With the Nets constantly being mentioned by the mainstream sports media as a potential landing spot for Carmelo Anthony, the NAS squad is going to take a look over the next week at some of the players who would likely be included in a deal for the All-Star SF.
Would you Trade Devin Harris?
The Case For Trading Devin Harris:
Devin Harris played like and was recognized as an All-Star during the 2008-09 season, but there was a significant drop-off in his performance last season when he became the team’s focal point after the departure of Vince Carter. His Player Efficiency Rating (PER) dropped from 21.65 to 16.28 and his frailty really became exposed last season when he only played in 64 games due to assorted injuries – his third consecutive season of under 70 games played. Despite his aggressive style of play on offense, his field goal percentage on shots taken at the rim (53%) was an all-time low for Harris last season, according to hoopdata.com. Harris doesn’t hit enough of his remaining field goals (40% total, 28% from three) for the Nets to survive offensively without him connecting regularly on his drives to the hoop.
And still, despite these flaws, he demonstrated glimpses last year than when healthy, he could play like an All-Star. He averaged 20.3 points and 9.1 assists during the month of February, which were in-line to his final statistics in 2008-09 (21.3 ppg, 6.9 assists). And, as one of the longest-tenured players on the Nets, he makes enough salary ($8.4 million) to help make some of the money in a potential Anthony deal match up – an all too important factor in the NBA.
The Case Against Trading Devin Harris:
With six years of NBA experience, Harris brings veteran savvy to an otherwise inexperienced team of players, and as one of four players still on the roster from last year, he also provides stability and continuity for cornerstones like Brook Lopez and Terrence Williams. And while Jordan Farmar may be a solid back-up, he’s never proven that he could ably fill-in long term in a starting line-up. Unless the Nets could solidify themselves at the PG spot with a subsequent deal, they would be seemingly weakening themselves overall. If part of the reason Anthony wants to leave Denver is because they’re not competitive enough to win a championship, there’s little reason to believe a team with Farmar as the starting PG could compete with the Heat and the Magic in the east.
Meanwhile, because of Harris’ dropoff last season, his trade value has never been lower. Would Denver even want him in a deal for Anthony? Do they have faith that he can regain his all-star form, or will they rule his 08-09 season as a fluke? Perhaps, by being reunited with Avery Johnson, his coach in Dallas, Harris could regain his all-star form and become an attractive trade chip again.
The Final Verdict:
If Harris is the centerpiece in a deal for Carmelo Anthony, you have to do it. While the Nets would have to upgrade at PG at some point, Anthony brings enough on offense, that paired with Brook Lopez, and eventually Derrick Favors, the Nets can end up with their own “Big Three” and all they would need to run the offense is a solid ball distributor who can occasionally knock down a jumper. If the Bulls were able to win in the 90s with John Paxson as the PG, and the Lakers can win two rings in a row with Derek Fisher, then the Nets could win without a sparkplug like Devin Harris, who is still too offensive-minded to effectively run the point anyway.