The New York Knicks acquired Maurice Harkless at the 2020 NBA Trade Deadline. Rumor has it the plan is to sign Harkless beyond this season.
When the New York Knicks traded Marcus Morris to the Los Angeles Clippers, many focused on the draft picks that were acquired in the exchange. It’s hard not to, as the Knicks flipped a veteran on a one-year deal for multiple long-term assets.
Few focused as heavily on Maurice Harkless, however, with the general assumption being that he would be bought out of his contract.
Instead, Harkless played 12 games for the Knicks before the 2019-20 NBA regular season was placed on hold. He averaged 23.8 minutes per game during those outings, including the 41 minutes he played in New York’s final game before the shutdown.
According to Ian Begley of SNY, rival executives expect the Knicks to have a genuine interest in re-signing Harkless beyond the 2019-20 season.
With that being said, opposing executives expected the Knicks to be among the teams to have interest in Harkless as a free agent. Those executives were speaking before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
This shouldn’t come as too much of a surprise, although it will be interesting to see how much money the Knicks are willing to invest in a player with 2021 on the horizon.
Harkless, 26, could have a reason to re-sign with the Knicks. He was born and raised in Queens, played a season with the St. John’s Red Storm, and has both family and friends who continue to live in New York City.
If being close to home is important to Harkless, then re-signing with the Knicks would certainly be a way to accomplish that goal.
As for what he brings to the table, Harkless is a defensively versatile forward who has flashed the potential to be a floor-spacing 4.
Harkless is shooting below 35 percent from beyond the arc and under 60 percent at the charity stripe in 2019-20. However, he’s an athletic 6’7″ combo forward who can slash and finish, and even converted 37.0 percent of his attempts from distance while playing for the Clippers.
Harkless also has 33 games of postseason experience, including the pivotal role he played for the Portland Trail Blazers during their run to the 2019 Western Conference Finals.
The New York Knicks aren’t firmly committed to re-signing Maurice Harkless, but it’s a genuine possibility with free agency just three months away.