Joe Harris will be a free agent this offseason. As in this fall.
He knows he will cash in the free agent market since he is a sniper. In the NBA, it’s all about shooting from downtown these days. Players like him become a commodity.
Harris plans on enjoying the wine-and-dine experience of being a free agent. It’s what players dream of when they play in the big leagues. The six-year player blossomed last season for the Nets, and he has become an integral part of the team during the bubble play. He understands this is as good as it’s going to get for him, and he would be a fool not to test the market.
Nets general manager Sean Marks mentioned to YES Network’s Michael Grady a few days ago that keeping Harris is a priority, and the free agent-to-be claims he wants to stay and be part of a good thing.
It’s easy to say the right things until it’s time to make a decision.
For anyone that assumes Harris will stay and take less, think again. There’s a good chance he won’t get paid what the market is for him again. If some team overpays him, he would be stupid to turn it down. When opportunity strikes, he has to take it.
There could be a contender or a team that needs one more player to be a playoff team that can overpay him. It would be hard for Harris to turn it down.
The Nets can talk about paying him, but if he gets an offer that he can’t refuse, will Nets principal owner Joe Tsai pay the luxury tax to keep him?
The Nets are over the salary cap. They must examine if it’s really worth overpaying him when they can develop a shooter through the draft or in the free agent market. As good as Harris is, we are not talking Mark Price here. It’s Joe Harris, who managed to find a niche here going back to last season.
One wonders how Harris would fit in playing with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant. Everyone needs the ball to be productive, and if he is not getting it, what’s the point of paying him? Marks gets it that he has to understand that possibility, even if he is mentioning about keeping his player just to sound good.
If Harris takes a pay cut, more power to him. It would be a rare selfless move by an NBA player that he would stay with his current team and take the less money. Somehow, this could be hard to believe.
Harris developed well under the tutelage of Kenny Atkinson and Jacque Vaughn. He received an opportunity to get playing time in the last two seasons, and he shined. He averaged 13.7 points per game last season, and he averaged 14.5 points per game this season.
He transformed into a fan favorite in a sense he developed as a Net. Fans viewed him as a gritty player that put in the time into his craft and became the player he is today. His teammates love him, too for that. He enjoys the camaraderie he has with Caris LeVert, Spencer Dinwiddie and Jarrett Allen. Those three form great chemistry off the court that translates well on the court by humming up a great offensive flow. It’s what made the Nets so enjoyable during the bubble games.
It’s simply going to be different with Durant and Irving. Both can be hard to play with, as the NBA computer picks show.
Harris never clicked well with Irving just like any other player this season. It’s something he won’t forget when he enters free agency.
Also, he could not have forgotten the Nets wanted to sign Tobias Harris last offseason. If Harris decided to sign with them rather than resign with the Philadelphia 76ers, Joe Harris would have been traded or have his minutes cut.
How much of it is a priority for both sides to reach an agreement? It remains to be seen. Harris gets one shot at this, and the Nets have to be smart about how they allocate their money. No good intentions can change all that.
Harris accepts his fate that he may not be a Net. He gets it that he has to do what’s best for himself. He realizes that being a free agent is not the time to be sentimental. If he stunk for the Nets, they would be the first to get rid of him, so he gets to return the favor of dictating where he wants to be.
No hard feelings on both sides.
It’s just business.
Featured Image: Quinn Harris/Getty Images