NBA

Tobias Harris Proved It Pays to Gamble on Yourself

The 2019 ESPYS - Tobias Harris

Tobias Harris has often been overlooked during his time in the NBA. Fans of the teams he’s played for always consider him a solid contributor. But most people don’t realize his true talent. After not signing an extension last season, he gambled on himself and struck it rich. Here’s how this risk paid off for the Philadelphia 76ers‘ highest-paid player.

His early career

In 2011, the Charlotte Bobcats (now Hornets) drafted the small forward with the No. 19 pick. The team immediately dealt him to the Milwaukee Bucks, where Harris spent one and a half seasons. Then, the Bucks sent him to Orlando. In Florida, his production took off, and Harris averaged 15 points and seven rebounds per game.

After four seasons, the Magic traded him to the Detroit Pistons, where he continued his stellar, consistent play. Then, in 2018, Harris was included as part of the trade for Clippers star forward Blake Griffin.

Making a name for himself in LA

The Clippers¬†have always been overlooked as the “little brother” team in Los Angeles. But that didn’t stop Harris from developing into a potential All-Star. In 32 games during the 2017-18 season, Harris put up 19 points and six rebounds per game while shooting 41% from behind the arc.

Turning down $80 million?!

The 27-year-old’s excellent play made him the bright spot of the Blake Griffin deal. Harris wasn’t as athletic and flashy as Griffin. However, he fit in Doc Rivers system, teaming up with Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams to start the Clippers’ slow rebuild. At the season’s end, the franchise offered Harris an $80 million contract extension.

The 6-foot-9 athlete subsequently turned it down, banking on earning a bigger payday during the 2018 season. He started off the season red hot and was a borderline All-Star. Harris didn’t make the team but he drew interest from the Philadelphia 76ers, who sought to change the dynamic of the team after trading for Jimmy Butler earlier in the season.

Cashing in with the Sixers

Harris made the most of his short time in Philly, becoming the quality shooter the team needed at small forward. The 76ers got to the second round of the Eastern Conference playoffs¬†— a crazy bounce away from seeing Milwaukee in the Eastern Finals. After the season, a sign-and-trade deal sent Jimmy Butler to Miami.

The team had the cap room to spare, and Harris got paid. He signed a five-year, $180 million deal to remain in Philadelphia. Then, the departure of J.J. Reddick made him the team’s primary outside shooter.

Are they the team to beat in the East?

The Sixers not only re-signed Harris. Josh Richardson is coming from Miami after averaging 16 points per game last season. The team also signed Al Horford, who has been a thorn in the side of Sixers fans for the last two seasons. Philadelphia now has a lineup with four players who can create their own shot.

We still think the Bucks are going to end up with the No. 1 seed. But it wouldn’t surprise us to see Philly finish second in the East.

Do you think Tobias Harris got a good deal?

By signing his extension, Harris becomes the highest-paid 76ers player. Was it a good deal? We think so — if he can produce a potential 50-40-90 season.