Lakers Considering Adding Harkless After Workout, Meeting

The Lakers “have given some internal consideration” to signing free agent forward Maurice Harkless to address their lack of wing depth, as Marc Stein writes at Substack.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium (Twitter link), the Lakers hosted Harkless for a workout and meeting this week.

Harkless was traded three times during the offseason. The first deal saw him head from Sacramento to Atlanta as part of the Kevin Huerter deal, then he was dealt to the Thunder in a cost-cutting move that put the Hawks under the luxury tax, and finally he was part of the eight-player trade between Houston and Oklahoma City.

The Rockets ended up waiving Harkless due to a roster crunch — they had too many players on guaranteed standard contracts and plenty of depth at forward.

A 10-year veteran, Harkless has played for the Magic, Trail Blazers, Clippers, Knicks, Heat and Kings since being selected with the 15th overall pick in 2012. Known as a solid, switchable defender, Harkless hold career averages of 6.9 PPG, 3.5 RPG and 0.9 SPG on .474/.320/.624 shooting in 621 regular season games (371 starts, 22.6 MPG).

As Stein noted in his article, while Harkless does provide some size (6’7″, 220 pounds) and versatility (he’s capable of handling either forward spot), his 32% career mark from three-point range isn’t ideal for a Lakers team that has struggled to convert outside shots in the early going. Still, he provides playoff experience, toughness and is only 29 years old, so it’s not as if he’s nearing the end of his basketball career like so many of the veterans on last season’s roster were.

If the Lakers do end up signing Harkless, they’d have to waive a player on the 15-man roster because it’s currently full. Wenyen Gabriel and Matt Ryan, both of whom are playing on non-guaranteed deals, would be the players most likely to be cut in that scenario (Ryan has averaged 15 minutes per night across the first two games and is one of the few shooters on the roster, so his spot might be safer than Gabriel’s).

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