Knicks Discussed Acquiring Tobias Harris

The Knicks pondered the possibility of pursuing Sixers forward Tobias Harris in a trade prior to their recent winning streak, Ian Begley of SNY TV reports (video link).

Harris’ name has been bandied about on the rumor mill for quite awhile and The Athletic reported last month that the Sixers were gauging interest in the veteran forward. It appears that the Knicks had some interest and could continue to look at Harris, depending upon how the next few weeks play out.

Harris had eight points, six rebounds and two assists in Philadelphia’s 119-112 win over the Knicks on Sunday as New York lost its third straight after an eight-game winning streak.

“The Knicks, at least internally, talked about the idea of acquiring Tobias Harris via trade before their winning streak started,” Begley said. “… Tom Thibodeau spoke highly of Harris before the game. That’s just one name to keep an eye on.”

With the Sixers’ addition of James Harden and the emergence of Tyrese Maxey last season, Harris’ numbers dropped somewhat last season. He averaged 17.2 points per game, compared to 19.5 PPG the previous season. This season, Harris is averaging 17.0 points, 6.3 rebounds and 2.8 assists.

Harris is highly respected around the league for his professionalism, but his salary makes him difficult to trade. He’s making $37.6MM this season and $39.3MM in 2023/24, the final year of his contract.

“I know that he does have some fans in the organization,” Begley said. “He’s making a lot of money. It would be a big trade to pull off salary-wise but it’s at least something the Knicks kicked around internally prior to this winning streak.”

Philadelphia, naturally, has championship aspirations, so it’s difficult to gauge what it would hope to get for Harris and still remain in the hunt for an Eastern Conference title. The Knicks would love to move Evan Fournier, who’s making $18MM in the second year of a four-year contract that includes a team option in the final year.

Derrick Rose, also out of the Knicks’ rotation, is earning $14.5MM this season with a team option on next year’s salary. Cam Reddish has an expiring $5.9MM deal. But the Sixers would also likely want a younger, cheaper player who could take Harris’ spot, such as Obi Toppin ($5.3MM), to help them this season. Toppin is currently sidelined by a leg injury.

Harden is reportedly considering a reunion with the Rockets in free agency next summer.

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