Brooklyn Nets small forward Joe Harris, whose contract ends after the 2019-20 NBA season, said Thursday he hopes to re-sign with the organization so he can play with Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving next year.
"Definitely! Why wouldn't you?" Harris told reporters. "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."
Durant has been sidelined the entire campaign while recovering from a ruptured Achilles suffered during the 2019 NBA Finals with the Golden State Warriors. Irving made just 20 appearances before a setback with his shoulder required season-ending surgery.
Those major absence paired with a variety of other injuries—only three Nets players have appeared in all 54 games (Spencer Dinwiddie, Taurean Waller-Prince and Jarrett Allen)—have prevented the team from reaching its full potential, though it was always viewed as a transition year without Durant.
"Yeah it's sort of frustrating for everybody just because obviously we were without Ky for a majority of the season but we were without a lot of guys for a majority of the season. We never truly had a healthy roster," Harris said. "I'd venture to guess it's probably less than five games where everybody that was supposed to be playing this year was all fully healthy."
Brooklyn's future is promising, though.
The team's top five players are all under contract: Durant, Irving, Dinwiddie, Caris LeVert and Allen. Harris is the most notable free agent, while Garrett Temple has a club option for 2020-21.
Veteran players tend to gravitate toward legitimate championship contenders when they hit the open market, and the Nets should fall in that category starting next season. So they should be able to attract depth players seeking a ring at a reduced cost.
In turn, Harris may find himself in a position where he must choose between more lucrative offers from other teams or taking less to remain in Brooklyn and chase a title alongside Durant and Irving.