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Atlanta • Some moves in the NBA come out of nowhere. Total surprises.
Like the one that brought Devin Harris to the Utah Jazz in 2010 when the Jazz decided to cut their losses on Deron Williams and rebuild. The one that shipped him out 17 months later? Not so much.
"It was a writing on the wall when Mo [Williams] came with expiring contract," said Harris, whom the Jazz traded to the Hawks last summer for small forward Marvin Williams.
Harris, 29, has played one game since missing 11 with an injured foot and will play against the Jazz on Friday at Philips Arena in Atlanta in a game laden with storylines of reunions and homecomings.
In some ways, after a tenure with the Jazz that Harris conceded "didn't last very long," his connection is easy to overlook.
He didn't win over the fans in the way Kyle Korver did in two-and-a-half seasons with the Jazz. He didn't build a life in Salt Lake City the way Jazz small forward Marvin Williams did in Atlanta.
But he holds a notable role in Jazz history: He was the point guard who replaced Deron Williams.
"It was a fun time while I was there," Harris said. "Fans embraced me, enjoyed spending time there. Didn't last very long, with expiring contracts and all that other stuff."
With the Hawks, Harris is playing a primarily backup role for the first time since early in his career.
He averages just 7.3 points per game 22.5 minutes. Both numbers are his lowest since his rookie season with the Mavericks in 2004-05. Asked if it was difficult to move to the bench, Harris said, "At first. The way we do it now you never know, you may be starting. We just keep them guessing with the lineups we throw out there."
Harris helped the Jazz back to the playoffs last season, where they were swept in the first round by the San Antonio Spurs. Still, he said it was the highlight of his tenure with the Jazz.
"We started out well," he said, "then we dipped a little bit and we came back strong. It's good to prove people wrong. Nobody thought we'd be in that position, obviously we'd have liked to extend it a little bit longer."
Bill Oram <