Joe Harris started really turning heads last year with his 3-point shooting. Although he had a steady rise as a shooter since joining the Nets in 2016, the 27-year-old took a big leap in 2018-19, not only winning the 3-Point Shoot Out on All-Star Weekend, but finishing first in 3-point shooting for the season with a 47.4 percent mark. Harris is in fact the 11th best 3-point shooter in NBA history at 42.7 percent.
Now, he has another national —and perhaps international— stage, practicing with Team USA as it gets ready to head off to Australia and China for the FIBA World Cup. Although he was brought to Las Vegas to work with Team USA’s practice squad, Harris has been playing with the big club and has a shot at the final 12-man roster. No wonder, since he’s the only member of Team USA with a career 3-point average about 40 percent.
Not bad for a guy who was traded, cut and underwent foot surgery all on the same day — January 12, 2016 — then was rescued by the Nets six months later.
So Harris, as he told Michael Scotto courtside in Vegas, is grateful for the chance the Nets gave him and wants to stay with Brooklyn over the long term. His contract is up this summer.
“I hope to be in Brooklyn, obviously,” Harris told The Athletic courtside at Thomas & Mack Center during Summer League. “This is the organization that gave me an opportunity. I say all the time that it’s a first-class organization from top to bottom. Just the way that your interactions are with ownership to your interactions with the front office. It would be hard for me to think of a better place with better people in the NBA.”
Harris’ two-year, $16 million deal, signed in July 2018, is generally considered as a steal for the Nets. He even agreed to front-load the deal so the Nets would have $600,000 more in cap space this past summer. Every little bit helped.
Now, as Scotto writes, Harris will likely get a big raise. Other signings of lesser 3-point specialists have been a lot bigger than Harris’ current contract. Danny Green (two years, $30 million) and JJ Redick (two years, $26.5 million) signed big deals this summer. Eric Gordon, whose contract is also up this season, will earn $14.1 million this season.
Moreover, the free agency market in 2020 will be slim. So, teams will be likely to offer bigger contracts to those, like Harris, who will be available. The Nets, of course, hold Harris’ Bird Rights, meaning the can sign him outside the salary cap.
Harris isn’t thinking that far ahead. He’s got the Team USA and then the Nets big season, with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant on the roster (at some point). He noted that the new acquisitions have all said they like the direction the Nets are headed. And so is he.
“I’m a small part of it, for sure,” Harris said of Brooklyn’s rebuild. “But Kevin and Kyrie and DeAndre (Jordan), they all said the same thing in terms of wanting to play with guys, that we know how to play and we play at a high-level night in and night out.
“I think when you’re a fan of the game, you’re just watching games, there was never a game where you watch the Nets (and) you’d probably be frustrated with how guys are playing.”
Harris has recalled that when he first met with Kenny Atkinson, the Nets rookie coach said he looked at Harris as the Nets’ Kyle Korver, shocking Harris that the Nets saw him in the same light as the NBA’s gold standard. He knows other players, like Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell, had received similar confidence boosts from the Nets brain trust.
“I think when Sean (Marks) and Kenny got in and then assembled the team, you could see stuff transitioning and changing,” Harris told Scotto. “Obviously, it’s a slow process. You didn’t anticipate it happening as quickly as it did or in the manner that it happened. But I think at some point everybody could kind of see the tide turning. “
In other FIBA World Cup news, Nets training camp invite Deng Adel (and ex-Nets Mitch Creek) were cut by the Boomers, Australia’s national team. The two had been seen as sure things for the final 12-man roster.
- With free agency looming next summer, Joe Harris gets an early showcase at unexpected Team USA opportunity - Michael Scotto - The Athletic New York