Maurice Harkless

Southeast Notes: Bradley, Adebayo, Gallinari, Pasecniks, MCW

Introduced on Tuesday as a newly-signed member of the Heat, guard Avery Bradley cited the oft-lauded “Heat culture” as one of the key reasons why he wanted to join the team, as Anthony Chiang and Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald write.

“I always felt like if I ever got an an opportunity to play here, I would fit in perfect,” Bradley said. “Once the opportunity presented itself, I knew I would take advantage of it. I’m excited because I do feel like I’m a perfect fit. We all know what it means to be a Miami Heat player — the passion, the dedication it takes to be a part of this culture. I think our team is going to be really good. I’m excited to be part of Miami and part of a great culture like this. I felt wanted.”

Maurice Harkless, who also officially signed with Miami this week, said talking to former Portland teammate Meyers Leonard helped convince him to join the Heat.

“The big thing that Meyers said and he talked about all the time was just the people in the organization and how everyone carried themselves and how everyone came to work every day,” Harkless said. “It’s just what everybody else talks about, the culture. He really embraced it and he spoke highly of everything that goes on in this organization. Hearing that from him, it made my decision a lot easier.”

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • After reaching an agreement with the Heat on a maximum-salary extension on Tuesday, Bam Adebayo told reporters – including Chiang and Jackson – that he never really had a conversation with the team about waiting until next year to sign his new deal. “Me and (Heat president Pat Riley) met one on one, and we kind of talked through it,” Adebayo said. “We both thought it was the right decision.”
  • The third year on Danilo Gallinari‘s new $61.5MM contract with the Hawks will only be partially guaranteed, according to Chris Kirschner of The Athletic, who tweets that the forward will be assured of $5MM of his $21.4MM salary in that final year (2022/23).
  • The Wizards and big man Anzejs Pasecniks have agreed to push back his salary guarantee deadline from this week to February 1, reports ESPN’s Bobby Marks (Twitter link). Pasecniks, who currently has a $350K guarantee on his $1.5MM salary, may have been waived if Washington had been forced to make an immediate decision.
  • Michael Carter-Williams‘ new two-year deal with the Magic features two fully guaranteed seasons worth $3.3MM apiece, according to Marks (Twitter link).

Eastern Contract Details: Heat, Rondo, Harris, Clark, Raptors

Although Maurice Harkless‘ one-year, $3.623MM deal is exactly the same amount as the bi-annual exception, the Heat completed the signing using a portion of their mid-level exception, according to Keith Smith of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link). Avery Bradley received the remaining portion of the $9.258MM MLE, for a first-year salary of $5.635MM, Smith adds (via Twitter).

The Heat will still be hard-capped as a result of using the full mid-level exception, but they now retain their bi-annual exception to use either this season or next year, if they remain over the cap in 2021/22.

Smith (Twitter link) also passes along the exact details on Meyers Leonard‘s new contract with the Heat, which has a $9.4MM first-year salary and a team option for 2021/22 worth $10.152MM.

Here are a few more specific details on some of the new free agent contracts signed in the last couple days, via Smith unless otherwise indicated:

  • Rajon Rondo‘s two-year, $15MM deal with the Hawks has matching cap hits of $7.5MM this season and next year. It also includes $750K in annual bonuses – tied to games played and playoff appearances – that could increase the annual value to $8.25MM (Twitter link).
  • Joe Harris‘ new four-year contract with the Nets technically has a base value of $72MM, with $500K in annual bonuses tied to games played, playoff games played, and team performance (Twitter link).
  • The Magic used part of their mid-level exception to sign Gary Clark to a contract starting at $2MM. His $2.1MM second-year salary won’t become guaranteed until seven days after the 2021 moratorium (Twitter link).
  • The Raptors‘ deals for Aron Baynes, Chris Boucher, and DeAndre’ Bembry will all be non-guaranteed in year two rather than technically featuring team options, tweets Michael Grange of Sportsnet.ca. That means they’ll have to be waived next summer if Toronto doesn’t want to retain them for two years.

Heat Sign Maurice Harkless To One-Year Deal

NOVEMBER 23: The Heat have officially signed Harkless to his new deal, the team confirmed in a press release.

“We have always liked what Moe Harkless brings to a team,” Heat president Pat Riley said in a statement. “We like his experience in knowing the role he will play for us real well. Moe can guard multiple positions, play above the rim, great shot blocker for his position and most importantly for our offense, space the floor with his three-point shooting. He is a player with great character and toughness.”


NOVEMBER 21: The Heat have reached an agreement to sign Maurice Harkless to a one-year contract worth $3.6MM, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter).

