Will Maurice Harkless return to the New York Knicks next season?
What this means: Team president Leon Rose has plenty of decisions to make in the coming weeks on forwards who are on team options or non-guaranteed deals. Harkless is the one forward who is not under team-control, although it probably wouldn’t require much to bring him back on a low-cost deal.
As Rose decides how to shape his roster for the 2020-21 season, it makes sense that he would look to change the composition of the bench.
Harkless, 27, is coming off a four-year, $42 million contract that he signed with the Blazers. In the current financial environment, it’s unclear what the market will look like for his services. Cleveland is one team who has been mentioned as a possible landing spot.
The NBPA recently voted to approve a plan to start the 2020-21 season on December 22, with free agency expected to commence in mid-November. If Harkless is in fact gone, the Knicks will need to find wing depth in the draft or via free agency.
Missed opportunity: After acquiring the St. John’s alum in the trade that sent Marcus Morris to the Clippers, Harkless played 12 games for the Knicks, averaging 6.8 points on 45.5 percent shooting, but struggled mightily from three, shooting 7-25 over a small sample.
His poor three-point accuracy might seem like a footnote, but by finishing the season at 34.7 percent between his time with both the Knicks and Clippers, he fell 0.3 precent short of meeting the 35 percent threshold that would have qualified him for a $500,000 bonus. Of course, the season was suddenly cut short due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Harkless was born in Queens and has called Madison Square Garden home while playing for both St. John’s and the Knicks.