Keeping Joe Harris is higher Nets priority than more star-chasing


    While many Nets fans are loudly pining for the team to chase a third star this offseason, GM Sean Marks says he has another top priority in mind. And that priority is Joe Harris, and keeping the free agent-to-be in Brooklyn.

    Marks was speaking in a 10-minute sit down interview taped Wednesday with YES Network and slated to air on the pregame show of Thursday’s regular-season finale against the Portland Trail Blazers. The Nets GM discussed a number of topics with host Michael Grady, and said Harris is right at the top of the list.

    “Joe, I think we’ve talked about plenty of times. We’re obviously very proud of where Joe has come from. And where he is today. And he still continues to get better. (He) Still wants to work on his craft,” said Marks “So, yeah, signing him and seeing him with this group will certainly be a priority for us.”

    Harris is one of the prime examples of Brooklyn’s much-hyped player development. They essentially picked him up for nothing after he’d been discarded, and helped him grow into one of the best shooters in the NBA.

    After Harris had foot surgery in January 2016, the 6-foot-6 wing got traded away by Cleveland a week later and immediately waived by Orlando.

    In his first offseason as Nets GM, Marks signed Harris, and he has steadily turned himself into a deadeye, winning the NBA 3-point crown last season at .474.

    As one of the Nets’ Bubble Big 3 – with Caris LeVert and Jarrett Allen – Harris has been stellar during the restart. He came into the finale averaging 20.2 points in Orlando, shooting .615 from the floor and .576 from behind the arc.

    Harris was 19-of-33 from 3-point range, best in the NBA among players with at least 15 attempts. He’s helped the Nets exceed all reasonable expectations, finishing seventh in the East to set up a first-round playoff date against defending champion Toronto.

    “Obviously we’re not trying to look too far ahead,” said Harris. “We do know that we have to prepare for Toronto obviously now, solidifying that spot. I think for us, it’s always just been exactly that: It’s just been about us trying to play the right way, play for each other, compete on both ends.

    “Our motto too is just going out trying to enjoy too. Enjoy playing with each other, have fun… Playing the right way, that’s fun basketball to play.”

    For Harris, not looking too far ahead also means the offseason. He told The Post he took less money to stay in Brooklyn in 2018, signing a two-year, $16 million contract. But with his name having grown with his game, he’s clearly earned a raise, with many around the league suggesting he could get a 50 percent bump, if not even double, depending on how hard the pandemic hits the market.

    Brooklyn is over the salary cap, but they do hold Harris’ Bird Rights, so they can go over the cap to keep him. And owner Joe Tsai – who is worth $13.5 billion according to the latest Bloomberg Billionaires Index, up almost $1.4 billion this year – has already confirmed he’ll pay luxury tax if need be for a contender.

    The Nets should be just that with the expected return of Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving next season. Harris has said he’d love to return with them.

    “Definitely! Why wouldn’t you?” Harris said in the weeks before the season suspended. “Obviously those are guys who I’ve gotten close with now that I’ve been with them this past year. They’re obviously incredible players. You see what they’re able to do when they are healthy and playing. I don’t think there’s anybody in the NBA who wouldn’t want to play with those guys.”

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