Tobias Harris
Bruno Rouby, Getty Images, ESNY Graphic

The Brooklyn Nets have long been linked to forward Tobias Harris ahead of this summer’s free agency. Now, chances look even slimmer.

Collin Loring

Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN woke up half of NBA Twitter on Wednesday morning, and if you weren’t in that half; no worries, you didn’t miss much. Except that the Philadelphia 76ers are a bonafide super team now.

Wojnarowski reports that the Los Angeles Clippers are sending a package centered around Tobias Harris to the Philadelphia 76ers:

Philadelphia, ironically after a loss to the number two seed Toronto Raptors, has become one of the clear favorites to win the East. Wojnarowski reports that they plan to budget out the money to retain both Jimmy Butler and Harris this summer:

As far as Los Angeles is concerned, they’ve now got the pick stash necessary to land a star by trade, or just flat out rebuild.

And if the Clippers miss the playoffs this year, they will keep their first-round pick. Otherwise, that pick goes to the Boston Celtics That makes for three first round picks the Clippers have at their disposal, should they have their eyes on a blockbuster deal of their own.

(Seriously, keep an eye on them regarding the Anthony Davis sweepstakes.)

So, this is great news for all involved. Well, except for the Brooklyn Nets, who were eyeing Harris as a potential target in July. Zach Harper of The Athletic tweeted just after the trade that Los Angeles was likely losing Harris to Brooklyn:

There isn’t much that ties Harris to Brooklyn. He knows head coach Kenny Atkinson from his high school days in Long Island.

The 26-year old forward explained the connection to Brian Lewis of the New York Post back in January:

“His brother [Steve] coached at my high school. He coached my little brother [Tyler],” Harris said. “They have a big family, a couple times I ran into another one of the brothers he has. It’s not the biggest place. I know coach Kenny.”

It helps that the Brooklyn Nets will be able to offer Harris a lot more money than Philadelphia. Unless their plan to have a “Big Four” falls apart, and Jimmy Butler parts for another team.

Knowing Butler, who’s been traded twice since the 2017 draft, that is very much in play. Still, winning plays a part in any free agency decision.

And the Philadelphia 76ers?

Well, they might be the only team that stands a chance against the reigning champs in Golden State.

Nets fans can find comfort in the fact that Brooklyn simply couldn’t compete with this offer from the Clippers. Offering two first round picks for 27 games of Harris and risking it in free agency just isn’t a viable move right now.

Philadelphia has a team that can compete now, and was just one guy away. Brooklyn would be betting on retaining Harris, while simultaneously counting on landing a star in free agency.

For general manager Sean Marks and company, that’s likely just not enough concrete data to pull the trigger.

Still, Marks will likely work a deal ahead of Thursday’s deadline, just nothing to this extreme.

It will be interesting to see how/if this alters the Nets trade deadline/free agency plans. Point guard D’Angelo Russell is eligible for an extension which seems relevant all of a sudden.

Harris is averaging 20.7 points, 7.9 rebounds, and a .422 clip from beyond-the-arc in 54 appearances with the Clippers this year. This trade alters the NBA landscape as a whole, and may be the snowball that makes Thursday the most wild deadline yet.

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