Tobias Harris made a huge impression on the Los Angeles Clippers last season after they acquired him in the trade that sent Blake Griffin to the Detroit Pistons.
This led to the team offering him an $80 million contract extension this summer – an offer he turned down.
Harris believes he can earn a lot more money as an unrestricted free agent next year and is taking a gamble on himself.
He’ll be one of the focal points for the Clippers next season and head coach Doc Rivers is certainly expecting big things from him.
As reported by Jay King of The Athletic, Rivers is predicting that Harris will have a breakout campaign.
He saw enough from the 26-year-old in just 32 games to make this bold proclamation.
Harris averaged 19.3 points, six rebounds, 3.1 assists, and 1.2 steals per game in Los Angeles and is starting to hit the prime of his career.
After just a few games with the franchise, Rivers admitted he was surprised by just how good the small forward was.
“He’s better than I thought … we knew he was good, but didn’t know he was this good,” he said earlier this year, per ESPN’s Royce Young.
Harris is a versatile player who has developed into a reliable scorer. He’s comfortable driving to the basket or hitting shots from beyond the arc.
Heading into free agency in 2019, it won’t be a huge surprise if he proves his coach right and has a breakout season.
Betting on himself
He’ll have no choice but to prove himself after rejecting the big offer from the Clippers but he’s confident he can play well enough to attract more lucrative deals.
“Receiving that offer was a huge accomplishment, and I was extremely grateful,” he told theScore after participating in a Team USA minicamp in Las Vegas last month.
“But with that being said, I’ve always stuck to proving myself as a player and proving my value.
“Whatever that number is at the end of next season, that’s where it’s at, but I’m gonna go out on the court and earn my value.”
With L.A. moving on from their big three of Griffin, Chris Paul and DeAndre Jordan, Harris will be expected to contribute significantly.
He’ll be one of the team’s main offensive weapons along with Lou Williams and it should afford him a great opportunity to prove he’s worth a max contract.
CLICK HERE to listen to Episode Two of the new GiveMeSport NBA podcast, featuring New York Times senior writer Marc Stein. Subscribe for all future episodes.