As Wojnarowski explains (via Twitter), Harkless passed up on more lucrative offers for an opportunity to play a regular role for the defending Eastern champions and intends to re-enter the market in 2021 when more league-wide cap room is available.

Harkless, 27, began the 2019/20 season with the Clippers and was a regular starter during his first 50 games in Los Angeles. He was traded to the Knicks in a deadline deal.

In 62 overall games, Harkless averaged 5.8 PPG and 3.9 RPG on .502/.347/.591 in 23.0 minutes per contest. He’s considered a solid perimeter defender, though his three-point shot comes and goes — he has a career rate of just 32.5% from beyond the arc.

Miami will likely slide Harkless into the rotation role vacated by Derrick Jones, who has agreed to sign with Portland.

The Heat intend to use the bi-annual exception (worth $3.623MM) to sign Harkless, tweets Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press. That would hard-cap Miami for the season at $138.93MM. The one-year commitment will allow the franchise to retain its cap flexibility for 2021.

Cavs Rumors: Thompson, Free Agents, Drummond, No. 5 Pick

The Cavaliers would like to re-sign Tristan Thompson at the right price, but so far, discussions between the two sides have “centered on a number lower than Thompson would want,” according to Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. Thompson had an $18.5MM salary in 2019/20 and presumably won’t want to see that number decrease too significantly going forward. However, that may simply be the veteran’s reality now, Fedor writes.

As Fedor points out, John Hollinger of The Athletic and ESPN’s Brian Windhorst have both recently suggested that Thompson may be no more than a minimum-salary free agent. It sounds like the Cavs will offer him more than that, so the big man may have to decide whether he wants to stay in Cleveland at that higher number or compete for a title elsewhere on a more modest deal. He appears unlikely to get a sizeable offer from a contender, Fedor notes.

If Thompson doesn’t re-sign with the Cavaliers, the team will probably have to dedicate a portion of its mid-level exception to signing a center. Fedor identifies Harry Giles, Aron Baynes, Thon Maker, and Nerlens Noel as some free agents who could be possibilities for Cleveland.

Here’s more from Fedor on the Cavs:

  • Sources tell Fedor that the Cavaliers were hoping to pursue Jerami Grant in free agency, but now expect him to be out of their price range. The team still aims to add athletic, defensive-minded players — Derrick Jones, Maurice Harkless, Kris Dunn, and Pat Connaughton are a few of the potential targets singled out by Fedor.
  • If and when Andre Drummond officially opts in for 2020/21, it’s possible the Cavaliers will view him and his expiring contract as a potential trade chip. However, Fedor’s sources believe Cleveland would have a better chance of moving Drummond at the trade deadline rather than in the offseason, so it sounds like the veteran center will spend at least part of the season in Cleveland.
  • Multiple members of Cleveland’s front office like Tyrese Haliburton, but after using their previous two lottery picks on guards, the Cavs seem unlikely to opt for Haliburton over an “equally-talented” prospect who fills a greater need. Fedor believes Deni Avdija, Onyeka Okongwu, Isaac Okoro, and Obi Toppin are – in no particular order – the best bets to be the Cavs’ pick at No. 5.

Michael Kidd-Gilchrist On Knicks’ Radar

Veteran forward Michael Kidd-Gilchrist is on the Knicks‘ radar as a potential free agent target, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post.

As Berman explains, there are a handful of reasons why Kidd-Gilchrist appeals to New York — he’s a defensive-minded player who would fit in under new head coach Tom Thibodeau, and the Knicks view him as a “solid locker room guy.”

Additionally, Kidd-Gilchrist has ties to coaches and executives who have joined the Knicks organization over the course of the year. The former No. 2 overall pick played his college ball at Kentucky under new Knicks assistant Kenny Payne, and is a client of CAA, the agency Knicks president of basketball operations Leon Rose ran before joining the franchise.

While Kidd-Gilchrist may draw some interest from teams in need of another wing defender, he’s not expected to command a significant salary. The Knicks view him as someone who could help shore up their defense off the bench at a modest price, according to Berman, who notes that the team is unlikely to re-sign free agent forward Maurice Harkless.

Kidd-Gilchrist spent the first seven-and-a-half years of his career in Charlotte, averaging 8.6 PPG and 5.5 RPG in 433 total games (25.1 MPG) for the club. He was bought out after last season’s trade deadline and joined the Mavericks for the stretch run, but played sparingly for Dallas. Having made just 27.2% of his 103 career three-point attempts, Kidd-Gilchrist can’t be relied upon as a floor spacer.

