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Pistons Acquire Tobias Harris

Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports Images

Kim Klement / USA TODAY Sports Images

2:58pm: The Pistons have acquired Tobias Harris from the Magic for Brandon Jennings and Ersan Ilyasova, the teams have formally announced. ESPN’s Chris Broussard first reported it was a done deal shortly after Michael Scotto of SheridanHoops reported the sides were in talks (Twitter links), while Marc J. Spears of Yahoo Sports, USA Today’s Sam Amick and Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel added detail (All Twitter links).

“We are pleased to welcome Tobias Harris to our organization,” Pistons GM Jeff Bower said in Detroit’s release. “Tobias adds good versatility as a ball-handler and scorer who can play both forward positions.  He also has good experience for a young player and will fit well with the young core we have assembled on our roster.  We appreciate the contributions made by Brandon and Ersan to our organization and wish them well moving forward.” 

The deal represents a nearly even exchange of salaries for this season, with Harris’ $16MM going to the Pistons and $16,244,497 headed to Orlando, but a long-term cost savings for the Magic, since Jennings is on an expiring deal and Ilyasova is guaranteed only $400K for next season. Harris signed a four-year, $64MM deal this past summer.

Detroit appeared to be one of the leading contenders for Harris as free agency got underway in the offseason, but the team hadn’t emerged as a trade suitor this year until today. Marc Stein of ESPN.com reported last week that the Magic were open to trading the 23-year-old Harris, cautioning that they weren’t shopping him. However, a serious discussion took place recently between the Magic and Clippers involving Harris, Blake Griffin and other players, according to Steve Kyler of Basketball Insiders. The Magic had been on the lookout for veterans, according to Stein, and Jennings, who’s 26, and Ilyasova, 28, ostensibly fit that bill.

“Brandon and Ersan are two veterans that will help balance our roster and provide valuable experience to our team,” Magic GM Rob Hennigan said as part of his team’s statement. “Both players bring scoring, competitiveness and added depth to our roster.  We want to thank Tobias for his contributions, both on and off the court.”

Power forward has been the unsettled spot for the Pistons, who were high on Ilyasova but saw him instead as a backup, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe reported as he identified the team’s interest in Ryan Anderson. The acquisition of Harris would presumably take the Pistons out of the running for other power forwards the team has been linked to, including Markieff Morris and Al Horford, though Detroit will still have significant cap flexibility for next summer, when only about $64MM in guaranteed salaries will be on the books against a cap that many around the league reportedly believe will surge to $95MM.

The Magic meanwhile reduce their guaranteed salary commitments to only about $44MM for next season, giving them plenty of spending power. They had an open roster spot before the trade, so they didn’t have to offload anyone to make the two-for-one exchange.

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26 thoughts on “Pistons Acquire Tobias Harris

  1. aarongill

    Let the deadline start of with a BANG! Let’s keep it going gms. Who’s playing SF now for the magic?

    • Z.....

      I’d assume it would be Gordon, Hezonja, Formier, or Oladipo at different points

    • Considering he hasn’t been starting for Orlando in over 2 weeks I’d say you’ll continue to see Aaron Gordon get in on the mix. Good trade

  2. Z.....

    This confuses me from Orlando’s perspective. It gives them cap space, and helps them get more minutes for certain guys, but I don’t get why this made sense to do now. Like the deal a lot for Detroit. They add more versatility, and shooting, and youth to their core. Should be interesting to see if this leads to more moves from Orlando, and how this effects Detroit in their playoff run

    • they’re about to unleash Aaron Gordon

    • it is confusing, but maybe Orlando has other moves going on. Maybe Oladipo or Fournier are gone too

      • Z.....

