The Phil Jackson factor is proving to be a real and potentially game-changing factor for the New York Knicks.
Orlando Magic emerging young star Tobias Harris recently turned down a contract extension from the team and is set to become a restricted free-agent this summer, all apparently with an eye toward perhaps joining Jackson and the Knicks.
The New York Post reported the Magic second-leading scorer, who went to high school in nearby Long Island, “has a lot of interest” in his hometown team. The 22-year-old Harris is averaging 17 points and eight rebounds over the Magic’s first eight games this season.
As a restricted free-agent, the Magic would have the option of matching any offer extended to Harris and reportedly have already offered him a deal in the neighborhood of four seasons and $36 million.
Harris and the Magic visit the Knicks on Wednesday and the fifth-year sharp-shooter is expected to have no shortage of well-wishers among The Garden crowd cheering him on.
Given their salary cap space, the Knicks are expected to be major players in 2015 summer free agency. The team is also rumored to be targeting Memphis Grizzlies veteran center Marc Gasol.
Over his career, Harris averaged 11.1 points and 5.3 rebounds on nearly 45 percent shooting. A seven-year veteran, all of them with the Grizzlies, the 29-year-old Gasol has averaged 13.5 points and 7.9 rebounds. His best full season came in 2011-12, when he averaged 14.6 point, .9 rebounds and 3.1 assists.[Photo Credit: Keith Allison]