Tobias Harris is going to get paid this summer.
It won’t be for 13 years and $330 million, but it’ll be the maximum the NBA will allow. That number with the Sixers would be for five years and $188 million. Anywhere else: Four years and $145 million.
That would seem to put the Sixers in an advantageous situation — one they should capitalize on as soon as possible.
You normally don’t pay a hefty down payment just to test drive a car, but Elton Brand did so in acquiring Harris from the Clippers. With what he’s seen from Harris so far, you’d think there won’t be any haggling over price.
Harris has been ever better than advertised since joining the Sixers. He’s averaging 21.7 points and shooting 52 percent from the field and 39 percent from three. More importantly, his assimilation has been without any hiccups.
Unlike with Jimmy Butler — who’s actually fit in better with the acquisition of Harris — Harris has stepped right in and found his role offensively. His elite shooting has opened up the floor for everyone. His ability to pull the ball off the rim and go gives the Sixers two players over 6-foot-9 that can do so, making them a nightmare in transition.
All this and we haven’t even seen what Harris can do when his number is actually called regularly, something Brett Brown admitted hasn’t quite happened yet.
I hope he’s a Philadelphia 76er for a long time,” Brown said after practice Monday. “Go back to the adage that energy finds the ball first. I don’t call his number a bunch — and I will as this thing starts to heat up — and he still finds a way to impact and put his thumbprint on a score sheet.
Of course, it takes two to tango, but when you look at Harris’ situation, Philadelphia just makes too much sense.
He’s just 26 — the same age as a certain new Phillies slugger — but is already on his fifth NBA team. The Sixers can offer him the biggest deal and the best chance to win.
The fact that the Sixers have made him feel wanted since the moment he arrived hasn’t been lost on him either. He said as much during his introductory press conference.
So far, Brown and the team has done its part.
“I like it here,” Harris said. “It’s a good group of guys and a team that has a lot of potential. Coach has been great for me. He’s a great coach in terms of offensive mind and how to play and defensively how to get us going too. He’s a great coach to be around, so I’m happy.”
Harris bet on himself, turning down a four-year, $80 million deal last summer. It’s looking like that was a smart bet. But if you’ve seen how much he’s improved his game, it was a no-brainer.
The scariest thing about Harris is that he may just be scratching the surface. From 2012-2017, Harris shot 33 percent from three. He’s over 42 percent the last two seasons. He went from a below average shooter to one of the most elite shooters in the game. He’s just entering his prime and has proven he’s not afraid to work on his craft.
Maybe the Sixers re-sign Butler, which would be a good move. Maybe they don’t.
But Brand better take a cue from Matt Klentak and seal the deal with Harris — though the wait won’t be nearly as long.
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