By Rob Lep
Tobias Harris signed a 5-year, $180 million supermax contract with the Sixers this offseason.
“At the top.”
That’s where Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris believes his teams ranks among the NBA’s elite teams going into the 2019-20 season.
“For sure at the top of the east,” Harris said. “It's the NBA. It’s hard to win games in the NBA. It’s gonna take chemistry and work from every single guy on the team. We have big goals for ourselves, our team, our organization and we’re ready for that.”
“Our goal is to be at the top...if you asked me where do you think we rank and I told you at the bottom, that would be ridiculous,” he explains with a laugh. “That’s our goal and where we’re gonna be.”
Confidence has worked well for Harris in the past as he’s fresh off signing a 5-year extension worth over $180 million.
Harris passed on a $80 million extension last summer. He bet on himself. A $100 million to be exact. And it worked out brilliantly for him.
“I knew I wanted to stay [in Philly] but you never know what can happen in free agency. For us it was trying to get something done with Philadelphia. We got a great deal done.”
Harris spoke while at the Five Star x NBPA Basketball Camp at Basketball City in downtown Manhattan.
Life comes full circle for Harris, who attended the Five Star camp as a 12-year old kid.
“I always told my dad, I wanna go to Five Star. Because you can’t make the NBA if you don’t go to Five Star. So I always wanted to go!”
Ironically, Harris' dad Torrel is now his agent and the one who negotiated his max contract with the Sixers.
2018-19 was Harris’ best season statistically, averaging 20 points per game with just under 8 assists and shooting 55% from the field.
Harris is a native of Islip, New York in Suffolk County Long Island. Despite being a New York native, his focus is on the Sixers only.
“I don’t play for the Knicks so I don’t really care about the Knicks,” Harris said when asked about how he would assess the Knicks up and down offseason. “Just saying, I’m not gonna waste my energy answering that.”
Coming into free agency, the Knicks were the favorites to land both Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
Sports media members including Colin Cowherd, Stephen A Smith and Ric Bucher chad sources telling them it was a done deal. 99% chance. Many believe that Durant’s injury in Game 5 of the NBA Finals possibly changed his thinking.
Others believe it was as simple as KD wanting to be in New York, but not wanting to deal with Knicks owner James Dolan.
Harris’ Sixers have two big changes going into the 2019-20 season: the loss of Jimmy Butler who signed a 4-year, $140 million contract with the Heat and the addition of Al Horford from the Celtics, signing a 4-year, $109 million deal.
“Everything happened really fast...there’s a lot of moving parts. It was a pretty epic free agency all around.”
A core built around Ben Simmons, Joel Embiid, Tobias Harris and Al Horford should make Sixers fans excited.
Pressure will certainly be there too. Philly has committed over $600 million dollars to four players during the last two offseasons.
Between moves by the Clippers, Lakers, Warriors among others, Harris is excited to see a wide open NBA in 2019-20.
“It’s great competition for us. I love the NBA. I love how its balanced. Everybody wants to give their shot. A lot ot talk about the west but the east equally has a lot of great teams and players. Gonna be fun for fans to watch.”