a much better team that already has a pair, if not a triplet, of stars on it.
22 PTS. 6 REB. 6 AST.
— NBA (@NBA) February 11, 2019
Out of all the teams interested in Harris, Philadelphia is closest to competing for a championship, too. They battled valiantly against the Toronto Raptors, who just punched their ticket to the NBA Finals. The Sixers need Harris if they want to continue through their process of becoming an elite franchise, and Harris needs Philly if he wants to compete for a ring. Utah made the playoffs last season, but they were ousted in the first round quickly by the Rockets, and it is much tougher to win in the West than it is the East.
It also helps that Philadelphia can also offer the most money with another whole year of security. That certainly matters to a player, especially when they are going to be nearly 32 years old by the time the contract ends and they are exiting their prime.
On the 76ers end, they have to decide if they want to pay him max level money towards the end of his prime, which they should considering their desire to compete. If they want to keep their core intact, they’ll not only have to pay Harris, but Jimmy Butler as well, who they can sign to the exact deal as Harris.
If Philly is all in, they’ll return both Butler and Harris next season.