Tobias Harris Rumors: Nets, 76ers Star 'Have Mutual Free-Agent Interest'

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistJune 12, 2019

Philadelphia 76ers' Tobias Harris during the second half of an NBA basketball game against the Milwaukee Bucks Sunday, March 17, 2019, in Milwaukee. The 76ers won 130-125. (AP Photo/Aaron Gash)
Aaron Gash/Associated Press

The Brooklyn Nets and the Philadelphia 76ers' Tobias Harris reportedly have "mutual free-agent interest" with the veteran forward set to hit the open market this summer.

Michael Scotto of The Athletic reported the update Tuesday and noted Harris already has a connection with Nets head coach Kenny Atkinson since Atkinson's brother, Steve Atkinson, coached the Sixers star in high school.

The 26-year-old University of Tennessee product hasn't generated a ton of attention as part of a star-studded free-agent class led by the Golden State Warriors' Kevin Durant, Toronto Raptors' Kawhi Leonard, Boston Celtics' Kyrie Irving and Charlotte Hornets' Kemba Walker, among others.

That said, Harris is coming off a strong 2018-19 season. He averaged 20.0 points, 7.9 rebounds and 2.8 assists in 82 games split between Philly and the Los Angeles Clippers. He ranked eighth among small forwards in player efficiency rating, per ESPN.com.

His versatility also increases the number of potential fits in free agency. He is able to play as a traditional small forward, but his 6'9", 235-pound frame and outside shooting ability (39.7 percent on threes this past season) allow him to fill the stretch 4 role as well.

"Harris represents a fit at power forward, where Brooklyn shuffled four players last season," Scotto wrote. "Harris, who turns 27 on July 15, fits the age trajectory of Brooklyn's young core, provides offensive versatility as a playmaking 4 in pick-and-roll sets and as a shooter, and fits Brooklyn's culture as a well-regarded teammate over his career."

He could emerge as one of two key offseason targets for Brooklyn. Irving is the other, with ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski providing an update about the shared interest last week:

The Nets made a 14-win improvement over the last two seasons. They posted a 42-40 record to earn their first playoff berth in four years before getting knocked out of the playoffs by the Sixers in the first round.

It showed that while the franchise is trending in the right direction, it needs more star power before it can become a legitimate contender.

The front office is clearly looking to close that gap in the coming months with Harris near the top of its free-agent wish list.

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