David Aldridge of NBA.com just quietly dropped a kind-of-bomb on Twitter, revealing that Clippers’ forward Tobias Harris has turned down an $80 million extension from the team (presumably for four years). He does, however, say that the discussions are amicable, and ongoing.
This is not a surprise at all. The Clippers love Tobias Harris— he’s very good, and he’s still young enough that he will be in his prime for the entirety of his next major deal. While he can’t be the top player on a contending team, he could definitely be the second option, and those players don’t come around every day. Add to that his solid defense, improving playmaking, and awesome personality/character, and there’s no wonder why the Clips want to retain him.
For Tobias, however, turning down the extension was probably an easy choice. While that’s a lot of guaranteed money to pass on, Tobias is betting on himself, and it’s a smart bet. If he stays healthy and his 2018-2019 season is as good or better than that he just had last year, he’s going to get a contract quite a bit larger than $80 million.
He probably won’t get the max (which, as David reported in his tweet, is well over $30 million per year), but it’s not hard to see him landing a 4/110 deal from a team who wants to make the leap to contender. He will be an unrestricted free agent next summer, and over half the league will have a lot of cap space to blow. One of those teams will pay him big, big money.
Even though Tobias turned the offer down, it’s still a positive sign that the two sides are negotiating, and things are friendly. If he has another standout season in 2018-2019, it would seem likely that the Clippers put forth maximum effort to retain him next summer.
Clippers forward @tobias31 turns down $80 million extension offer from team, per sources. Amicable discussions. But he’ll play out final year of his current deal and be UFA next summer, when he’d be eligible for 5 yrs/$188M max from Clips or 4/$145.5 elsewhere.
— David Aldridge (@daldridgetnt) July 22, 2018