Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
Sixers star Tobias Harris has a message for the Nets - and any other revamped team in the East with hopes of making a deep playoff run.
"We're for sure at the top in the East," Harris said Thursday at the NBPA/Five-Star Camp at Basketball City. "With that being said, it's the NBA. It's hard to win games in the NBA. We know it's going to take a lot of chemistry. It's going to take work from every single guy on the team. We have big goals for ourselves, our team, our organization. We're ready for it."
Harris, who signed a five-year, $180 million deal to stay in Philadelphia, re-joins a Sixers core of Ben Simmons and Joel Embiid. Philadelphia also added Al Horford and Josh Richardson.
"I feel like we got some really good guys and professionals. Our goal is to be at the top," Harris said. "If you ask me where do you think we rank and I told you at the bottom that would be (shakes his head). Our goal is to be at the top. That's where we want to be. That's what I'm going to say and that's what I believe."
The Sixers beat Brooklyn in the first round of the playoffs last season before losing to Toronto in the second round. Plenty has changed for both Brooklyn and Philly since that series. The Nets, of course, added Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, DeAndre Jordan, Garrett Temple, Wilson Chandler and David Nwaba in free agency. Philadelphia lost Jimmy Butler to Miami in a sign-and-trade that returned Richardson.
Harris likes what Brooklyn did this summer (the Nets, of course, may not have Durant on the court next season; he is recovering from an Achilles injury).
"It's great competition for us. I love the NBA," Harris said. "I love how it's balanced. I love how everyone wants to give their shot. I think the East - there's a lot of talk about the West - but I think the East is equally having a lot of great teams and players. I think it's going to be a great year of basketball and fun for fans to watch."
People around Harris saw the Nets as a potential fit in free agency. But Harris and his father Torrel, who is also his agent, quickly negotiated a near-max deal to stay in Philadelphia. It's unclear if the Knicks, who failed to land their top targets in Durant, Irving and Kawhi Leonard, had interest in Harris.
Here's Harris on his father Torrel, an agent and owner of Unique Sports Management, negotiating his contract: "It was awesome. He did a great job. A lot of people don't understand the background work that goes into it. A deal like this happens when you sign your last deal and the preparation and putting everything together. He did a lot of diligent work. A lot of diligent work on the 76ers and possibly other teams during free agency so we had our homework done. We knew going in what we wanted to accomplish. When you go into free agency it's like what and see what's presented. See how you feel and then go from there."
Harris, a Long Island native, on spending time at the NBPA/Five-Star camp at Basketball City: "I grew up playing in the city and around all this so I think it's just important for kids to know the progression and going to the camps that have the right tools to help you improve." Harris said he attended Five-Star camps when he was younger. "This was a camp that helped me improve a lot as a kid," said Harris, who spent time speaking with campers on Thursday. "I was telling my dad (as a young player) that I want to go to Five-Star because you can't make the NBA if you don't go to Five-Star."