Brooklyn Nets: Sean Marks keeps promise, signs Joe Harris to massive deal

Brooklyn Nets, Joe Harris

Brooklyn Nets general manager Sean Marks made true to his promise that Joe Harris is their number one priority.

The Nets re-signed Harris to a lucrative four-year, $75 million deal, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.

Harris’ rise from a castoff to one of the league’s finest shooters has been one of the biggest reasons the Nets were able to lure superstars Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving to sign in 2019.

Harris, the 2019 NBA three-point contest champion, is coming off a career season where he averaged 14.5 points while shooting 42.4 percent beyond the arc.

Harris’ massive deal has pushed the Nets’ luxury tax bill to $47.5 million.

The Nets now have 13 players under contract, including new acquisitions Landry Shamet (from Los Angeles Clippers) and Bruce Brown (from Detroit Pistons).

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Will the Knicks hit or miss on Nets’ unrestricted free agent Joe Harris?

Brooklyn Nets, Joe Harris

The Brooklyn Nets and their unrestricted free agent Joe Harris have both maintained they want to stay together.

Sean Marks has openly said that Harris will be the Nets’ No.1 priority in the offseason. Harris has also maintained since February that he intends to re-sign with the Nets and play alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving. 

“Definitely, why wouldn’t you? Obviously, those are guys who I’ve gotten close with now that I’ve been with them this past year,” Harris said. “They’re obviously incredible players. You see what they’re able to do when they are healthy and playing. I don’t think there’s anybody in the NBA who wouldn’t want to play with those guys.”

But it’s easier said than done.

The Nets, as ESPN’s Zach Lowe recently said in his podcast The Lowe Post, will face stiff competition to retain Harris.

“I have news for the Nets,” Lowe said. “They’re going to have competition for Joe Harris. These teams with cap room all view Joe as a potential very good fit on the floor and a good culture guy.”

Their stiffest competition could come, according to multiple sources, across the river, the New York Knicks.

“Obviously, he’s someone who can spread the floor for RJ (Barrett) and Mitch (Robinson). But he’s so much more than just a spot-up shooter. His locker room presence will be tremendous for the culture they’re building there,” one league source told Empire Sports Media.

An Eastern Conference league executive also believes Harris will definitely command a big contract but he doesn’t see him bolting out of Brooklyn.

“He’s entering the prime years of his career. He will definitely be one of the top free agents at a time when there are no superstars in the market,” the executive told Empire Sports Media.

“But the Nets ownership has been open about their willingness to pay the luxury tax. They have their championship window in front of them. I don’t think they will let him walk,” he added.

Former Nets assistant general manager and current ESPN’s Front Office Insider Bobby Marks said that Harris would command a substantial offer from teams with cap space. He recently broke down the Harris free agency scenario with the Nets:

“Brooklyn would have only the $5.7 million tax midlevel if Harris does not return. They would also lose a possible future trade asset that cannot be replaced. Harris has already established Bird rights with Brooklyn, meaning that the Nets can pay him up to 30% of the cap (which is very unlikely) and an additional five years.

If the luxury tax comes in at $132.7 million, the Nets would start the offseason $9.9 million over the threshold and with a $15.9 million penalty. A Harris contract starting at $12 million would push the Nets’ tax bill to $49.9 million — a combined $46 million in 2020-21 to retain the 28-year-old.”

In the 2018-19 season, the Thunder paid the highest luxury tax at $61.6 million while the Golden State Warriors were second at $51.5 million. The last time the Nets were over the limit was in the 2014-15 season when they paid $20 million in luxury tax.

The Nets will return to that list of tax paying teams next season in their hopes to retain their core.

They will likely face a bidding war with the Knicks or even the Atlanta Hawks for Harris’ services. Both the Knicks and the Hawks are in rebuilding mode and armed with cap space.

Harris checks all the boxes that the Knicks are looking for.

The former three-point champion was once a reclamation project just like what the Knicks have in their current youngsters. His four-year stay with the Nets and the culture built by GM Sean Marks and their former coach Kenny Atkinson transformed him from a forgotten man into one of the elite role players in the league.