Knicks Notes: Woodson, Assistants, Thibodeau, Harkless

Former Knicks head coach Mike Woodson, who interviewed for the team’s top coaching position again this time around, is expected to rejoin the organization in some capacity, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

There were rumors during the Knicks’ coaching search that Woodson was a candidate to be hired as an assistant, so Charania’s report doesn’t come as a real surprise. Still, it’s worth noting that on a conference call with reporters on Thursday, Knicks GM Scott Perry said that Thibodeau will have the autonomy to build his own coaching staff, as Stefan Bondy of The New York Daily News tweets. Perry added that the staff will be “diverse,” with a focus on player development.

Based on reports to date, it sounds like the support for Woodson has come from within the Knicks organization. If he ends up joining the team’s coaching staff, that should be confirmation that Thibodeau wants him on board as well.

Here’s more on the Knicks and their new head coach:

  • In addition to Woodson, Mike Miller, Rick Brunson, and Daisuke Yoshimoto are the names that Steve Popper of Newsday keeps hearing as possibilities for Thibodeau’s new coaching staff (Twitter link). Brunson and Yoshimoto both worked under Thibs in Minnesota.
  • Speaking to reporters today, Thibodeau cited three main reasons why he viewed the Knicks’ job as an attractive one, tweets Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic. Thibs praised the current roster, referring to it as “young and talented” with “room for growth”; he said he’s excited about the draft assets and cap flexibility the team has at its disposal; and he indicated that the presence of Leon Rose and William Wesley in the front office is also appealing.
  • Maurice Harkless, an unrestricted free agent this fall, isn’t sure whether or not he’ll be back with the Knicks in 2020/21, but he’s intrigued by the hiring of Thibodeau, calling him a “great coach,” writes Marc Berman of The New York Post. Harkless hasn’t played for Thibodeau before, but met him earlier in 2019/20 when the veteran coach visited the Clippers.

Cavaliers Notes: Love, Thompson, Dellavedova, Free Agency

The Cavaliers continue to place a high value on Kevin Love and won’t deal him cheaply just to get rid of his salary, writes Chris Fedor of Cleveland.com. The front office doesn’t regret giving Love a $120MM extension that will last for three more seasons, Fedor adds, and they are confident his production will increase now that clashes with former coach John Beilein will no longer be a distraction.

Cleveland is hoping to move back into playoff contention in 2020/21, which will be the third year of the rebuilding process after the loss of LeBron James. The organization believes the addition of Andre Drummond at the trade deadline will help speed up the process, along with improvement from many of the young players added over the past two years. As the Cavaliers’ most accomplished and most experienced player, Love is expected to be an important part of helping the team become a winner again.

 There’s more Cavs news to pass along:
  • Re-signing center Tristan Thompson could be the team’s most important move of the offseason, Fedor adds in the same story. In addition to his on-court production, Thompson has served as a mentor to the team’s young players, particularly rookie guard Darius Garland. Fedor doesn’t anticipate a competitive market for Thompson given the expected drop in the salary cap and speculates that he might not get any offers above the mid-level exception, which will likely be in the $8-9MM range. The Cavaliers hold Bird rights on Thompson and can easily top that.
  • Cleveland also has to make a choice on whether to bring back veteran guard Matthew Dellavedova, Fedor notes in a separate piece. The 29-year-old guard lost his spot in the rotation under Beilein because of poor shooting, but took advantage of a second chance after J.B. Bickerstaff took over. Fedor says the organization still loves Dellavedova and he will likely return on a low-cost deal.
  • With the Cavaliers needing help at the wing, Kelsey Russo of The Athletic suggests four free agent possibilities: Derrick Jones Jr., Josh Jackson, Jerami Grant and Maurice Harkless.

Restart Notes: Assistant Coaches, McCollum, Health Risks

Assistant coaches around the NBA aren’t sure if they will all be headed to Orlando when the season resumes, writes Sean Deveney of Forbes. On the advice of medical professionals, the league is trying to limit the number of people being brought into the bubble environment, and some teams carry huge coaching staffs.

“Honestly, I don’t know if they’re gonna consider me essential,” said an unidentified assistant. “We’ve got teams who are seven, eight coaches deep, 10 if you count the scouts. They haven’t told us if they’re taking us all. I don’t know how many of us they think they need. I am not sure I want to be there.”

Deveney points out that head coaches are always in the spotlight, but assistants handle the majority of studying film and breaking down match-ups. Head coaches also make significantly higher salaries, which means assistants will be asked to face the same coronavirus hazards for smaller paychecks.

“Look, the head coaches, they’ve got plenty of reason to go back and coach and win,” the assistant said. “There are only 30 head jobs. I want our team to win, too. Coaches at all levels invest a lot personally. But you start talking about the health risks and then the health risks to families? It changes the conversation. We are not getting the same level of pay as everyone else on the floor but we’re taking as much risk.”

