Joe Harris is one of the best three-point marksmen in the game. He moves well off the ball to find space and shot 41.2 percent from three so far this season on nearly six attempts a game — his third straight season shooting better than 40 percent from beyond the arc.
On a team with guys who can drive like Kyrie Irving, Kevin Durant, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Caris LeVert, having a dangerous floor spacer matters. A lot.
Harris will be an unrestricted free agent this offseason — whenever that takes place — and the Nets want to keep him, but his skills will be in demand. When asked by Brian Lewis of the New York Post, Harris said of course he would want to stay and play with guys like Irving and Durant.
“Yeah, definitely! Why wouldn’t you?” Harris asked rhetorically before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
“Obviously those are guys who I’ve gotten close with now that I’ve been with them this past year. They’re obviously incredible players. You see what they’re able to do when they are healthy and are playing. I don’t see that there’s anybody in the NBA who wouldn’t want to play with those guys.”
The question isn’t desire, it’s money.
Harris is going to have a lot of interest on the free agent market — every team could use more shooting. Harris is making $7.7 million this season and his annual salary is about to double or more.
The Nets are already committed to almost $133 million in salary next season without Harris and they have a number of roster spots to fill out yet (plus Irving wants them to make moves to bolster the roster). Add to that the uncertainty of a salary cap number that could shrink next season in the wake of the coronavirus and it all poses challenges for the Nets. Brooklyn has Bird Rights on Harris and can go over the cap to re-sign him, the question is how much is new owner Joseph Tsai willing to go into the luxury tax next season?
Harris said exactly the right things about playing with Irving and Durant, and no doubt he means it.
He also wants to get paid. Money talks and the Nets have to decide how much they are willing to keep a great fit but a complementary player.