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APPRECIATION: New contract, same Joe: Why re-signing Harris was exactly what Nets needed

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Brooklyn Nets v Los Angeles Clippers Photo by Garrett Ellwood/NBAE via Getty Images

It’s done. We can finally rest.

No, I’m not talking about the blockbuster trade that lands Brooklyn a perennial MVP candidate in James Harden. That’s taking a backseat right now.

Joseph Tsai proverbially put his money where his mouth is, it helped that his net worth seemingly increases by hundreds of millions of dollars every other week, but he did what he said he would: He embraced the luxury tax with open arms.

Joe Harris was officially re-signed by the Brooklyn Nets for four years, $75 million on the opening night of free agency. Making the Brooklyn Nets, as currently constructed, a team that’s going to be deep into the tax.

A bargain for the Nets thus far in his tenure with the team, Harris enters next season with the newfound luxury of being one of the NBA’s most valued marksmen—though, come on, he does more than just shoot the rock. We’ve been through this.

Harris’ play put him in a position to earn a lucrative deal; not only is he the only player to shoot better than 43 percent from distance over the course of the last three seasons, but he’s also expanded his offensive arsenal with each passing season. (Again, the whole he’s more than a shooter thing. I’ll stop now. Actually, who am I kidding...no I will not.)

Likewise, that label as a defensive liability—though he won’t lock down the opposition’s best wing—is showing signs of wear, be it mildly or moderately, as he enters his basketball prime. (See? I’m still going!)

To be fair and remove my own bias, he doesn’t possess breathtaking lateral quickness compounded with overpowering strength and control to render his match-up useless, but you’ll never see him out of position or lacking effort on the defensive end.

Invest as much stock as you want into the following fact, but he did play the most minutes (2,123) on a team that ranked eighth in defensive rating this past season. Concealed, perhaps, by efficient schemes or not, that’s rather impressive.

This past season, Harris was the makeshift second option for weeks on end given the team’s long list of injuries. That, too, should pay dividends once his role lessens beside high-usage stars. With additional compartments to his bag, if he’s run off the line—which teams are going to gameplan for—he is more than capable of making the right decision on the fly.

His attributes as a complementary player alongside Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving are too tantalizing to deny. This was a deal that Nets needed to make; they were never going to let him walk, and barring some out-of-left-field sign-and-trade deal that would’ve broken my heart more than the end of “Old Yeller,” (pause here for paws tears) their option was clear: Re-sign Joe Harris.

Nets Twitter also would frequently—and passionately, I might add—-remind the owner, the Nets paymaster, of this fact: Joe, you’re now free to tweet about your son’s lacrosse career until your heart is content—sans our harassment.

The team was ultimately successful in their quest. They succeeded in achieving their “top priority” this offseason. You can debate the term/figure, but it was reported that other teams had significant interest in the 29-year-old, with numbers thrown around to the tune of $18 million to start. Since his average salary rests at $18.75 million over four seasons, this wasn’t something unforeseen.

KD and Kyrie’s gravitational pull on opposing defenses with Harris being one of the league’s most efficient marksmen—he shot 44.6 percent on catch and shoot triples including a ridiculous 53.9 percent on wide-open threes—is quite the combination. Oh, and then you add in Landry Shamet into the mix, who’s a career 40.2 percent 3-point shooter, and you quickly realize...Steve Nash and Mike D’Antoni are going to have fun with this.

He will be, in other, simpler words, SO OPEN!

Back in 2016, Harris’ future in the NBA was bleak. Dealt by the team that drafted him, Cleveland, in a move to avoid the luxury tax, and then subsequently waived by the Magic all while anesthetized during ankle surgery, well, that’s some tale of desolation.

Now, four years later, he’s the type of player that an NBA owner, a good one at that, would gladly pay the luxury tax to re-acquire. And for that, I salute him (fellow Canadian that he is.!

What Joe Harris brings to the table, a selfless attitude, unrelenting work ethic, tangibles that complement high-usage profiles, make him exactly what the Nets need in their title window.

Okay, NOW, I’ll stop!