NBA rumors: Tobias Harris an option for Utah?

Does this mean the Jazz are likely to lure an impact player? That remains to be seen. But, it does mean they at least have a fighting chance. One player who has interest, according to sources: Tobias Harris. Harris is a 6-foot-9 combination forward who currently plays in Philadelphia. He’s someone who is dynamic on or off the basketball. He can shoot from the perimeter. He can score in a variety of ways. The Sixers hold his Bird Rights and can offer him a full five-year max contract. But, if they don’t, and Harris looks around, the Jazz would have at least a fighting chance, league sources tell The Athletic.

More on Tobias Harris Free Agency

One source close to Harris' camp explained how Tobias likes his role in Philadelphia, but the idea of returning home is something he will likely consider this summer. Other names have been mentioned, such as Jimmy Butler, who put the Nets atop his list of destinations when demanding a trade out of Minnesota. Similar to Tobias, a source close to Kemba Walker said the star point guard is intrigued by the idea of coming back to play in his home state -- including both the Knicks and Nets.
Tobias Harris, meanwhile, is a native of New York and was intrigued by Philadelphia over the course of this season, dating back to his time with the Clippers. Around the league, executives believe several other teams, such as Memphis, Utah, Dallas and Brooklyn, will also provide competition for Harris.
Josh Harris told us last week that the Sixers want to keep both Tobias Harris and Butler because players of that caliber are difficult to acquire. He’s right. The franchise learned that difficult lesson last offseason when they had oodles of cap space but no high-level free agents to ladle it out to. Retaining Harris and Butler would zoom them deep into the luxury tax for the foreseeable future and handicap how the Sixers can fill out the rest of the roster—especially because Simmons will soon be in line to sign an extension. That would be a lot of money wrapped up in four players. “We get it,” Harris stipulated. “It’s expensive.”
The Sixers are 8-5 since he arrived, with a net rating that has been slightly improved from before (3.2 with him, three without, and that includes eight games without Embiid when he was out with a knee injury). In terms of the early stages of the Harris-Sixers relationship, it’s probably a good sign for this summer’s negotiations that a source close to Harris recently raved about first-year general manager Elton Brand.
I know there was a feeling for you that you wanted to win in L.A. And now you’re here. Does the mindset carry over to staying with this current organization — and trying to win? Tobias Harris: It would be selfish of me to not come into this situation with an open mind to make this work for the long-term. That’s where my mindset is at. I’m a loyal guy to where I am, and if I feel that loyalty back, that is how I operate. For me, it’s just making it work here and figuring out how it will go. So far, it’s been really good. Gotta show that loyalty.
"We gave up a lot to get Tobias and Jimmy on our team," Harris told ESPN. "We think they're exceptional talents. We're going to try to keep them. We know we are going to have to pay these guys in an appropriate way. We get it. It's expensive."
Tobias Harris hopes to stay a while with his new team after bouncing around the NBA throughout his career. Harris was the centerpiece of a blockbuster deal the Philadelphia 76ers made early Wednesday morning to bolster their chances at making a run at a championship.
"The top of the list for me is winning culture and No. 2 is loyalty," Harris said Thursday. "Just finding the right situation for team basketball, a winning culture and loyalty from both sides. This team has made a big trade and I'm hopeful it can be a long-term partnership."
For first-year Sixers general manager Elton Brand, it is the second significant deal of the season -- bringing Harris and Butler into the Sixers lineup. Along with Butler, Harris will be a free agent this summer and the Sixers plan to be aggressive in re-signing him to an extension, league sources said.
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.
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.
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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