Harris has become a solid three-point threat — 38.5%, 41.9%, 47.4%, and 42.1% in each of his past four seasons with the Nets — and so much more that led to his inclusion in the last Team USA.

New Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau spoke about defense, ball movement, efficiency, and three-point shots as the staples that he wants to inject into the team’s DNA.

Harris definitely fits that profile.

The 29-year sharpshooter could come in and show the way for the younger Knicks players how to become a playoff team.

His defensive win share has steadily increased from 0.2 in his rookie year to 1.8 last season. The stocky guard has shown his willingness to play defense and offers a lot of intangibles more than just his outside shooting. His ability to drive to the basket has become the most underrated part of his game. This past season, Harris made half (50.2 percent) of his 6.5 drives per game.

The Knicks can free up to as much as $50 million in cap space this offseason. And with no marquee stars in the NBA free agency, Harris will be up there along with Toronto Raptors’ Fred Van Vleet and Miami Heat’s Goran Dragic on top of the free-agent list among guards.

This is an opportunity for Harris to leverage his position and earn what could be the biggest contract in his career.

Harris’ agent Mark Bartelstein has negotiated Joe Ingles’ four-year $52-million deal in 2017 and a $14 million one-year extension last year to stay with the Utah Jazz. They could be looking for a similar type of contract with the Nets.

The Knicks could dangle more money and a chance to be a catalyst for the franchise’s turnaround. But the Nets’ likely cheaper offer comes with an immediate shot to contend for a ring with Durant and Irving.

Those options will be there for Harris.

Which will he choose?

Brooklyn Nets: Joe Harris Making the Most of His Team USA Experience

Brooklyn Nets, Joe Harris

Team USA might be lacking in big-name stars for the FIBA World Cup, but players like Brooklyn NetsJoe Harris is making the most of his opportunity in China. His experience overseas will pay dividends to come next season.

It’s not an understatement to say that this current Team USA squad battling for the gold medal in China is the most vulnerable roster in recent years. The group might lack superstar names, but it has allowed others an opportunity to make the most of. Among them is Brooklyn Nets’ sharpshooter Joe Harris.

The reigning three-point champion is heading into the final year of his contract, and the hope is that Harris and the Nets both have mutual feelings that he is a vital part of their long-term future. With the acquisitions of Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving, and DeAndre Jordan among others, Brooklyn’s championship window has never been wider.

Harris averaged 13.7 points on a stellar 47% shooting from beyond the arc last season, attempting around five threes per game (ProBasketballReference). He’ll need to have another strong season in 2019 to secure a long-term deal to stay in Brooklyn. Good news is that he’s getting the best practice overseas, competing for Team USA.

Getting Buckets Overseas

Team USA scraped by in an overtime victory over Turkey on Tuesday, signaling some concern given that it was a Group Stage matchup. Regardless, Joe Harris came to play and more than held his own in international competition. Then again, with the three-point line shorter overseas compared to the NBA, it’s no surprise that Harris continues to be a threat from deep.

Harris chipped in 11 points and five rebounds on 66% shooting from the three-point line. Team USA just staved off Turkey to the tune of 93-92, banking on last-minute free throws. Having ground out a close win, it’s safe to say that Joe Harris’ sharpshooting came in nicely.

KD Shows Some Love

Harris’ stellar shooting happened to also catch the eye of his new superstar teammate. The Nets’ posted Joe Harris’ performance and Kevin Durant was quick to show his support for his future teammate in Brooklyn. With Harris looking to secure a long-term future playing at Barclay’s Center, it can’t hurt to have the support of the franchise’s newest superstar.

Historically, players that have gone overseas to represent Team USA have seen the work pay off come time for the NBA’s regular season. Nothing is certain in the NBA, but there are high hopes that the same will be said for Joe Harris in 2019. He’ll undoubtedly benefit from his new superstar teammates, but don’t overlook how much his Team USA exposure will pay off as well. Harris is holding his own overseas, it will only be a matter of time before we see the same in Brooklyn next season.