7:17pm: Harris will miss two to three months, a league source tells Chris Haynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer and the Northeast Ohio Media Group (Twitter link). That would bring him back shortly before the end of the regular season.
4:56pm: Cavaliers reserve shooting guard Joe Harris will undergo surgery to remove a bone in his right foot, and it’s unclear whether he’ll return to play this season, agent Mark Bartelstein tells Dave McMenamin of ESPN.com (Twitter link). The Cavs were reportedly seeking a second-round pick as they made Harris available in trade talk, as Jason Lloyd of the Akron Beacon Journal reported last month, but the injury threatens to foil those efforts.
The news complicates Cleveland’s decision regarding Jared Cunningham, whose non-guaranteed contract becomes fully guaranteed if the team doesn’t waive him by the close of business on Thursday. Cunningham’s emergence and the team’s projected luxury tax bill were behind Cleveland’s interest in trading Harris, as Lloyd wrote. Dealing away Harris, who makes a fully guaranteed one-year veteran’s minimum salary of $845,059 this season, for no salary in return would help offset the cost of keeping Cunningham, whose full-season salary would cost the Cavs $947,276 plus a luxury tax hit of roughly four times that amount. Keeping Harris would entail a tax cost of about four times his salary, too, depending on other moves the team might make between now and the last day of the regular season, the date when the tax is accounted for.
Harris hasn’t appeared in a game for Cleveland since November 23rd, though he last played December 19th in the D-League while on an assignment that ended the next day. The Cavs picked him 33rd overall in the 2014 draft, but that was shortly before LeBron James announced his decision to return to the franchise, putting Cleveland in a win-now mode that hasn’t afforded Harris much opportunity at the NBA level. He’s become even more of an afterthought this season, as he’s logged only 15 total NBA minutes so far in 2015/16 after averaging 9.1 minutes per night across 51 games during his rookie campaign. The 24-year-old has posted 16.4 points in 33.1 minutes per game for the D-League Canton Charge this year. The Cavs have used his D-League time to showcase him for other NBA teams, according to Lloyd.