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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Devin Harris will be missed

I went to Nets' practice yesterday to cover the news of the Deron Williams trade, one that is a steal for the Nets provided that Williams is happy here in New Jersey and re-ups with the Nets after they sort out the collective bargaining agreement mess in July. If there's a lockout and Williams only plays 25 games here, then the trade is a bust. If he signs long-term, it's a steal. It's a gamble that the Nets had to make.

Anyway, the Nets bid farewell to Devin Harris yesterday and that move was apparently inevitable. He had worn out his welcome with the Nets and wanted out, so he got his wish.

But that doesn't mean that Harris was a bad seed and we're saying ''Good riddance." Quite the contrary. Harris was a joy to be around during his three years in New Jersey. He never dodged a question and always spoke with the media with a smile on his face.

More importantly, Harris was so good to others in the community, constantly making public appearances on behalf of the team and even did some things that weren't always reported, until here now.
Three years ago, a young man from Kearny named Victor Muniz was tragically paralyzed when a tree fell on top of him while he was walking home through West Hudson Park. He had to endure a lengthy rehabilitation stay in the Kessler Institute.

I told my good friend Leo Ehrline, who is a vice-president of the Nets, about Victor's plight, how he was a former basketball player who loved the game so much.

A few days later, Devin Harris went to pay Victor a visit at Kessler. He brought Victor an autographed pair of sneakers and he spent over an hour with Victor talking basketball. There was no fanfare, no press conference, just an NBA star reaching out to help an injured kid.

From that point on, every time I saw Devin, he always asked how Victor was doing.

Just recently, Devin Harris signed a jersey for the son of one of my best friends who was celebrating his 11th birthday and whose mom is waging a tough battle against leukemia. That's the kind of person Devin Harris is.

I will miss talking to him regularly about his native Milwaukee and the local establishments in his hometown that I have obviously visited and enjoyed.

"Devin was in a tough situation from the beginning," Nets head coach Avery Johnson said yesterday. "His name was mention in trade rumors every single day."

And every single day, Harris handled questions about those rumors, propping himself up against the trash can at the Nets' practice facility and took on the onslaught of questions.

"It's tough for me personally, because I got to know Devin really well and I enjoyed playing with him," forward Kris Humphries said.

And I enjoyed covering him. He will be missed.

With that said, the trade was a steal for the Nets.
For the last three weeks, everyone involved in high school track and field in New Jersey has had to make the schlep to the Bennett Center in Toms River for the state sectionals, all-Groups and finally the Meet of Champions, which will be held this Saturday.

But what I don't get is why someone doesn't build a state-of-the-art indoor track facility in northern New Jersey?

There are umpteen new ice hockey facilities throughout the area. Soccer facilities are being built all over. Some schools are getting new gymnasiums, even in the tough financial times.

But track athletes have to collectively make the sojourn south simply because there are no facilities up north? The time has come to do something about that...
Congrats to the Rutgers-Newark women's basketball team for upsetting Kean last night and advancing to the New Jersey Athletic Conference championship game against William Paterson Saturday night. It's the first time that the Scarlet Raiders have ever advanced to the NJAC title game. There isn't a finer coach and an even nicer guy than Kevin Morris, who truly deserves this chance to possibly take his team to the NCAA Division III tourney.
I didn't watch the game, but I was curious to see the introduction that Carmelo Anthony received last night. And I have to say _ albeit reluctantly _ that was some impressive and flamboyant entrance, with the "I'm Coming Home" video and the Garden darkened.
Only one problem. For years, I was led to believe that Anthony was from Baltimore. That's where he was announced as being from when he played for Syracuse. Now, all of a sudden, he's a New York guy because he was born there? How old was he when he left? He was all of eight years old!!!
It's like calling tennis great Michael Chang being from Hoboken because has born there. His family left when he was an infant. Or the punky QB known as Jim McMahon being from Jersey City. His family left when he was four.
So now Anthony's a New Yorker who said he watched Bernard King when King was a star for the Knicks. Only one problem there. Anthony was born in 1984. King played for the Knicks from 1982 through 1987, with the final two years being limited after a severe knee injury.
That's obviously having a tremendous memory for a two-year-old.
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  1. Think the NBA is going to have some sort of franchise tag like the NFL so Deron will be around if the league does not do that you are gonna have four our five teams that can compete every year and the rest will not have a chance. If for some reason he signs with someone else the Nets are done.

  2. Mike, I think the NBA would never allow franchise tags like the NFL...I think they will continue to institute the policy that teams can sign their own free agents at a higher salary than the teams pursuing free agents. I agree that if the Nets don't retain Williams somehow, it's a bad trade...but from hearing Williams speak today, I think he's going to be a Net for a long time