Another minute passes and another free agent is rumored to have the Lakers interest. It was reported by Alex Kennedy of Basketball Insiders that the Lakers are interested in Maurice “Moe” Harkless.
The Pistons, Wizards, Bulls, Lakers and Mavericks are among the teams interested in restricted free agent Moe Harkless, per sources.
— Alex Kennedy (@AlexKennedyNBA) July 1, 2016
The 23 year old forward out of St Johns was initially drafted by the 76ers. After a few trades, he wound up having a solid year in Portland. The 6’9 wing had a solid season coming off the bench for the Trail Blazers. Scoring 6 points per game and grabbing 3 rebounds, his numbers aren’t great. However, his main focus was bringing defense off the bench. His per 36 numbers paint the picture of a forward that could play important minutes when given the opportunity.
Restricted Free Agent
Since this is Harkless’ first foray into free agency, he is a restricted free agent. What this means is that Portland can match any team that signs him to an offer sheet. The good news for teams is that unlike Jordan Clarkson, he was a first round selection. This means that the Arenas Rule does not apply to him. A team could offer him a max contract if they wanted, but Portland would have the right to match it. A writer’s prediction is that he will be worth around the 6-7 million range depending on the years.
Overall, Moe Harkless would be a great pickup for the Lakers. Possibly most importantly, it would likely signal the end of Nick Young’s time as a Laker. Harkless could be the backup defensive wing that makes an impact off the bench. Depending on what the Lakers may end up offering, he could be an excellent steal. That said, the Trail Blazers could steal him right back by matching their offer. If he agrees to sign with the Lakers, the ball will be in Portland’s court.