Update: Moe Harkless stated on Twitter overnight that his comments were meant in jest, and not to be taken seriously.
Lol damn, last time I make a joke with one of you guys https://t.co/aMsGXDIgi3— Maurice Harkless (@moe_harkless) December 31, 2016
The Portland Trail Blazers hold a very disappointing 14-21 record and have lost 11 of the last 13 games. Despite increasing external scrutiny, the players and management have maintained a singular front, preaching that unity and improved effort can still salvage the season.
After tonight’s 110-94 loss to the San Antonio Spurs, Maurice Harkless voiced frustration to CSN NW’s Jason Quick. Harkless went so far as to offer to reveal the team’s problems if CSN turned the camera off, according to Quick:
I kind of, almost, got Maurice Harkless to say something. I asked him the same question: Why, with the same roster, aren't you guys playing at the same level? He said, “I can't put my finger on it, I don't know.”
And then the camera went down, and he said, “If the camera was off, I'd tell you.” And I said, “Well, it's off, tell me,” and he said “No, not right now.” So, he kind of left that open-ended. Clearly this is a team that’s trying to find itself.
Video of Quick explaining the conversation via Talkin’ Ball on Comcast SportsNet Northwest:
The original video is available via CSN NW’s web site.
From an outsider’s perspective Harkless’ unstated grievances may be justified. This summer, the Blazers signed Harkless only after resolving all of their other free agency obligations.
Despite that, Harkless earned a starting spot during the preseason and has averaged 12.2 points and 5.2 rebounds per game while also serving as the team’s best defender. He has, arguably, been the team’s third best player, and one of the only Blazers to exceed expectations. Meanwhile, the majority of Harkless’ teammates, including the highly paid Allen Crabbe and Evan Turner, have played well below expectations.
UPDATE (Dec. 31, 12:27 AM): Quick has reached out to Blazer’s Edge to add further context to Harkless’ comments: