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Joe Harris ‘definitely’ wants to play with Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, if the money is right

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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.

Marcus Smart announces he recovered, cleared of coronavirus

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Marcus Smart stepped forward and self-identified as having tested positive for the coronavirus. He wasn’t showing any symptoms and went into self-quarantine, and last we heard was doing well.

Sunday, Smart said that two days ago he was cleared and has fully recovered from the virus.

Most importantly, this is excellent news for Smart and his friends and family (and, by extension, the Celtics). His health is the most important thing in this story.

The NBA has asked recovered players to donate plasma because scientists are hoping to use the blood — which has developed immunities — to help create a vaccine or medicine to slow COVID-19. It’s optional, but the league is encouraging players to help.

There have been 10 players and five NBA off-court staff — including Knicks owner James Dolan — who have tested positive for the disease. Fortunately, none of them have shown any advanced symptoms that required hospitalization.

Arizona’s Zeke Nnaji, DePaul’s Paul Reed declare for NBA draft

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Nobody knows when the NBA Draft is going to take place — like everything with the NBA calendar, it is up in the air — but for college players whose season has ended now is the time to declare and throw their hats in the ring.

Two possible draftees did that Saturday.

Arizona center Zeke Nnaji was one.

The 6’11” Nnaji averaged 16.1 points per game on 57 percent shooting, plus grabbed 8.6 rebounds a game his freshman season at Arizona. In a good sign, he shot 76% from the free throw line, meaning he should be able to space the floor and hit midrangers (and maybe someday threes). He brings a lot of energy to the court, but is considered raw still on both ends of the floor and not an elite defender.

Nnaji is a bubble first-round pick.

The other player coming out is DePaul forward Paul Reed.

A projected first-rounder is a generous description by Charania, Reed is seen more as a second-round pick (and without a Draft Combine or workouts with teams it will be difficult to move up). He’s a 6’9″ power forward who averaged 15.1 points and 10.7 rebounds a game this season. Reed shot the three well as a sophomore (40 percent) but regressed this past season. He’s athletic but needs to get stronger, and he needs to be able to fit into a role at the NBA level to last.

That said, he will likely get a chance somewhere to prove he belongs.

Knicks owner James Dolan tests positive for coronavirus

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The good news is he remains healthy and shows few symptoms.

Knicks owner James Dolan has tested positive for the coronavirus, the team has announced.

Dolan, 64, lives in New York, which has become the epicenter of COVID-19 cases in the United States. New York State alone has more than 52,000 cases and more than 700 deaths tied to the coronavirus.

Earlier in the day on Saturday, the Dolan Family Foundation announced it would donate $1 million to Madison Square Garden’s event staff who have not been able to work because the coronavirus has shut down events at MSG.

There have been 10 current NBA players and four members of team support staff that have tested positive for the coronavirus. Dolan is the first owner to test positive.

Our thoughts are with him and his family and hopefully he can stay healthy through this.

Steve Ballmer: Clippers will now lose at least $10 million this year

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Considering a $131 million payroll and focus on winning it all this season, we’ll never know if the Clippers projected to be a profitable team this season.

However, start a season with the NBA’s controversy with China and suspend it near the end with the coronavirus, and the Clippers are going to take a big hit.

At least $10 million this year, and maybe much more, is what Clippers owner Steve Ballmer told Bloomberg News (hat tip Sports Illustrated).

“It’ll be eight digits,” he said. “Now you’ve got to start with what we were either going to make or lose before the season started, but net, it’ll certainly be an eight-digit loss for us…

“We’re being diligent about continuing to pay our employees,” he said. “We’re trying to take care of our smaller vendors. We had a t-shirt vendor we had $100,000 committed to for playoff t-shirts. I think it’s important that we pay that money, put it down now, and see what can happen over time since we are in a better position.”

There should be a few notes of context here. First, Ballmer is worth an estimated $50 billion, he is not going to go hungry because of this.

Next (and this is the biggie), the year-over-year losses or profits for a team do not take into account the rising value of the franchise — which has spiked even after Ballmer bought the Clippers for a then-record $2 billion. Forbes estimates the Clippers are currently worth $2.6 billion, which means the Clippers have gained at least $600 million in value in the five years Ballmer has owned the team. Even if the Clippers lost $10 million every year that’s still a massive profit when he sells.

Still, losing $10 million or more is a lot of money.

What Ballmer is talking about is amplified across the NBA and a lot of teams — ones in smaller markets with owners whose pockets are not as deep — are taking big hits, too. It’s the same for the owners of a lot of businesses right now, the coronavirus has taken a real toll on the potential profits and hit the business model hard. It’s also taking a toll on people who work at arenas, and restaurants and bars near arenas, and many other businesses tied to the NBA as well.

Ballmer and his wife Connie have tried to help by donating $25 million to COVID-19 causes.