Brooklyn Nets GM Sean Marks says retaining Joe Harris a priority

NEW YORK -- Just hours before free agency is set to begin, Nets general manager Sean Marks said Brooklyn's priority is to retain shooting guard Joe Harris.

"We hope that we can continue to build with Joe," Marks said. "Joe is an intricate piece to the program here, not only what he does and what everybody sees on the court, but it's off the court as well. He's seen this program develop and developed alongside this program. It would certainly be great to have him continue this ride with us."

Several teams, including the Atlanta Hawks, are interested in signing Harris, league sources told ESPN.

James Harden expressed interest in joining the Nets, ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski reported this week, and the Rockets and Nets have been in touch -- but there has been no progress toward a deal.

When asked about the Rockets guard on Friday, Marks said that it is "difficult to discuss hypotheticals." League tampering rules bar Marks from explicitly commenting on any pursuit of Harden.

"All you can do is prepare yourself to put the best roster you possibly can forward," Marks said. "We like what we have right now. I think it's a good group of guys, a competitive group of guys. They're obviously very talented, and it'll be about how they mesh on the floor. And then you weigh up, 'OK, if I make changes, that adds a different dynamic to the camaraderie, to the spirit of things on the court.'

"We just have to be ready and flexible for whatever happens, and hopefully the decisions we make put the best roster available on the court. I couldn't tell you how we make trades and so forth, and whether that involves going after a bigger piece or whether that involves playing around the edges."

In addition to signing Harris, the Nets are continuing to work to fill out their rosters ahead of training camp beginning on Dec. 1. Marks said that he "doesn't see [the Nets] changing five or six guys on the roster," but they are looking to add depth to their frontcourt.

With Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant healthy again, Marks said that the three-way trade that brought Landry Shamet and Reggie Perry to Brooklyn this week means the franchise is "definitely in win-now mode."

"Landry has played in big games," Marks said of Shamet. "When you've played in playoff games at that age, you're a young guy, that speaks volumes. He's obviously been trusted in other places he's been and doesn't shy away from big moments."

Shamet, who was acquired in a deal involving the LA Clippers and Detroit Pistons, said he got a head start on his new team by playing in pickup games with Durant, Irving and other Nets players this offseason in Southern California. He also said he met new Nets head coach Steve Nash last Christmas in Southern California when Nash approached him at a restaurant and told him that his son was a fan of Shamet.

"Over my offseason, I have been able to play with those two guys, play against them, get to know them," Shamet said about Durant and Irving. "I am excited. I like how they both play, they both move, they want to set screens and play in space. They are unselfish, willing passers. They're smart. My wheels have been spinning on how I can get involved, how I can get those shots and how I will be able to contribute as well."

Shamet, who averages 40.2% shooting from 3 in his two seasons, has experience playing alongside two stars who will be playing together for the first time. The Clippers were title contenders in Kawhi Leonard and Paul George's first season together before blowing a 3-1 lead and losing in the Western Conference semifinals to Denver in September. Shamet says several Nets players have been working out this offseason in Los Angeles with Durant and Irving.

"Going off this offseason, them having a number of guys out in LA all playing pickup every day together, I think that is a great start," Shamet said. "Obviously getting to know each other before push comes to shove and before things get really hard, I think that is number one. You got to build a chemistry before things get hard, so that when things do get hard, you got that trust and foundation to build on."

ESPN's Ohm Youngmisuk contributed to this report.