Maurice Harkless

Heat Notes: FA Signings, Offseason, Nunn, 2020 Finals Run

The free agent role player additions the Heat acquired this summer, Avery Bradley and Maurice Harkless, have underwhelmed in Miami thus far, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.

Bradley, signed to a two-year, $11.6MM deal (with a team option for year two), is averaging 8.5 PPG, 1.8 RPG, 1.4 APG and 0.7 SPG in just 10 games, and will now miss at least 3-4 weeks of action due to a right calf injury. Forward Harkless, signed to a one-year, $3.6MM contract, is out of the Heat’s rotation. He has appeared in just nine games for Miami, averaging a career-low 10.7 MPG.

There’s more out of South Beach:

Eight Heat Players Unavailable Due To COVID-19 Protocols

3:58pm: In addition to Bradley, the Heat will be without the following players for Tuesday’s game in Philadelphia due to the NBA’s health and safety protocols, per Reynolds (Twitter link): Jimmy Butler, Goran Dragic, Bam Adebayo, Kendrick Nunn, Maurice Harkless, Udonis Haslem, and KZ Okpala.

That would leave the team with nine available players, assuming everyone else is healthy. Meyers Leonard (shoulder) is currently listed as questionable, while Kelly Olynyk (groin) and Gabe Vincent (knee) are probable, Reynolds notes (via Twitter).


2:14pm: The Heat are preparing to be without “at least five” players for the next several days due to possible exposure to the coronavirus, reports Tim Reynolds of The Associated Press.

Miami didn’t have the required minimum of eight players available on Sunday due to an inconclusive COVID-19 test and subsequent contact tracing, per Shams Charania of The Athletic. As a result, the team’s scheduled game in Boston was postponed. Subsequently, the Heat spent Sunday and Monday awaiting the results of the NBA’s contact tracing investigation to find out which players may be required to self-isolate for the next week, says Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald.

According to Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel, the Heat are arranging for the players who need to self-isolate due to contact tracing to fly back to Miami on a private plane. The player who tested positive for COVID-19 will be sequestered in a hotel, while the rest of the team flies to Philadelphia in anticipation of playing vs. the Sixers.

Based on Winderman’s report, it sounds like the Heat expect to have enough players to resume their schedule on Tuesday vs. Philadelphia, though we don’t know yet who will and won’t be available. Avery Bradley‘s absence due to the league’s health and safety protocols was the only one reported on Sunday — all signs point to Bradley being the player who tested positive for the coronavirus, Winderman notes, but that hasn’t been confirmed.

Heat Notes: Harkless, Silva, Trades, Butler

New Heat forward Maurice Harkless was impressed by team president Pat Riley‘s recruitment process, per Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel. The Heat added Harkless on a one-year, $3.6MM deal last month.

Harkless and his fellow new addition, guard Avery Bradley, will be expected to make up for the perimeter defense and three-point shooting of Jae Crowder, who left for the Suns in the offseason. In 62 games played for the Clippers and Knicks last season, Harkless averaged 5.8 PPG and 3.9 RPG across 23.0 MPG. He shot 34.7% from long range last season, and 50.2% from the field.

There’s more out of South Beach:

  • Heat reserve big man Chris Silva could be due to take a leap in his second season, per Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald. Silva knows one area in which he can improve: fouling. “The less fouls I have, the more of an option I am for coaches to put me back in, to actually have a choice to use me in different moments,” Silva said. “Of course, the foul trouble thing has been a big emphasis, from learning and watching film on how to play defense the right way, how to make reads on defense so I don’t get in foul trouble.”
  • Ira Winderman of the South Florida Sun Sentinel wonders if the Heat should wait out the trade market before making any moves, as the asking price for Rockets superstar guard James Harden is currently fairly steep. There may be mutual interest in a Harden deal.
  • Fresh off a career-best postseason run that saw him lead Miami to its first Finals appearance since 2014, Heat All-Star swingman Jimmy Butler has remained vocal in team training camp, as  Winderman details for the Sun Sentinel.

Heat Notes: Frontcourt, FAs, Achiuwa, Dragic, Olynyk

Based on their offseason moves, the Heat certainly don’t appear to be focusing on playing any smaller during the 2020/21 season, writes Ira Winderman of The South Florida Sun Sentinel.

As Winderman observes, the club drafted Precious Achiuwa with its first-round pick, re-signed Meyers Leonard and Udonis Haslem, extended Bam Adebayo, and didn’t trade Kelly Olynyk after he picked up his player option. Chris Silva is also back on a guaranteed salary, with undrafted free agent Paul Eboua vying for a two-way contract.

“I feel like it’ll work because we brought back a lot of skilled big men,” Adebayo said on Sunday. “All of us are versatile. When you got bigs that are versatile, that can help the team and help the guards do different things, it just makes our team better. … Then you have two of us out there on the court at the same time, it’s a big difference. I feel like us being so versatile at the big spot is going to help us out a lot this year.”

Despite the Heat’s size up front, the team is confident it’ll be able to comfortably adjust against any team playing small ball.

“Just because some of us are big men doesn’t necessarily mean we’re put in a box and, ‘Oh, man, if a team goes small, there’s nothing we can do about it,'” Leonard said. “No, no, we still have plenty of athleticism, plenty of versatility at the big position and all the way throughout our roster.”

Here’s more on the Heat:

  • Discussing the Heat’s new free agent additions, head coach Erik Spoelstra referred to Avery Bradley and Maurice Harkless as “plug-and-play guys” and said the team has been fans of both players “for a while,” as Anthony Chiang of The Miami Herald writes. “The way they play, they can fit in really in anybody’s system,” Spoelstra said of the two veteran wings.
  • Within that same Herald story, Spoelstra explained that Precious Achiuwa‘s improvement over the course of his freshman year at Memphis and a belief that his game will translate to the next level were factors in the Heat’s decision to draft him at No. 20. “His athleticism, his quickness, his fluidity, his ability to play multiple positions jumped off the screen,” Spoelstra added, per Chiang.
  • After beginning individual workouts last week, Heat point guard Goran Dragic was encouraged by how his left foot felt. A torn plantar fascia in that foot sidelined Dragic during the NBA Finals. “I just finished three straight hard practices, running, shooting,” he said, according to Chiang. “My foot reacted well, no pain, nothing. Just a little bit of stiffness in the morning and that’s it.”
  • While a $12.6MM guarantee was likely a major factor, Kelly Olynyk said this weekend that a desire for continuity following a short offseason also contributed to his decision to exercise his 2020/21 player option. “The way the league is going and the new season just jumped upon us, it just made sense to come back here to a familiar place and continue what we had,” Olynyk said, per Khobi Price of The Sun Sentinel.

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.