With designs on contention, the Nets moved to retain their most important free agent on Friday night, reportedly signing sharpshooter Joe Harris to a new four-year, $75 million contract. Harris averaged 14.5 points per game last season and made 42.4% of his three-point attempts, and has earned his reputation as one of the NBA’s most consistent long-distance threats off the catch. Let’s grade the deal.
Keeping Harris, who drew plenty of interest around the league, was an absolute must for the Nets, who are operating well over the cap and were unlikely to find a shooter of his caliber any other place. Brooklyn was always going to up the ante financially after landing Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving last year, and what they paid for Harris lines up fairly well against the contract the other top available shooter, Davis Bertans, accepted in order to remain with the Wizards (five years, $80 million).
Keep in mind that the Nets are still a possibility for the want-away James Harden, so the roster could look a lot different in short order, but regardless of that situation, Harris was always going to have to be a major piece of the puzzle, given the league-wide premium on shooting.
In addition to being a major threat to score from wherever he’s standing on the floor, Harris has an underrated complementary skill set. His efficiency actually dipped a little bit last season, with Kyrie Irving missing a lot of time and the Nets offense stalling at times without an elite creator on the floor. The year prior, he shot 50% from the field and led the league by making 47% of his threes on five attempts per game on a Brooklyn team that heavily featured D’Angelo Russell.
If Irving and Durant stay healthy—not to mention if Harden ends up on the team—Harris will enjoy the steadiest diet of open shots he’s ever seen. Not only does the fit work, with continuity built in on both sides, it’s a huge win for Harris himself, cashing out in a tricky free agent market with an organization that badly needs him at his best.