On Nov. 17 while the Los Angeles Clippers prepared to face the Nets for an early evening game, Tobias Harris was surrounded by reporters.
Then he was about eight months away from free agency and since he is a Long Island native and a power forward, the conversation topic was about his free agency since adding him would make sense for the Nets this summer. It still does for the Nets but the price to get it done may have just significantly increased.
“I’m just focused on the team that I put a jersey on every single night for,” he said prior to playing the Nets. “I think it wouldn’t be fair if I had my mind somewhere else at this time. I’m just focused on helping this team and let’s see how far we can go.”
At 2 am Wednesday while most were sleeping reports surfaced about Harris being traded to the Philadelphia 76ers in a multi-player deal and 11 hours later it became official. Their intention is not only to go for it all this year but also retain Harris and Jimmy Butler, whom they obtained five days before Harris faced the Nets.
Butler and Harris are both unrestricted free agents and since they now are 76ers, their Larry Bird rights can be used to go over the salary cap to retain them. And Butler and Harris qualify since they have played three seasons without being waived or changing teams as a free agent.