Magic, Harris agree to $64 million deal
The Orlando Magic and Tobias Harris agreed to a four-year, $64 million deal Friday night, league sources told the Orlando Sentinel.
“I’m happy and excited,” Harris told the Orlando Sentinel late Friday night from his family’s home on Long Island.
“It’s still surreal for me. I just think back when I first came to the NBA, and I wanted to just really be here for more than four years. You know, that’s the average expectancy as an NBA player. I’m blessed to have the opportunity to be in Orlando, to get an opportunity where I can showcase my game and be on a great team with great teammates and a great organization. So it’s a true blessing. It really is.”
Harris would not discuss any of the details about the agreement, but the deal doesn’t include any player or team options.
By re-signing the 22-year-old forward, the Magic kept their young nucleus intact — albeit a young nucleus that also includes several other young players who can play small forward, including Aaron Gordon, Mario Hezonja, Evan Fournier and Maurice Harkless.
Harris averaged 17.1 points, 6.3 rebounds and 1.8 assists per game last season. He also improved his three-point shooting to 36.4 percent, almost 10 percentage points better than the season before.
The central questions about his game revolve around his defense and whether the team’s ball movement slows when he’s on the floor. But he’s versatile, likes to take pressure shots late in games and has plenty of time to improve before he reaches the prime of his career.
His coaches in Orlando have lauded his work ethic.
And, each of the last two years, he won the team’s community service award.
Harris entered free agency as a restricted free agent, which gave the Magic the right to match any offer sheet Harris may have signed with another team. The New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers were expected to make an effort to sign him.
Harris never signed an offer sheet. Asked whether he was close to signing an offer sheet with another team, Harris declined to answer.
The Magic and Harris’ representatives have been negotiating since free agency started on Wednesday.
Throughout the process, rumors surfaced — always from unnamed sources — that Harris didn’t want to return to the Magic because the Magic had recently hired Scott Skiles as their coach. Skiles was the Milwaukee Bucks’ coach when the Bucks drafted Harris in 2011, and Harris played sparingly during the period that Skiles’ and Harris’ tenures in Milwaukee overlapped.