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2024 NBA Free Agency: Familiar Face Linked to Pistons

Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris, a potential offseason target for the Detroit Pistons in 2024 NBA Free Agency

The Detroit Pistons will have money to blow this offseason.

In fact, the Pistons are projected to have a league-high $60.5 million in cap space. With that much money, Detroit can entice a star free agent like 3-and-D stud OG Anunoby to sign.

Indeed, Anunoby should be among their top offseason targets heading into free agency. A defensive menace with a 3-point marksman at 26 years old, he’s exactly the type of wingman that face of the franchise Cade Cunningham needs beside him. The Pistons will have to outbid the New York Knicks (and others) for him but, if they can, they should.

Tobias Harris Linked to Pistons Ahead of Free Agency

Per The Inquirer’s Keith Pompey, Philadelphia 76ers forward Tobias Harris could also head to Detroit in free agency.

“Several NBA executives believe there’s a chance he’ll land with the Detroit Pistons in free agency,” Pompey writes. However, the columnist cautions that “there are several other teams interested in the 13th-year veteran.”

Harris played a total of 157 games for the Pistons between 2015-16 and 2017-18. Traded by the Orlando Magic in his fifth season, Harris landed in Detroit when the Pistons were ready to move on from the streaky but skilled Brandon Jennings.

Jennings, the 10th overall pick in the 2009 NBA Draft, had spent two-plus seasons in Detroit. Acquired by the Pistons in the deal that landed the Milwaukee Bucks eventual mainstay Khris Middleton, Jennings averaged 15.5 points, 7.3 assists, and 1.2 steals per game in his first two seasons in Detroit. Though he had seven games of 30 or more points in that stretch, it was hard to overlook his field goal percentage (.382).

With Harris, the Pistons not only gained size but efficiency.

In his time with Detroit, Harris shot 47.0 percent from the field and 37.6 percent from 3 while averaging 16.8 points per game. One of the better tertiary scorers, Harris has made a living off of being a sound third option.

Indeed, though criticized for his lack of assertiveness, it takes pressure off a coaching staff and his teammates when they know he can deliver at least 15 points consistently and efficiently. Taking advantage of soft spots in the defense or size mismatches, Harris simply lets the game come to him.

Harris is also a multipositional defender at 6-foot-8 and 226 pounds. He’s not a lockdown defender by any means. However, he has the size and lateral agility necessary to guard along the perimeter.

A Simple Fit?

With the Pistons, Harris can play within multiple frontcourt configurations. That’s beneficial to Detroit because it’s impossible to presume who will be on the team by the next trade deadline, let alone who’ll start. As of now, 2023 No. 5 pick Ausar Thompson and 2022 No. 13 pick Jalen Duren are penciled in as starters.

Between Thompson and Duren, two non-shooters, Harris is an off-ball threat that stretches the floor. When Cunningham, Thompson, Duren, or Jaden Ivey head towards the rim with a head of steam, he’s a relief valve.

There could be a problem with positional overlap though.

Four-year pro Isaiah Stewart has been used as a hybrid big more than a combo forward. From that standpoint, there’s enough differentiation between he and Harris to ensure they won’t completely step on each other’s toes. Furthermore, Harris is more effective on post-up and more reliable from beyond the arc.

However, both players are largely used as 3-point specialists. When factoring in Simone Fontecchio, the situation becomes even more dicey, especially as Thompson’s defense makes it hard to force him off the floor. As a result, while Harris should be a simple fit, he may not be.

Before determining how much they need Harris, the Pistons should first find out if they’re re-signing Fontecchio. If not, Harris could be a key offseason addition. With that said, Fontecchio shined in Detroit, averaging 15.4 points per game while shooting 42.6 percent from 3.

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