Nets general manager Sean Marks succeeded in hanging on to valuable backup guard Joe Harris, reaching agreement with him on a two-year contract worth $16 million within the first half-hour after the free-agent negotiations period opened at 12:01 a.m. Sunday. But Marks also is winning praise for an under-the-radar move he made to sign Trail Blazers backup center Ed Davis to a one-year deal worth $4.4 million.
Both moves underlined Marks’ commitment to building a strong organizational culture. The Nets spent two years developing Harris into the player who averaged 10.8 points and shot 41.9 percent from three-point range last season, and even though Davis is a backup who averaged a modest 5.3 points to go with 7.4 rebounds last season, he was considered a true “glue guy” in the Blazers’ locker room.
Davis, who developed a strong chemistry with Nets guard Jeremy Lin in the one season they played together with the Lakers, spent the past three seasons in Portland and had expressed the hope to retire there. But the Blazers allowed him to walk over the objections of All-Star Damian Lillard, who tweeted a broken-hearted emoji when the news was announced.
In February, Lillard described Davis as “super, super important to our team. He’s one of those guys that . . . you know he’s going to rebound, you know he’s going to be the backbone of our defense and help. You know he cares about the team.”
Now Davis will play that vital role for the Nets, serving as a mentor to second-year starting center Jarrett Allen and providing a rebounding and defensive presence in the paint that the Nets sorely lacked last season.
Beyond his first two signings, Marks is believed to be in the market for a power forward with three-point ability.
In other news, Nik Stauskas, who was waived by the Nets, agreed a one-year deal with the Blazers. Nets free-agent forward Dante Cunningham reportedly is negotiating with the Timberwolves.