Gary Harris Re-signs With the Orlando Magic

Gary Harris
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Gary Harris re-signed with the Orlando Magic on the first day of free agency. The two sides agreed to a two-year contract extension worth $26 million, or $13 million per season. This somewhat surprising agreement keeps Harris in Orlando through the 2023-24 season.

Gary Harris Re-signs With the Orlando Magic

Harris is a well-seasoned vet ready to help his next team win in the playoffs. He was originally drafted in the first round with the 19th overall pick of the 2014 NBA draft by the Chicago Bulls. Harris was then packaged with Jusuf Nurkić in a trade to the Denver Nuggets on draft night in exchange for Doug McDermott. He played sparingly his rookie season but blossomed in Denver. His peak came in 2017-2018 when he averaged 17.5 points per game on 39.6% shooting from three. Harris grew comfortable in Denver’s offensive ecosystem with Nikola Jokić assisting him countless times as he cut to the basket.

Harris’ offensive game to a dive after that season. His defense stayed solid, and he memorably helped slow Donovan Mitchell in the 2020 bubble playoffs. Harris’s return for the last two games of the first-round series (both Denver wins) ensured the Nuggets’ victory. Unfortunately, his scoring average dipped below double digits in the 2020-21 season. Harris has now suited up for Orlando Magic in addition to the Denver Nuggets after being included in Denver’s trade for Aaron Gordon.

Harris has averaged 11.8 points and 2.5 rebounds per game in his eight-year NBA career. Last season Harris contributed 11.1 points and 2 rebounds for the Orlando Magic in just 28.4 minutes per game. He rediscovered his outside shot and converted 38.4% of his five three-point attempts per game, and his strong perimeter defense never left. Harris ended the season looking poised to fight through screens for a championship contender.

What this Means for the Future

Harris is firmly in his prime with a 28th birthday coming in September. With the return of his outside shot, he fits any playoff roster as a rotation-caliber wing with a penchant for defense. He has enough strength to switch, and can bother perimeter players searching for their shots in pick-and-roll. He played 61 games last season, with most absences occurring late in the season to aid the Magic’s tanking efforts. Health doesn’t appear to be an issue for Harris at this point.

Harris has defended enough star scorers in the playoffs to fill in an All Star ballot: Mitchell, Paul George, and LeBron James in 2020, and DeMar DeRozan, Damian Lillard, and CJ McCollum in 2019. Harris will serve as a veteran mentor with the Magic likely years away from playoff contention. He could also be a candidate for trades over the next two seasons.