Joe Harris: Nets were always my ‘No. 1 priority’
In Joe Harris’ case, familiarity didn’t breed contempt; it bred comfort.
It was in Brooklyn that Harris basically grew up from waiver fodder to an NBA standout. And after signing one of the biggest contracts in team history to remain a Net, he said he never seriously thought about leaving.
“I narrowed in with the Nets. … You’re only allowed to talk the day free agency started at 6 p.m., but I was allowed to have dialogue with the team you’re currently with,” Harris said. “I talked with [general manager] Sean [Marks], [coach] Steve [Nash], my teammates in the lead-up, and I didn’t even give a ton of thought to leaving. … You have to entertain other options, but my No. 1 priority was to try and come back to Brooklyn.”
Harris did just that, with a four-year, $75 million deal — $72 million of it guaranteed — that was fifth-biggest in Nets history. It’s a far cry from the unproven youngster picked up off the NBA scrap heap in 2016.
That Jan. 12 had been a tough one for Harris, traded by Cleveland, undergoing season-ending foot surgery and then finding out as he was coming out of anesthesia that he’d been waived by Orlando. Harris ended up having his rehab at Hospital for Special Surgery on the Upper East Side, and his physical therapy with Pro Hoops NYC director Ross Burns, who has connections with the Nets.
He had no idea at the time what New York had in store for him.
“It was a pretty wild coincidence the fact that I elected to come here,” said Harris. “Was lucky to have a guy here, Ross Burns and his brother, Tim Burns … that helped me get my footing, get myself back ready to play. And then fate behold, I ended up staying in New York; and now you’re looking back on it, it’s five years ago. Definitely lucky it all played out the way it did. I couldn’t be more thankful.”
Harris has a lot to be thankful for. Brooklyn assistant Bret Brielmaier — who had been an assistant in Cleveland for Harris’ first two seasons — helped convince the Nets to throw the small forward a two-year, $2 million lifeline.
Source : Brian Lewis Link