Brooklyn Nets fans who hoped that James Harden would be added to the franchise to form a so-called Big Three with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving by the end of last weekend found their wish unfulfilled. Draft night last Wednesday came and went without the Nets engineering a trade for the Houston Rockets All-Star guard. When free-agency began on Friday, the two teams both made moves, signing players and making trades independent of each other. So for now, the Nets have a Big Two in Durant and Irving.
Still, the transactions conducted by Nets general manager Sean Marks over the past week, while not flashy, have the team as a clear top 5 preseason pick in the Eastern Conference. With rumors abounding regarding Harden, Marks made it a priority to re-sign small forward Joe Harris. Initially signed by the Nets in 2016 after being drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers with the 33rd overall pick in 2014 out of the University of Virginia, Harris has steadily improved as has his stature with the team.
“From the moment he arrived in Brooklyn, Joe has epitomized what it means to be a Net,” said Marks.
“He’s worked diligently over the past four years to become a core member of our team. He is an excellent teammate, and his approach to the game, along with his character, have had a positive impact on all facets of the organization.”
Last season, in 69 games, the 6-foot-6 Harris averaged career-highs of 14.5 points and 4.3 rebounds, and added 2.1 assists while playing 31 minutes per game. He shot 48.6% from the field and 42.4% from three. Brooklyn blessed Harris, from Chelan, Washington, with a hefty, 4-year, $75 million deal.
“This place gave me an opportunity four years ago. I couldn’t imagine being anywhere else,” said Harris upon signing. “Can’t wait to get going.” In addition to retaining Harris, the Nets traded the No. 19 pick in the first round and forward Dzanan Musa to acquire 6-foot-4 shooting guard Landry Shamet from the Los Angeles Clippers and guard Bruce Brown from the Detroit Pistons in a three-team trade.
The 23-year-old Shamet, a 2018 first round pick (26) by the Philadelphia 76ers, adds another knock-down shooter to the Nets’ arsenal. The 24-year-old Brown is a tough, versatile defender who has appeared in 132 games after being drafted by the Detroit Pistons in the second round (42nd overall) in 2018.
The Nets also signed 34-year-old veteran forward Jeff Green, who played with Harden and the Rockets last season.