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2019 NBA Free Agency: Utah Jazz among teams jockeying for Tobias Harris

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The Utah Jazz are among the favorites to sign Tobias Harris.

NBA: Los Angeles Clippers at Utah Jazz Jeff Swinger-USA TODAY Sports

It’s been a lot of years since a potential star player in his prime has chosen Utah as his free agency destination. Fans have to wind it back to 2004 to remember Carlos Boozer spurning the up and rising Cleveland Cavaliers with sophomore LeBron James to sign with the Jazz. If a report is to be believed, the Jazz could land another star player who could leave an up and coming Eastern Conference team. Keith Pompey with Philly.com has the report:

According to several sources, the Sacramento Kings, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers and Brooklyn Nets are among the teams that will all go after the forward in free agency. All five teams can offer maximum-salary contracts.

By trading for Harris, the Sixers acquired his Bird rights. That enables them to offer him a five-year, $188 million max contract.

Teams that don’t have his rights are only able to offer Harris a four-year, $141 million max contract in free agency. The Sixers will most likely have to offer the five-year maximum for him to stay.

Even though the Sixers can offer an extra season and an extra $47 million, Harris has leverage because he’s in demand.

It appears that the bare minimum to keep Tobias Harris in Philadelphia would be a 5 year max. That’s a lot of money for someone who’d be Philadelphia’s at best third or fourth option should Jimmy Butler also decide to stay in the City of Brotherly Love. This shouldn’t come as a shock to a lot of Jazz fans as Tony Jones of The Athletic has reported this many times in the past.

Utah could have the advantage in free agency because Harris is looking for a squad with ‘great chemistry’

Another factor in his free agency decision is Harris looking for a team with good locker room chemistry.

In addition to opportunity, pursuit of an NBA title and a max contract, Harris, a high-character guy, longs to play for a squad with a great chemistry. The Sixers had some chemistry issues this season.

Harris’ departure would be a major blow, considering what they gave up to acquire him.

That chemistry was shaky at best in Philadelphia as Jimmy Butler had been at odds with the young core in Philly and in Minnesota earlier in the season. There were rumors that Brett Brown could be fired which puts his future tenure there at risk should the Sixers have another letdown of a season. Ben Simmons finds himself in the tabloids much more than most NBA stars. Joel Embiid—probably the team’s most stable locker room that’s on contract for next season—could possibly not be in the league in three to four years depending on his health as it’s a season by season judgement call. JJ Reddick who was the locker room’s most stable presence last year IS ALSO a free agent like Tobias Harris.

The 76ers have 10 possible free agents this summer. This team could look completely different and it’s hard to project a team’s chemistry when it could turn over two-thirds of its entire roster.

Looking at Utah’s competition to land Tobias Harris, Utah could be in the driver’s seat. Dallas is only a season removed from a major sexual harrassment scandal and dealing with heavy off the court issues with Kristaps Porzingis. Dallas has a promising young core, but Tobias would be the third banana there. If he wanted to be somebody’s wingman, Dallas isn’t the place.

The Sacramento Kings were close to contending in the Western Conference last year and have a promising young core, BUT their front office recently fired the beloved Dave Joerger after a successful campaign and installed Luke Walton who struggled to win with literally the best player in the NBA LeBron James.

The Brooklyn Nets and Indiana Pacers would be serious competition for the Utah Jazz. Both have VERY competent coaching staffs, very organized front offices, and amazing team cultures that would be sure to entice Tobias Harris. Brooklyn could be less of an option if Kyrie lands there. After all, Kyrie seemed to be at the epicenter of Boston’s implosion this past season. If Kyrie lands in Brooklyn, Tobias Harris could be off the table as Utah would be quick to swipe up D’Angelo Russell in the aftermath.

All in all, it’s going to be a wild offseason and it’s all going to go happen in the span of 144 hours. This is just one possible outcome.