MILWAUKEE — One year ago today, forward Tobias Harris was a member of the Milwaukee Bucks who was struggling to earn consistent playing time.
He had no inkling he was about to become a member of the Orlando Magic.
On Feb. 21, 2013, just minutes before that season's trade deadline expired, the Bucks traded Harris, Doron Lamb and Beno Udrih to the Magic for J.J. Redick, Gustavo Ayón and Ish Smith.
"It was an eye-opener for me as a player," Harris said Tuesday. "You get to really realize the NBA is a business in itself and it showed me that this league is a lot about confidence in yourself. You can never get down in any kind of type of situation.
"When I got traded from here to begin with, obviously, I was a little discouraged just because I was here in Milwaukee. But one of the first persons who called me was Dale Ellis, who played here. He was just telling me, 'Don't ever think that just because they traded you, that doesn't mean they don't think you can play.' He told me, 'You can play in this league for a long time, so when you get to Orlando, really have that type of confidence.'"
On Tuesday, on almost the one-year anniversary of the trade and with this season's NBA trade deadline looming, Harris was in the Magic's starting lineup against the Bucks at Bradley Center.
Harris scored 16 points and gathered nine rebounds in the Magic's 104-100 loss.
Harris sat out almost the entire first month and a half of this season because of a high ankle sprain in his left leg, and he entered Tuesday's matchup against his former team averaging 13.7 points and 7.5 rebounds per game.
Harris began the game at small forward. The Magic began this season intent on seeing how Harris would fare defending opposing wings.
"We've challenged him defensively to get better and [show] the same focus on both ends of the floor," Magic coach Jacque Vaughn said.
Last year's trade felt like a jolt to Harris.
It prompted him to improve his energy during games.
"That comes from me being in Milwaukee and not playing and getting traded and seeing that the NBA can go by so fast," Harris said, snapping his fingers. "So, each and every game, I never take a game for granted."
The Magic had won three of their four games going into the All-Star break, but all four of those games were within Amway Center's friendly confines.
After Tuesday's loss, the Magic are now 3-24 on the road.
"You can take care of the small things that can add up," Vaughn said when asked how the team will try to improve on the road.
"There's a momentum for home teams. So when you do those things early, that can have an effect on the rest of the game."
Back from a break
Reserve power forward Andrew Nicholson spent his All-Star break in New Orleans, the site of All-Star Weekend. Nicholson went to New Orleans primarily to attend the meeting of the players' union, but he also attended Saturday night's events, watching teammates Victor Oladipo and Arron Afflalo.
Afflalo is the Magic's representative to the union, but Nicholson attended last year's meeting in J.J. Redick's place and found the meeting interesting.
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