Amid rumors suggesting that the Philadelphia 76ers are considering offering maximum contract extensions to incoming free agent forwards Jimmy Butler and Tobias Harris, new reports suggest that Harris may have his sights set on joining one of the 76ers’ Atlantic Division rivals — the Brooklyn Nets — with the team also hoping to add him to their roster this summer.
In a report published on Tuesday, The Athletic‘s Michael Scotto wrote that the Nets and Harris have “mutual free agent interest in each other,” as quoted by 97.3 ESPN South Jersey. As pointed out, Harris could provide Brooklyn with some much-needed help at the power forward position, as well as versatility on the offensive end, where he could contribute with his shooting and pick-and-roll playmaking ability. Scotto also noted that Harris’ age — he turns 27 on July 15 — and reputation as a “well-regarded teammate” further makes him a good fit on the Nets’ young roster.
In addition to his potential to gel with the Nets on and off the court, Harris would have the opportunity to play home games near his hometown of Long Island, as well as a chance to work with Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson. Per Scotto, Atkinson’s brother was Harris’ high school coach, and both families lived within 10 miles of each other on Long Island.
While the Nets are reportedly keen on signing Harris, with the 6-foot-9-inch forward feeling the same way about joining the team, Brooklyn isn’t the only team that has been linked to the Sixers forward in recent weeks. Last month, Keith Pompey of The Philadelphia Inquirer reported that the Dallas Mavericks, Indiana Pacers, Sacramento Kings, and Utah Jazz are also expected to make a move for Harris, with all four teams plus the Nets capable of offering him a maximum four-year, $141 million contract in the 2019 offseason.
On the other hand, if the Sixers choose to retain Harris, the team would be able to offer a substantially more lucrative five-year, $188 million contract, as further noted by Pompey.
In 82 games split between the Los Angeles Clippers and the Philadelphia 76ers, Tobias Harris averaged 20 points, 7.9 rebounds, and 2.8 assists and shot 39.7 percent from three-point range in the 2018-19 NBA season, according to Bleacher Report. The former University of Tennessee star was acquired by the Sixers shortly before the February trade deadline, in a deal that sent several players, including rookie guard Landry Shamet and veteran forwards Wilson Chandler and Mike Muscala, to the Clippers.
If Harris ends up signing with the Nets, he will be joining a team that finished sixth in the Eastern Conference with a 42-40 record and made the playoffs for the first time in four years. Interestingly, it was the third-seeded Sixers (51-31) that ended the Nets’ postseason run earlier this year, as Philadelphia defeated Brooklyn in five games during their first-round playoff series.