Devin Harris is the most NBA-ready player coming back from the Utah Jazz in the team's Deron Williams trade that went down on Wednesday. The New Jersey Nets have been fielding trade offers for Harris over the past few days, and were talking specifically about sending him to the Dallas Mavericks or the Portland Trail Blazers. Instead, for the moment, he will head to the Jazz and take Williams' place in the lineup.
It seems hard to believe that Harris is only two years removed from being an all-star. He was a rising player with the Mavericks before being the centerpiece of the Jason Kidd trade in 2008, and immediately capitalized on that promise with a breakout 2008/09 campaign. Since then, though, it's been a rough go for Harris. He suffered through an injury-plagued year in 2009/10 and saw his numbers plummet considerably. This season has been a little better, but he has still clashed with new head coach Avery Johnson, his former coach in Dallas.
Still, Harris remains a solid player that has been above average even in some terrible situations. He also has a fairly reasonable contract -- just under $18 million owed for the next two season. If I had to put an estimate on it, he's 75-80 percent the player Williams is. There's also a very good chance his career gets revived playing for an upbeat young coach in Ty Corbin that will give him the freedom he has never had in his career.
Harris may have been a better fit in Portland or Dallas, but he will help the Jazz as they begin the rebuilding process. Freed from the toxic environment in New Jersey, he may end up flashing the skill that made him an all-star in 2009 once again.