Joe Harris is one of those incredibly useful role players every NBA team would be lucky to have. He was also unemployed not too long ago.

Jan. 12, 2016, was a miserable day for Harris. It started with foot surgery. That was the best part of his bad morning. He was still in recovery when he got a call from the Cleveland Cavaliers and heard one of the most dispiriting phrases in the English language: You’ve been traded to the Orlando Magic. But he never made it to Orlando. He was waived first. Harris came to the hospital on one team and left after being cut by another team.

He wouldn’t have a job for the next six months.

When the Cavaliers played the Golden State Warriors in the Finals, he was playing in pickup games at the New York Athletic Club. The classic Game 7 that delivered Cleveland its first championship? He watched from his childhood home in rural Washington. Harris put his odds of returning to the NBA at 50/50.

“I was on the outside looking in,” he said.

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