Adrian Wojnarowski: Tobias Harris could be moving towar…

Adrian Wojnarowski: Tobias Harris could be moving toward a maximum-level contract in free agency this summer, something that would’ve been difficult for Clippers to do with their own free agency aspirations.

More on Tobias Harris Free Agency

Adrian Wojnarowski: The Sixers are budgeting to re-sign and keep a new Big 4, including free agents Tobias Harris and Jimmy Butler this summer, league sources tell ESPN. Philadelphia has long-term plans for Harris, Butler, Joel Embiid and Ben Simmons together.
Other teams have called about Tobias Harris, but the Clips have so far shown no inclination to deal him, sources say. They would happily re-sign him if July goes a certain way for them.
Utah would forfeit a max salary slot in that deal. They could still have significant room depending on a few other variables, but probably not enough to add even a second-tier free agent such as Khris Middleton or Tobias Harris. (The Jazz would have interest in Harris if they save space, per league sources.)
In a contract season, the Long Island native admitted he’s heard from Clippers fans and opposing fans regarding free agency at games. However, earning a maximum contract isn’t what’s motivating him to reach new heights in his game this season. “I think it’s more motivation just on myself of trying to really unlock another level of my own play and try to help our team get to the playoffs,” Harris said. “That’s where I put all my motivation. I don’t worry about what’s to come in the future. Honestly, I just worry about pretty much the present moment and how I can help our team. I’ve been a free agent before, and I took the same approach, and I felt a good rhythm when I focused on the team and focused on winning and focused on controlling how I could get better every single day, and that’s how I approach everything I do.”
Tobias Harris, the centerpiece of the Griffin trade, might be headed to his first All-Star Game and has been so valuable that some executives think they should use one of their max slots on him. The reviews for rookie point guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, who the Clippers semi-hid by promising him they'd draft him in the lottery, and he at least partially shut down workouts, have been excellent.
That is why when the Clippers approached Harris with a four-year, $80 million extension in late July, he and his father had to think long and hard about accepting the deal. This was the type of long-term investment they had been looking for since Harris entered the league. The Clippers have been deliberately calculated with their long-term spending since last summer, saving cap space for the 2019 offseason and potentially even 2020. But the franchise decided that offering Harris a contract with an annual value of $20 million per season — which would be a sizable hit to their cap space — was a worthy investment. It’s All-Star-level money for a player that has yet to make an All-Star team.
“For myself and my representation, we looked at it. We did really process it to make that decision,” Harris said. “At the end of the day, it is $80 million. But for me, it’s more of going out and earning what my value is. It has nothing to do with me figuring out what the Clippers are doing or things like that. “No, I love the whole organization. I love the team. I hope this relationship that we have is long-lasting. But it’s more of just on myself as a player, just pushing myself to see where I’m at at the end of the year. And we’ll go from there. That’s where it was. Both sides, we talked about it and both sides had really good dialogue on that. So it wasn’t nothing. We really were thankful that offer was there.”
Frankly, the rejection wasn’t much of a rejection at all. It was a postponement of the negotiation. As things stand, Harris prefers to stay with the Clippers long term. “When it’s all said and done, he’s probably going to be a Clipper,” Torrel said. “[If] everything moves in the right direction, he’ll probably be a long-term Clipper. We’re hoping. We like that. That’s what we want.”
“I’m happy and excited,” Harris told the Orlando Sentinel late Friday night from his family’s home on Long Island. “It’s still surreal for me. I just think back when I first came to the NBA, and I wanted to just really be here for more than four years. You know, that’s the average expectancy as an NBA player. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to be in Orlando, to get an opportunity where I can showcase my game and be on a great team with great teammates and a great organization. So it’s a true blessing. It really is.”
Gary Washburn: League sources say #Magic fully intend to match any offer sheet for Tobias Harris, meaning interested teams such as #celtics unlikely to bid
The Lakers also have interest in Dwyane Wade and Tobias Harris, although filling out their front line is the club's top priority.
As Orlando restricted free agent Tobias Harris will pursue a maximum-level offer sheet on July 1 that the Magic possibly won’t match, the Detroit Pistons and Boston Celtics have emerged as leading candidates for the talented forward, league sources told RealGM.
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