Last season, Denver Nuggets shooting guard Gary Harris took a step forward, averaging a career-high 14.9 points in 31.3 minutes over 57 regular-season games.
Also posting career-highs in rebounds per game (3.1), assists per game (2.9), field goal percentage (50.2) and three-point percentage (42.0), Harris established himself as a valuable member of a crowded backcourt rotation.
Now at 23 years old and entering his fourth NBA season, the Nuggets apparently view him as a major piece of their future as indicated by general manager Arturas Karnisovas.
On Thursday, Karnisovas told Gina Mizell of The Denver Post that the team is currently working on a contract extension and hopes a deal can be made before the season starts.
“He’s been such a huge part of what we’re trying to do here, a representation of what we’re building here,” the GM said. “Him going through trade rumors and still staying with us and being consistent and being a good leader for our guys and (knowing) how to do it, he was the ultimate professional… We’re trying to find ways to keep him here as long as we can.”
Harris is scheduled to make $2.55 million this year and $3.64 million in the 2018-2019 season.
The news of a possible extension broke just days after Harris raised eyebrows during a preseason game against the Los Angeles Lakers. In just 21 minutes on the court, the 6’4”, 210-pound guard caught fire, going 8-for-11 shooting, including 5-of-7 from three-point range for 25 points.
He also finished last season very strongly. Over six April contests, he averaged 15.2 points, 4.7 rebounds and 5.0 assists over 36.0 minutes. With some extended run, he produced across the box score in multiple categories which is a positive indicator that he could handle additional minutes this season.
The value of Harris’ contract was not leaked or even rumored, but considering the fact that Toronto Raptors reserve guard Norman Powell received a four-year, $42 million extension on Thursday, Harris’ mark should be somewhere above that. To put that into context, last season, Powell averaged 8.4 points, 2.2 rebounds and 1.1 assists in 18.0 minutes per game over 76 regular-season appearances.
While much of the attention will be focused on Nikola Jokic and All-Star Paul Millsap, Harris’ consistent production should make the Nuggets a very interesting team to watch in the stacked Western Conference.
Knowing that he’s a part of the team’s future will only make Harris feel more comfortable since he has been the subject of trade rumors in past seasons. Look out for him to continue to develop this year.