Yeah, really puzzling move. Guy gets his first shot at continuity on a team, but decides to risk it. He's definitely an efficient and prolific scorer, but he is little else
He should have taken the extension. I doubt he'll get much more than that next offseason and there's always the risk of injury.
Clippers forward @tobias31 turns down $80 million extension offer from team, per sources. Amicable discussions. But he’ll play out final year of his current deal and be UFA next summer, when he’d be eligible for 5 yrs/$188M max from Clips or 4/$145.5 elsewhere.
He’s not getting the max, but I can see why he’s want to play free agency.
The Clippers traded Griffin six months after extending him. Harris signing an extension is no guarantee of team continuity.
I was playing with the Hawks roster on shamsports and ended up signing Harris to a max in the summer of 2019. The Hawks have young guys at guard/creator (Young), wing (Prince), and big (Collins), but they don't have a reliable scoring combo forward.
They have a ton of cap space next summer and no real need to use it until Collins/Prince/Young get off their rookie contracts. They have room to resign Dorsey and/or Anderson to small contracts, resign Dedmon to a similar contract he has right now (although he might want to move to a contender), and still offer Harris the max. Then, assuming they renounce Plumlee and Bazemore the following year, they could have near-max space again in 2020. If they strike out in 2020, they could just resign Prince.
Besides, they aren't going to convince the elite guys to join their team. Harris is the perfect second tier fringe all-star compliment to their young core. It's definitely an overpay in a vacuum, but they will need to overpay to get someone to come anyway and it's a position of need. Harris stretches the floor for Young/Collins pick-and-roll, which would seriously help their development.
If Young turns into a Lillard-lite and Collins develops a repore in the pick-and-roll with him, that team could be a really interesting versatile team -- not a contender, but success comes in gradations. If they could generate excitement from their fanbase with some high flying/high scoring games, it could put Atlanta back on the map.