There’s more regarding the NBA’s restart:

  • Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum wants contact to resume in workouts before players travel to Orlando, according to Jason Quick of The Athletic. Only individual workouts are permitted at the moment, with contact and group activities banned under the rules regarding the reopening of team facilities. “We have players that need to get contact in for the last steps of clearance,” McCollum said. “I don’t want anyone to get injured because of having over 100 days of no games.”
  • Although there’s strong support among players for finishing the season, some are concerned about the health risks they will face, notes Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. Ganguli talked to Lakers center JaVale McGee, who is at greater risk because he has asthma and suffered from pneumonia last year, and Maurice Harkless, who discussed his concerns before learning that the Knicks wouldn’t be part of the resumption. Harkless didn’t visit family members after the hiatus began because he had just played against the Pistons and Jazz — both teams had players who had tested positive.
  • Joe Vardon of The Athletic examines whether the NBA can recover from what is shaping up to be its worst season ever.

Knicks Notes: Harkless, Dolan, Gibson, Gallinari

The Knicks acquired Maurice Harkless because his contract was needed to complete the deal that sent Marcus Morris to the Clippers, but his performance since the trade has made him a strong candidate to return next season, according to Marc Berman of The New York Post.

Harkless started eight of the 12 games he has played since coming to New York and has impressed the team with his strong defensive play and his desire to be a Knick. New team president Leon Rose had been hoping to closely evaluate Harkless over the final 16 games of the season, but the league’s hiatus may eliminate that opportunity.

“It was a chance for him to showcase to the Knicks and to see if he wanted to be here,’’ a source told Berman. “He always wanted to be a Knick.’’

Harkless is in the final season of a four-year, $40MM contract. Berman expects him to get more than the minimum in free agency.

There’s more this morning from New York:

  • Owner James Dolan was exhibiting some mild symptoms before being tested for coronavirus, Berman tweets. Dolan was courtside for a March 8 game against the Pistons, who had one of the first players to test positive for the virus in Christian Wood. No Knicks players were tested before returning to their homes because they were all asymptomatic.
  • The best chance for Taj Gibson to return to the Knicks is for Tom Thibodeau to become the next head coach, Berman notes in a separate story. Gibson is a favorite of Thibodeau, who has coached him with the Bulls and Timberwolves, but his $9.5MM salary may be more than the organization wants to spend on a backup big man. Gibson has a $1MM guarantee if he is released. “Taj was solid on the court, but he was even better in the locker room,’’ a source said. “He helped (Mitchell Robinson) understand the pro game and how to carry yourself if you want to play in the NBA and have an impact.’’
  • Jonathan Macri of Sports Illustrated lays out an ideal scenario for the Knicks’ offseason, which involves trading Julius Randle, moving on from Elfrid Payton and Dennis Smith Jr., drafting a point guard, trading veterans for draft picks and hiring Kenny Atkinson as head coach. As a bonus, Macri suggests signing former Knick Danilo Gallinari in free agency, speculating that a two-year guaranteed offer might be enough.

Charania’s Latest: Nuggets, Nowitzki, Harkless, Crawford

Before they reached an agreement to sign Troy Daniels this week, the Nuggets considered a handful of other veteran free agents, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic, who identifies Iman Shumpert and Joakim Noah as two players who were on Denver’s radar.

Although the Nuggets chose Daniels for now, that doesn’t necessarily mean that they won’t add another free agent, such as Shumpert or Noah, before the playoffs begin next month. Daniels filled the 14th spot on Denver’s roster, so the team still has one more opening on its 15-man squad.

Here are a few more items of interest from Charania:

  • The Mavericks have a standing job offer out to Dirk Nowitzki, but the longtime Dallas forward isn’t yet ready to take on a formal role with the franchise, says Charania. It’s not clear what sort of job the Mavs are offering Nowitzki — I imagine he’d have plenty of say in his role, depending on what interests him.
  • After not buying out Maurice Harkless by March 1, the Knicks are expected to show interest in re-signing him this summer, sources tell The Athletic. Some playoff teams are planning to pursue Harkless as well, Charania adds.
  • Despite not having played since last spring, Jamal Crawford remains committed to continuing his NBA career, according to Charania, who says the free agent guard – who turns 40 in two weeks – is in shape and ready to go if he gets an opportunity.
  • Earlier today, we passed along Charania’s reports on the Lakers monitoring the market for shooting help, Joel Embiid‘s target return date, and a few pre-deadline trades that ultimately failed to materialize.