Former Cleveland Cavaliers guard Joe Harris only played 56 games over two seasons with the team, but had the opportunity to play with both LeBron James and Kyrie Irving. With Irving once again his teammate, this time with the Brooklyn Nets, Harris offered his thoughts regarding the similarities between the two players.
Harris said (at approximately the 14:30 mark) that Irving possesses James’ ability to make his teammates play better when he’s on the court. That drive, in the opinion of Harris, will be beneficial for the Nets this season.
“He’s sort of like LeBron in the sense that people that play with him, he just raises their game so much,” Harris said of Irving. “And that’s when you know you have an exceptional player when he makes everybody else that much better around him. He just makes the game easy, honestly. And a lot of it is because he is so good offensively, just being able to create for himself and his teammates. There’s going to be a lot of open opportunities just because everybody has to be so cognizant of him constantly.”
Harris only started one of those 56 games with the Cavaliers, after having been selected by the team in the second round of the 2014 NBA Draft. His very modest numbers saw him average just 2.5 points per game and less than one rebound and assist apiece in those contests.
The Cavaliers’ focus on winning a league title didn’t allow them the time to allow Harris to develop his talents. That led the Cavs in January 2016 to trade him to the Orlando Magic, who then released him. He would sign that summer with the Nets, where he emerged last season as a starter at shooting guard.
At the time of that 2016 trade, Irving was just returning from a fractured kneecap suffered in the 2015 NBA Finals. In June 2016, he forever etched his name into Cavaliers history by hitting the game-winning shot in the final minute of Game 7 of the 2016 Finals.
However, Irving’s tenure with the Cavs ended just over a year later, when he demanded a trade and was subsequently dealt to the Boston Celtics. Over this past summer, he signed a four-year contract with the Nets worth $142 million.
Harris is entering the final season of a two-year, $16 million contract he signed last year with the Nets. How well he does and the level of success that helps bring the Nets could potentially result in a huge payday for him next July.