One restricted free agent who seems to be biding his time is Maurice Harkless, who has an offer from the Portland Trail Blazers, but is still waiting for a better one, hoping that the Los Angeles Lakers, Dallas Mavericks, Utah Jazz, Washington Wizards and Detroit Pistons come through and follow their interest.
Harkless can sign a qualifying offer worth $4 million and become an unrestricted free agent next season; there doesn’t seem to be a market for a long term, rich deal for him at this point, as the 15th overall pick in the 2012 draft hasn’t really done anything special to warrant that kind of offer. After three years in Orlando and moving to Portland, he averaged 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds in 78 games, playing 18.7 minutes per game. It was his best season in terms of per minute numbers, and he did have some good games as a starter, but overall, it wasn’t the kind of season he was hoping for.
The problem for Harkless, besides the perception of him that hasn’t changed, is that he isn’t a very good shooter, and in today’s NBA, it’s hard to get teams excited about paying a small forward (and a big one at that, playing a lot of power forward too last season) that is hitting only 27.9% of his three pointers, although he did have a season of shooting 38% from beyond the arc his sophomore year in the NBA when still playing for the Magic.
Another problem for Harkless is he’s a bit late to the party. Most of the teams that showed interest in him are a bit further down their team building process, and if there’s room for him, it might not be for the money he was hoping to make. It’s a lot about timing, as much as it is about ability in the NBA signing period. It’s not going to be too surprising if he ends up going back to the Blazers for $4 million a year, hoping to build up his “brand” so the next free agency period goes better for him.