NBA Trade Rumors: New Jersey Nets Intent on Trading Devin Harris

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NBA Trade Rumors: New Jersey Nets Intent on Trading Devin Harris
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The New Jersey Nets do not play another game until the day after the Feb. 24 trade deadline, and it seems as though we may have seen the last of Devin Harris in a Nets uniform.

According to The Star-Ledger, those within New Jersey's organization have grown tired of the point guard, unhappy with his commitment and level of play.

Harris is averaging a career high in APG this year with 7.7, but has had great difficulty in scoring and consistently making his shots. Also, since posting a single-game career high of 18 assists against Denver in late January, Harris is averaging 6.6 APG and has often seemed to lack energy.

The Nets are reportedly in talks with Portland about a Harris-for-Andre Miller swap, and they could also send Harris to Denver in a package that would net them Carmelo Anthony.

It's well known that Anthony's preferred destination is the Knicks, so New Jersey's being mentioned in the rumors could simply be a ploy by Denver to gain some leverage in their negotiations with New York. If Harris is dealt, it seems most likely that he'll end up with the Trail Blazers.

New Jersey is also trying to get Portland to take Travis Outlaw in the deal, and other pieces involved could include Rudy Fernandez and Joel Pryzbilla.

Miller is nearing the end of his playing days, but would likely be a good influence on New Jersey's younger players. He is a better distributor than Harris and is a much more efficient shot-maker.

Christian Petersen/Getty Images
Andre Miller (24) could be on his way to New Jersey in exchange for Devin Harris.

Those who have read my articles with regularity this year know that I've been opposed to trading Harris.

At this point, though, I'm not sure New Jersey has another option.

The Nets aren't simply perceiving a lack of energy and effort from Harris, it's obvious to everyone watching that he doesn't always play his hardest.

Of course, a lot of that is due to him hearing his name brought up in trade rumors since the summer, but that doesn't change the fact that he's not producing at the level that is expected of him.

In addition to a decrease in his offensive production, Harris has regressed defensively.

Harris has been noted as a very good defender, but the Nets actually give up less points per 100 possessions with him off the floor (108 compared to 112.4).

With Miller, the Blazers average nearly the same amount of points allowed with him on the floor as off, and he boosts their offense by 12 points per 100 possessions when he's in the game.

Nets coach Avery Johnson's philosophy on rationing out minutes and determining who he wants on his team is simple.

He wants guys who play hard and want to win—both of which are strong suits for Miller.

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Miller could provide leadership to the young team and could also aid in the development of fellow point guards Jordan Farmar and Ben Uzoh.

It's also possible the Nets would be preparing themselves to make a run at Chris Paul or Derron Williams in the summer of 2012, when they could potentially be free agents. Not coincidentally, that is the same year Miller's contract runs out.

They could also be hoping to lock up a standout point guard like Kyrie Irving in the draft, as their multitude of draft picks would allow them to move up if need be.

If they are able to send Outlaw away as well, they should not hesitate to make a deal.

As said earlier, it's pretty simple in regards to the Nets and Harris here.

New Jersey let it be known that they were attempting to deal him, and Harris' relationship with the team is now fractured. He sees the writing on the wall in terms of him not being a part of the team's future plans and no longer feels the need to bust his behind night in and night out.

On a personal level, I can't blame him. I wouldn't want to work for a company that was trying to dispose of me either. Harris quit on the team last year as well, however, and in terms of hustle and desire, is being outplayed by Farmar, his backup.

There's really no other choice for the Nets. They either need to trade Harris now or over the summer, unless they can somehow find a way to reverse the damage they've done and improve the flaws in his game.

It's not that Harris is a bad player, just that the Nets no longer seem like a good fit for him.

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