It’s easy to see why Denver sees Gary Harris as part of its future. He plays well off Nikola Jokic, he can space the floor on offense and shot 42 percent from three, he averaged an impressive 1.2 points per possession on spot-up attempts, he’s dangerous in transition, and he is a good defender as well. All at age 23.
The question is how much are they willing to pay him (knowing they soon have to pay Jokic the max)? The tw0 sides seem to be finding a number, reports our old friend Matt Moore of CBS Sports.
For fun, I would speculate that number to be in the $16 million to $18 million a year range, so four-years, $64 million to $72 million. We will see where the number lands, but for both sides a deal makes sense.
For Denver, it locks up a key part of their core along with Jokic and, for the next few years, Paul Millsap (maybe Jamal Murray can be part of that core, too, if he takes a step forward). With those two bigs the Nuggets need shooters, plus Harris can defend.
For Harris, he gets security with an organization where he is comfortable. He could come back next season without this deal and be a restricted free agent next July, but that comes with risks — it’s going to be a tight market next summer where non-superstars may not make what they think, and two-guard “3&D” guys like Danny Green, Avery Bradley, and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope will all be on the market as unrestricted free agents. Harris, despite his value, may not be able to find an offer this good next summer.
The Nuggets are going to be sneaky good this season, with their record tied to how much they improve their defense. Of course, in the ridiculous West sneaky good still means they need to be healthy just to ensure they make the postseason.