NBA rumors: Knicks had internal discussions about potential Tobias Harris trade, per report

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The New York Knicks are linked to just about every big-name player that hits the trade market. Their goal is apparently to pool all of their draft assets and young players to land two superstars and begin competing for championships. Through that context, it’s a bit odd that, according to SNY’s Ian Begley, “The Knicks have talked internally about the idea of ​​acquiring Tobias Harris via trade before their winning streak started.”

Harris, a 76ers forward, is certainly paid like a superstar. He’s in the fourth year of a five-year max contract that Philadelphia has been unable to move. He is by no means an albatross, but his numbers hardly warrant a deal of that magnitude. He is averaging 16.7 points per game this season, roughly half of the 33.1 teammate Joel Embiid is putting up despite making less money than Harris. No matter how valuable Harris is on the court, he simply hasn’t lived up to the contract he signed in 2019.

There are some teams that might be able to overlook that. In fact, bad contracts are a sort of market inefficiency. Both Al Horford and Andrew Wiggins were regarded as overpaid before landing with their current teams. They wound up being key players on Finals opponents last season. It’s often worth while to take on a bad contract if it’s attached to the right player.

But the problem for the Knicks is that Harris plays a position in which they are already set. Harris is a shoot-first combo forward. The Knicks have Julius Randle and RJ Barrett. Harris would likely have to come off the bench to play with them unless one of them was in the deal. That seems unlikely, as the Knicks hesitated to offer Barrett in packages for Donovan Mitchell, and Randle’s contract is longer and more onerous than Harris’.

The Knicks could offer Evan Fournier and Derrick Rose as matching salary, but neither really fits in with a 76ers team that would probably prefer a forward like Harris in that salary slot with James Harden, Tyrese Maxey, De’Anthony Melton, Shake Milton and Matisse Thybulle already at guard. If those contracts were expiring Philadelphia might consider such a move, but they’d be paying Fournier next year as well, so the financial value of a swap is fairly limited as well.

New York’s recent winning streak may have changed its mind on a pursuit of Harris. Right now, the Knicks are playing well enough to be picky about trade targets. But at no point this season did Harris make much sense for them. Just file this under rumors that don’t make much sense.

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