NBA Rumors: Portland Trail Blazers Giving Maurice Harkless $42 Million

Portland Trail Blazers forward Maurice Harkless

Building a competitive NBA team can become rather expensive. According to ESPN, the Portland Trail Blazers are signing Maurice Harkless to a four-year contract worth approximately $42 million. The move will enable the franchise to keep together a very young core that overachieved by making it to the playoffs last season.

At just 23 years of age, Maurice Harkless is considered an impact player with a bright future and a high upside. Those were the words utilized by Portland Trail Blazers president of basketball operations Neil Olshey when he announced that the team had finalized the long-term deal with Harkless this week.

With the Orlando Magic trying to reshape their roster, the Portland Trail Blazers received quite the discount when they acquired Maurice Harkless. It only cost them a second round draft pick in 2020 to obtain the services of the 6-foot-9 small forward. Most NBA teams would gladly pay that cost to get a guy that was formerly a 15th overall selection.

When looking at the numbers that Maurice Harkless has put up during his short career in the NBA, nothing really stands out. However, the Portland Trail Blazers are essentially paying for potential. Many believe that Harkless can become a defensive stopper on the perimeter and inside.

Portland Trail Blazers head coach Terry Stott is one of the most underrated minds in the NBA. Last season, he felt comfortable enough to experiment with Maurice Harkless guarding the likes of Golden State Warriors shooting guard Klay Thompson and Los Angeles Clippers point guard Chris Paul, two of the best players in the world.

Even with the $42 million contract, Maurice Harkless is more than likely going to be a bench player in the NBA next season. He’s a young guy that still needs a lot of developmental work before he is viewed as a legitimate starter.

Portland Trail Blazers guard Damian Lillard
In a very shocking move, the Portland Trail Blazers signed Evan Turner to a four-year contract worth approximately $70 million, as reported by Sports Illustrated. The belief is that the former Boston Celtics star is going to start at small forward for the Blazers. Many have questioned the fit, but Portland believes that he can help their cause.

The starting power forward position for the Portland Trail Blazers currently belongs to Ed Davis. He has the unenviable task of trying to replace LaMarcus Aldridge, who decided to leave for the San Antonio Spurs last summer. Maurice Harkless can attempt to wrest the job away from Davis this upcoming season.

To their credit, the Portland Trail Blazers committed $75 million into keeping Allen Crabbe around. He provides depth behind Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, who agreed to a $106 million contract this week. While it may seem like a ton of money to NBA fans, the Blazers know that it is something that needed to be done to keep the team competitive.

Portland Trail Blazers guard CJ McCollum
Life in the Western Conference became a whole lot harder after what went down this summer. Kevin Durant decided to leave the Oklahoma City Thunder to sign with the dominant Golden State Warriors.

It makes all the sense in the world that people are predicting that the Golden State Warriors will make it back to the NBA Finals for the third consecutive season. However, teams in the Western Conference cannot simply roll over and die. The Portland Trail Blazers are going to try their best to pull off the upset.

Casual NBA fans are not going to be overly excited about the Portland Trail Blazers signing Maurice Harkless to a contract extension. However, those that watch the NBA closely know that something special is being built in the northwest.

[Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images]