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Joe Harris: Brooklyn remains ‘my ideal scenario’ but free agency not a priority

NBA: Phoenix Suns at Brooklyn Nets Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

In catching up with YES Network’s Michael Grady earlier in the week, Joe Harris called re-signing with the Nets this off-season “my ideal scenario,” but admitted that it’s not his priority right now. Getting back to play is.

“I haven’t thought about it a ton obviously. There’s so much going on right now that you're worrying about [more than] free agency. The biggest concern is figuring out the best way to get back to actually playing. I haven’t even really discussed anything with my agent or with teams in terms of free agency.”

When Grady asked what it would mean for him to return to Brooklyn once free agency opens, Harris left little doubt of his interest in re-signing ... and his connection to the team and city.

“It would mean everything. I look back just over four years ago coming to Brooklyn, getting an opportunity to play here, to learn as a young player to play through my mistakes and be given a niche in this league. And I’ve always loved New York and I love living in Brooklyn. Obviously, it’s a business at the end of the day and there are things you can’t control a lot of things that go on. My ideal scenario ... that’s what it is for me.”

Before the pandemic and its associated financial issues, Harris was seen as a player who could command more than $15 million a year. He’s earning $7.7 million this year. Now, however, player valuations are uncertain. So, for that matter, is the start of free agency. It was supposed to start on June 30, but a return-to-play could push it back to as far as September.

Harris has been staying in Brooklyn since the Nets returned to Brooklyn on March 13. He has been one of the few Nets who’ve visited HSS Training Center. He sprained his ankle in the Nets last game, the win over the Lakers, but is healthy now. He’s said he would’ve been out of action for four to six weeks if play hadn’t been suspended.

Asked what was the best part of the self-quarantine, Harris said, “my apartment has never been cleaner. Been a little bit more attentive to that sort of stuff.” No wonder. Harris’ mother and girlfriend are living with him. “The worst is like it is for everybody, going a little stir crazy.”

Harris talked about how he and his teammates plus the Nets coaching and performance staffs have kept up with each other. Most of the Nets have remained in Brooklyn, despite it being the epicenter of coronavirus.

“We’ve always been active on the group thread already, even before all of this. You’re always talking to guys on the team thread or whether you’re catching up with guys individually... on FaceTime or on the group thread. Also the Nets have done a good job in incorporating classes whether it’s yoga or boxing or different workout classes where we all sorta hop on Zoom working out together communicating that way...

“It’s kinda weird. It’s a little strange but everyone’s adapting to it now. this is what you gotta to do to stay active, stay engaged.”

Other members of the team have said similar things including Spencer Dinwiddie who spoke about the shutdown and the Nets future with Colin Cowherd earlier Friday.

Bottom line, said Harris, “I’m doing good considering the circumstances. Obviously a lot going on, especially here in New York.”