After more than a week since this season’s trade deadline, the Los Angeles Lakers have yet to add a free agent via the buyout market, despite rumors that suggested they may be taking this path as they try to improve their chances of winning a championship. However, the team appears to be considering a number of players as potential buyout acquisitions, including New York Knicks small forward Maurice Harkless.
As quoted by SB Nation‘s Silver Screen and Roll, Sam Amick of The Athletic appeared on Tuesday’s edition of ESPN LA 710’s The Sedano Show, where he provided the latest update on the Lakers’ quest to give superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis a better supporting cast ahead of the playoffs. According to Amick, the organization is still “interested” in acquiring Harkless, continuously monitoring his progress following a trade that sent him to the New York Knicks.
After starting 38 out of 50 games for the Los Angeles Clippers, where he averaged 5.5 points, four rebounds, and one assist per game while shooting 51.6 percent from the field and 37 percent from three-point range, Harkless was traded to the Knicks in the deal that sent Marcus Morris to the Clippers. Per his Basketball-Reference player page, he has played just one game for the 17-38 Knicks, tallying four points, five rebounds, and two assists in 25 minutes off the bench.
At this point, it’s unclear whether Harkless would be interested in a buyout or not. However, Marc Berman of the New York Post previously reported that the Knicks would be willing to “accommodate” the veteran forward if he wants to play for a contender. However, it was also stressed that his move to New York now allows him to play in front of his hometown crowd, given that he’s a Queens native who played college basketball at St. John’s University.
In the event Harkless agrees to a buyout, moving to the Lakers would address the team’s need for a bigger wing player. While Silver Screen and Roll wrote that he has the wingspan and defensive aptitude to guard players at multiple positions, the publication also stressed that he cannot be considered a true “three-and-D” player due to his 32.5 percent career shooting clip from three-point territory. Still, the 26-year-old former first-round pick could also be the “best backup” available for James if the Lakers end up signing him.
Harkless is not the only role player whom the Lakers have reportedly shown interest in since the trade deadline passed close to two weeks ago. According to a previous report from The Inquisitr, both Los Angeles teams are apparently targeting combo guard Tyler Johnson, who was waived by the Suns shortly after the deadline.