Maurice “Moe” Harkless is still without an NBA team. It is surprising to think that a talented NBA player who is available on the free agency market does not currently have a team. Moe Harkless does not even have an offer to take back to his last employer, the Portland Trailblazers. That has the NBA rumor mill buzzing about what is next for the athletic small forward.
A lot of money has been promised by several NBA free agents over the past 12 days. Some of those players deserve the rewards of a new contract, while others were signed to head scratching deals. Meanwhile, Moe Harkless, a player with a lot of upside, is missing out on the spending frenzy.
Because Harkless is a restricted free agent, meaning the Portland Trailblazers can match any offer he agrees to, no teams will touch him. According to a tweet by CSN Northwest’s Jason Quick, Moe Harkless may wind up just taking the qualifying offer extended to him earlier in the NBA offseason. Doing so will keep him with the Trailblazers for one more season. Moe Harkless can then hit NBA free agency next year with the ability to sign with any team he chooses.
Taking the Trailblazers up on the qualifying offer of $4 million is still a raise for Harkless. He will reportedly make his decision, as reported by the Blazers Edge, in the next couple of days.
Agent for Maurice Harkless says they are in "no rush" on contract, but should have resolution in next couple days. Taking 1-year QO in play
— Jason Quick (@jwquick) July 10, 2016
Moe Harkless is the Blazers last free agent remaining, and could consider taking the Qualifying Offer. https://t.co/ggC1A6i5jo
— Blazer's Edge (@Blazersedge) July 11, 2016
Going back to the Portland Trailblazers on the qualifying offer could pan out well for Harkless. It gives him another season to prove himself as he looks to build on his strong run in the NBA Playoffs. Many of the teams that were in the running for him this offseason may not be in the position to sign him, but there will be plenty of money to go around.
It was the Nets which gave swingman Allen Crabbe a free agency offer sheet of four years and $75 million. By putting a deal on the table with an average annual salary of $18.75 million, the Nets were hoping that the Trailblazers would not match. Their thinking was that Crabbe would continue to blossom as he did during last season.
It was a surprise when the Trailblazers did match the Nets’ offer for Allen Crabbe. It may turn out to be a blessing in disguise for the Brooklyn Nets.
Crabbe is a fit for what the Trailblazers are trying to build with a young and athletic core because of his length and ability to compliment the guards. Playing off Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum is one thing. Playing side by side with Jeremy Lin is another. Crabbe would have been a starter with the Nets, but he is Sixth Man of the Year material in Portland.
Because the Trailblazers matched the Nets’ offer for Crabbe, it is only fair to believe they would do the same with Moe Harkless if he were offered a contract.
If it were not for their surprising signing of Dwyane Wade it is believed that the Bulls would have gone after Harkless, according to the Daily Herald’s Mike McGraw.
No point worrying about whether Wade is using #Bulls for leverage. Free-agency is basically over. It's this or a Moe Harkless offer sheet.
— Mike McGraw (@McGrawDHBulls) July 6, 2016
Harkless would have given the Bulls what they wanted in youth and athleticism. It is hard to fault the Bulls for going after Wade first. Dwyane Wade is a better player at 34-years-old than Moe Harkless is at 23. That does not suggest that Harkless will never get there, but the patience may work out from everyone’s end.
One more year with the Portland Trailblazers under the qualifying offer will not hurt Moe Harkless. And he can be free to join the Brooklyn Nets, the Chicago Bulls or any other team he wants.
[Photo by Harry How/Getty Images]