Would a trade for Magic’s Tobias Harris help Raptors beat LeBron?
Orlando’s Tobias Harris is the latest to hear his name at the center of trade rumors around the NBA. Could Toronto be the best fit for the impressive young forward?
Monday morning trade scuttle: Orlando isn't outright shopping Tobias Harris, but word is the Magic aren't discouraging offers for him either
— Marc Stein (@ESPNSteinLine) February 8, 2016
The Magic are reportedly not "shopping" Harris, despite recent rumors. Orlando, however, isn’t "discouraging" offers for the 23-year-old forward, via ESPN’s Marc Stein. This likely means Harris is available at the right price. Harris, who signed a four-year, $64 million deal over the offseason, has an attractive contract for potential suitors. Magic GM Rob Hennigan recently spoke about upcoming negotiations, via the Orlando Sentinel:
“We'll be very active in our discussions. It's our job to constantly search for ways to improve the team. It doesn't mean that those discussions will necessarily lead to action.
We're in a position where a lot of teams like our players, and so we'll certainly have options”
One team that could have interest in Harris is the Raptors, currently the second-best team in the Eastern Conference. While the Raptors have not officially been linked to Harris, the two teams could be a perfect match considering Harris has a bit more to offer than current targets including Markieff Morris and Kenneth Faried.
Toronto, with two players on the Eastern Conference All-Star roster, is in "win now mode" — just two games back of Cleveland for the best record in the East.
.@WindhorstESPN: "From what I'm hearing, the Raptors have been aggressive on the trade front."
— TSN 1050 Toronto (@TSN1050Radio) February 5, 2016
Orlando, meanwhile, is currently four games back of the eighth seed to make the Eastern Conference playoffs. The Magic were 2-15 in their last seven games before defeating Atlanta on Sunday. They’re one of the youngest teams in the NBA, with an average age of 23.8 years old. More likely than not, a change is coming soon in Orlando.
Harris has not been as effective as a scorer this year as he was in previous seasons. He’s averaging 13.7 points per game (last year: 17.1 PPG) with a drop from last year’s .364% three-point percentage to .311% this season. But he’s improved his rebounding (6.3 per game last year to 7.0 per game this season) and assist rate (1.8 per game compared to 2.0 per game) this year, still showing value.
Put it this way: if you’re a team with cap space this summer, you’d take Tobias Harris for 3 years/$48 million in a heartbeat.
— Mike Prada (@MikePradaSBN) February 8, 2016
Without Harris, Orlando could focus more attention to develop sophomore Aaron Gordon. The Magic could also fill his role with more minutes for Evan Fournier and Mario Hezonja at the three and veterans Channing Frye and Jason Smith at the four.
Meanwhile, Toronto has a surplus of first-round picks with four over the next two seasons. The Raptors will reportedly look to trade one or more of the selections for more immediate value (e.g. Tobias Harris) to make a run at defeating LeBron James and the Cavaliers to win the Eastern Conference. Harris wouldn’t help much on defense, but could add a necessary spark on offense.
Toronto would likely move some combination of the draft picks as well as either Patrick Patterson, James Johnson or even DeMarre Carroll to match up salaries with Orlando.
Bryan Kalbrosky produces digital content for FOXSports.com. For more, follow him on Twitter @BryanKalbrosky.