Tobias Harris to pursue ‘near max’ deal with Detroit Pistons


Tobias Harris to the Detroit Pistons? RealGM recently reported that Detroit is a front-runner to sign the 22-year-old small forward/stretch four.

"Harris, 22, is among the top young players on the available market, and could be the most vulnerable restricted free agent to leave his team. Around the NBA, several teams are believed to be open to preparing a near-max contract for Harris — which could approach $15 million-plus per season, an area the Magic likely elect not to match given the course of extension talks last October and their current team salary structure.For the Pistons, there is a vision of using Harris as a potential hybrid stretch-wing, capable of playing the small and power forward positions. Several NBA personnel told RealGM that Harris’ slashing and outside shooting will jibe instantly with Stan Van Gundy’s system."

It’s tricky delving into restricted free agency waters. Even if if the Magic–who drafted Mario Hezonja to play small forward in Harris’ place– really have moved on, Orlando has 72 hours to decided whether or not to match. From a business perspective it would only make sense for the Magic to draw out the process as long as possible. In doing so, the Pistons couldn’t use their available funds elsewhere, because the money would be tied up on an offer sheet to Harris.

And don’t think Orlando will take it easy on Van Gundy because of their ties– the two sides don’t exactly get along.

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Stan Van Gundy realizes the risks associated with restricted free agency. That’s why he’s aiming for the unrestricted free agency guys first.

"“There’s a real advantage in doing the unrestricted first,” he said via “The problem is if you go the other way, the unrestricted guys will virtually certainly be gone, so that’s a huge part of it in terms of strategy. We think there’s a couple of very good unrestricted guys out there that fit what we want and I think we’ll take first shot at them. But also while exploring what’s going on with some of the restricted guys. We think we’ve got some pretty good veteran options if we get beyond those first couple of guys.”"

Van Gundy said there are two guys that the Pistons will ‘go hard’ after who are unrestricted free agents. With about 18 million in cap space to spend that would present a problem if the Pistons were going to pursue Harris, which means we may have conflicting reports.

Or, Harris is a backup plan and the Pistons are shooting for the stars for a player like LeMarcus Aldridge or Kevin Love–two players the Pistons almost certainly have no chance at.

If the Magic aren’t willing to match other teams’ offer sheets , I’d just as soon the Pistons go ahead and offer Harris a near max or even max contract, but only if there is mutual interest as there appears to be.

With the salary cap rising next season, the type of deal it would take to acquire Harris would be a good buy for the Pistons. Harris is only 22 and he’s known for his work ethic. His skill-set also fits in well with what Van Gundy likes to do offensively.

If the Pistons can land a talent like Harris, use the available funds to find a back-up center, and then later go over the cap to sign Reggie Jackson, Van Gundy should have a very competitive roster for next season and a talented young nucleus to work with in future seasons.

Next: Pistons Draft Grades: Instant Reaction To Stanley Johnson

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