One team that should express interest in Harris should they miss out on Kawhi Leonard, according to league sources: The Clippers.
Harris will have plenty of suitors – including Philadelphia, which can offer him a five-year contract for a projected max of $190 million. (His projected max with another team is $141 million over four years.)
But the Clippers would be the spiciest option.
L.A. got a haul for Harris – Landry Shamet and two first-round picks, including the Heat’s unprotected 2021 first-rounder (which has huge upside). Imagine the Clippers keeping all that and still getting back Harris.
They could even chase Leonard again next summer if he signs a 1+1 contract with Toronto. If they don’t sign any another free agents to multi-year deals, the Clippers could give Harris the max and still projected to have enough cap space to max out Leonard in 2020. And keep Lou Williams at his partially guaranteed $8 million salary. And keep Montrezl Harrell‘s Bird Rights. And have about $7 million left over.
Even if Leonard re-signs on a 2+1 to reach 10 years of service and a higher max-salary tier in 2021, the Clippers have nobody on the books for that year other than rookie-scale players. Harris’ salary would not encumber L.A.
There’s no indication the Clippers and Harris soured on each other. The Clippers just preferred Leonard, got a strong offer from the 76ers and knew Harris might not wait out Leonard’s decision just to be a fallback in L.A.
But with those Philadelphia assets already banked, if Leonard stays in Toronto, the Clippers could turn back to Harris.
For Harris, it might matter whether Philadelphia offers the larger max. But among all his outside options, he at least already knows he fits well in L.A.