Thunder Free Agency: Should OKC Pursue Tobias Harris?

The Philadelphia 76er could be on the way out this summer, potentially opening up the door for a pairing with the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Apr 22, 2024; New York, New York, USA;  Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (12) dribbles up court during the first half during game two of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports
Apr 22, 2024; New York, New York, USA; Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris (12) dribbles up court during the first half during game two of the first round for the 2024 NBA playoffs against the New York Knicks at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports / Vincent Carchietta-USA TODAY Sports

Tobias Harris' tenure with the Philadelphia 76ers has been rocky, to say the least.

With a lot of scrutiny for not living him up to his annual $30 million annual salary and constant role changes in the lineup, the 31-year-old never really got comfortable during his six seasons there, especially the last couple. Finally entering free agency for the first time since 2019, all signs are pointing towards him finding a new home.

If you're the Oklahoma City Thunder, signing Harris is certainly worth a look.

Although his production has started to dip in recent years, the veteran still had a solid campaign last season of 17.2 points, 6.5 rebounds and 1.3 assists on 48.7/35.3/87.8% shooting splits. He's an impactful offensive player that can score from about anywhere, while also making strides defensively to be respectable on that end.

Oklahoma City is looking to find a power forward or center that can fit well next to Chet Holmgren — which could bump Jalen Williams to the small forward position — and Harris fits that mold. His 6-foot-8, 226-pounds frame adds some size in the lineup that could use it, and he has the ability to help the rebounding issue that gave the Thunder problems last season.

The idea of pairing another center with Holmgren isn't a ridiculous one, but it might make more sense to let the 22-year-old continue to develop as the primary five instead of potentially crowding the paint. Harris wouldn't make him have to change his play style since he's a perimeter player, but he'd still make a significant impact on helping some of the Thunder's issues.

If Oklahoma City wants to add a bigger veteran presence this offseason on top of it, Harris would also be a perfect option to bring that. He's been in the league since 2011, making the playoffs every year during his time in Philadelphia and one year with the Detroit Pistons. That is a significant amount of playoff history to have, and it'd be useful in helping the vastly young talent that the Thunder has.

This season's playoffs weren't kind to the forward, however, only averaging nine points per game on weakened efficiency in six games. He could've been considered a near non-factor in the series, which played a part in Philadelphia's series loss to the New York Knicks. Oklahoma City would obviously want more out of him if it were to sign him, but his role might also be less significant.

Fortunately, there won't be any worry to have about overpaying Harris this time around. Although the range of $20-25 million should be expected to convince him to sign, it won't be anything near the contract he received previously. It could also be on a shorter-term deal to provide cap flexibility for the Thunder, but still enough to keep him around for awhile.

So many options will be at Oklahoma City's disposal this offseason. It has over $30 million to work with in making the necessary improvements to remain as a legitimate championship contender, but it has to be diligent with the moves it makes. Harris is a top option in the upcoming free agent market, so adding his services to its roster would be a big move.

But a big move that could pay off, too.


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Chase Gemes

CHASE GEMES

Chase is a sophomore at the University of Missouri - Columbia studying journalism. He is sports editor for Mizzou’s student newspaper, The Maneater.