Let me begin this blog by making it very clear that I have absolutely nothing against Gary Harris. I’ve actually considered him to be one of the most underrated and undervalued players in the NBA. But once the news broke that he’d now be making $21 million dollars annually (via ESPN), I can no longer say that I feel this way. Gary Harris is one of those players that can compliment an NBA roster quite nicely, but for the right price. I just don’t understand how a team like the Nuggets, who seem to be making strides in the right direction as an organization, nearly max out a player who averaged 14.9 points, 3 rebounds, and 2.9 assists per game during the 2016-17 season. On top of this, Harris has only played in 188 of Denver’s 246 games over the last 3 seasons, failing to play more than 57 games in two of his first three seasons as a pro. Groin and ankle injuries caused Harris to miss 25 total games last year and although he can potentially move forward from this and bud into a superstar in the near future, this has to have been somewhat concerning for the team signing his unnecessarily large checks.
As mentioned before, I still think Harris is a fine player with a ton of untapped potential. His stats have considerably improved over the last 3 seasons and he may or may not cause me to eat my words in a few years. But the Denver Nuggets just agreed to pay Gary Harris more money than Paul George, Jimmy Butler, Kawhi Leonard, Kyrie Irving, Demarcus Cousins, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green and I’m simply not having it. I just can’t seem to understand how committing over $50M per season on Paul Millsap and Gary Harris is going to benefit a team like Denver, just one year removed from an offseason that will feature free agents such as Cousins, George, LeBron James, Kevin Durant, Isaiah Thomas, Andrew Wiggins, Joel Embiid, and Chris Paul, among others. Is it likely that any of those players are going to consider signing in Denver? Probably not, but money talks and you never know in the business of sports.
And to make matters even worse for Denver’s payroll situation, Nikola Jokic is quickly becoming one of the most dominant two-way big men in the game and the Nuggets are going to have to ante up and pay the man before they know it. With the NBA salary cap requirements already being hard enough to fulfill as it is, it’ll be interesting to see how Denver goes about putting their team together now that a good chunk of their money is committed to two players, who neither of which I would consider to be superstars in their prime right now.