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TRADED: Nets send Joe Harris, second rounders to Pistons, create $20 million TPE

Joey Buckets who went from the first days of Sean Marks rebuild through the Big Three editions has been traded to the Pistons along with second rounders in 2027 and 2029.

Philadelphia 76ers v Brooklyn Nets - Game Four Photo by Sarah Stier/Getty Images

Well, it’s not going to be boring after all.

Joe Harris, the Nets longest tenured player who twice led the NBA in 3-point percentage, has been traded to Detroit Friday along with two second rounders from the Nets deadline deals for Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant: the Mavs second rounder in 2027 and the Bucks second rounder in 2029, In return, the Pistons will send the Nets $110,000 in cash considerations, the bare minimum required for NBA trades.

More importantly, the trade will create a $20 million traded player exception and get the Nets under the salary cap for the first time since 2019 just before the “Clean Sweep” that brought the two superstars to Brooklyn.

Harris, a fan and front office favorite, had two ankle surgeries in 2021-22, sapping his production, He went from averaging 14.1 points on 51/48/78 shooting splits in the last year before his ankle woes in 2020-21 to 7.6 points on 46/43/68 splits last season. He also lost his starter’s job.

On March 2, he talked with Andrew Crane of the Post about his physical decline. “I just am not the same player that I was two, three years ago,” Harris said, describing himself as a “second-unit-sort-of-player,” cataloguing the ways his age and injuries had effected him.

Harris, 31, has been with the Nets since July 2016 when he was signed as a vets minimum free agent, months after he had been cut, traded and undergone ankle surgery in a single day, his NBA career at a crossroads. Since then, Harris developed into one of the NBA’s best 3-pointers ever, shooting league bests in 2018-19 and 2020-21 and winning the NBA 3-Point Shooting contest in 2019. He is fourth All-Time in 3-point shooting and best actively, having made 43.7% of his shots.

Shams Charania and Adrian Wojnarowski broke the news Thursday afternoon...

The trade has a number of immediate consequences for the Nets. It puts them a few million dollars under the salary cap at around $132 million, a few million under the $136 million cap. They are also now eligible to use both the $12.4 million mid-level exception and the $4.4 bi-annual exception. Then, there’s the tax exception which matches Harris $19.9 million expiring contract. (Teams have the option of using an additional $100,000 in TPE trades, making the value of the exception an even $20 million.) The exception can be used in more or transactions through the first anniversary of when the trade is actually finalized,

The Nets have five other trade exceptions, all of which expire next February: an $18.1 million TPE from the Durant trade, a $4.5 million exception from the Irving trade then three smaller exceptions topped by a $2.6 million TPE from the Kessler Edwards trade also last February. Trade exceptions cannot be combined.

As capologists Bobby Marks and Yossi Gozlan tweeted, the trade gives the Nets a wealth of flexibility not just for the 2023-24 season but stretching into next off-season.

While the trade appears to be a win for the Nets, the Pistons motivation seemed unclear initially. They received two second rounders four and six years out and the trade shrank their cap space significantly.

Omari Sankofa II, Pistons beat writer for the Detroit Free Press, had this take on why the Pistons pursued Harris.

Harris’ agent, Mark Bartlestein said the Pistons have been after his client for a while...

The Brooklyn front office saw the trade as a way to get under the salary cap and add flexibility both for this season and next year’s free agency. The trade exception will be good for a year after the trade is official.

Of course, the Nets still have other moves that could bring spending down further and create more flexibility. They have reportedly taken multiple calls on Royce O’Neale and Dorian Finney-Smith. According to various reports, suitors have been told the Nets want a first rounder for O’Neale and a first rounder plus something else for DFS.