Gary Harris has elected to remain with the Orlando Magic for two more seasons for $26 million, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Harris joined the team in 2021 when he was traded from the Denver Nuggets for Aaron Gordon. The Magic entered a rebuild during that trading window, moving on from all the players that were playoff regulars with the Magic like Gordon, Nikola Vucevic, and Evan Fournier.
Harris was coming off a Western Conference Finals appearance with the Nuggets. However, he was not living up to the value of the $84 million extension that the Nuggets gave him in 2017, so the Nuggets moved him to add front-court depth to abate the loss of Jerami Grant.
Harris was expected to be a trade and buyout candidate last season but stuck through the rebuild in Orlando as one of the veterans to the young guards like Jalen Suggs and Cole Anthony. He will continue in that role on the rebuilding team for the next two seasons.
Harris going back to the Magic could just be an indication of the market. Contending teams are limited on cap space and can offer one mid-level exception. Players for that price range are usually veterans looking to accept pay cuts and be on a contending team. Harris has forgone the pay cut and taken a larger salary to stay on with Orlando.
The addition of Paolo Banchero, a veteran that has been in the league for years may be a good thing to have on the roster. Players like Jonathan Isaac haven't played in years so calling them veterans may be a little disingenuous.
The Magic recognize the value that Harris provides them and had the open cap room. It's not a long contract, so the magic can always re-sign Harris to a more team-friendly deal or use him as a trade asset when the time comes.