        That’s what I was thinking

  3. This one is a real head scratcher

  4. phillyphan

    Not sure how Jennings is any more of a fit in Orlando than he was in Detriot with Elfrid Payton there. And correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Ilyasova a starter on the Pistons? Unless there are related moves coming I don’t understand this trade…

    • jeremy

      Well magic think they need a PG. Plus it only for a short term unless they resign him. Plus I don’t follow the magic but aren’t their PG more combo guards

    • It’s not perfect for either, but I can see the thinking for Detroit. They were looking to get another secondary offensive hub, and given that Harris is a bit of a combo forward (similar with their other sort-of-combo-forward wings in Morris and Stanley Johnson), I see them playing a lot of 4-out. In all, I like this for them.

      I’m confused with the move for Orlando, though. I see some people thinking this means more minutes for Gordon (and it might) but I see him as more of a 4 than a 3 (it might mean more minutes for Hezonja, though). Jennings is a head-scratcher unless there’s another shoe to fall on CJ Watson.

      • Anonymous

        Magic need veterans and cj hasn’t played

      • SVG is building his Orlando scheme with the Pistons, it’s obvious.

        Magic need scoring from a PG spot, as Elfrid gives us very little. AG will be playing the 4, but can also play the 3, especially with a Frye move. This also opens up 16M more in cap for next offseason, so likely we aren’t done yet this year to free up money for a big name in the offseason.

  5. jeremy

    Reason it a good trade for both. For magic save them money let other get playing time and give them a true PG. For the piston they get the SF they been needing for a while. Even though they do have the talented SF they draft

    • I would argue that Payton is the more “true ” PG than Jennings. Jennings is more of a combo guard whose size forces him to play the point.

  6. phillyphan

    Not sure how Jennings is a better fit in Orlando than he was in Detriot. And correct me if I’m wrong, but wasn’t Ilyasova a starter for the Pistons? Unless related moves are on the way, this trade confuses me…

  7. My guess is the Dipo for Teague deal is now dead since they just acquired Jennings.

    • Oladipo is definitely gone too, even with Jennings there. Otherwise the magic now have a HUGE logjam in the backcourt. And don’t forget that Orlando still has C.J. Watson

      • Ryan Brubaker

        and Shabazz napier

      • One of Napier/Payton/Watson is going. Also Fournier may be gone instead of Oladipo, since Oladipo isn’t a RFA. I could see us moving Frye/Fournier/Napier for somebody, not sure who though.

  8. Dana Gauruder

    This should not come as a surprise. Harris, Carroll and D. Green were the players they targeted in free agency last season. Morris has proved more valuable than Ilyasova this season, and with the development of S. Johnson, Harris should be a good fit.

  9. Starship Pegasus

    Dang, I guess there’s somebody in FA that the Magic REALLY want. Otherwise this kind of return for Harris makes little sense longterm

  10. jakesaub

    Former Bucks everywhere

  11. sportsecon101

    Good trade for both teams. Payton was playing too many minutes were Mario and Gordon were not playing enough. Also creates great cap space.

  12. Where do I start on this one? Pistons without a doubt got the better end of the deal here. Tobias is younger (23 years old) and he fits Detroit’s athletic starting lineup better than Ersan. Adding Harris to the starting lineup of Jackson, KCP, Morris, and Drummond, along with Stanley Johnson coming off the bench, makes them young, athletic and dangerous now and in the future. Still, I’m surprised they gave up on Ersan already. If anything, I thought they would keep Ersan and have him come off the bench (though having Tolliver helps cover that, somewhat). Also, without Jennings, Pistons only have Steve Blake and Spencer Dinwiddie available to take over backup PG duty. Blake can still rack up assists and hit the occasional 3, but he can’t defend anyone, while the coaching staff just isn’t confident in Dinwiddie playing. Maybe they make another trade or sign someone else? Who knows. As for the Magic, I guess the only positives are that they clear cap space and free up more playing time for their other young wing players on cheaper deals ( Hezonja and Fournier are possibilities to start). Other than that, this deal doesn’t help Orlando in the short term and neither will Jennings nor Ilyasova be expected back in Orlando next season.

  13. victor

    is it just me or have the last 2 years just seemed kind of off, i mean teams chase these guys sign them to max deals big contracts and then not even a full year later be looking to trade them.. tobias harris,carmelo,monroe,stephenson,faried,teague…

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