Portland Trail Blazers restricted free agent forward Maurice Harkless is no closer to signing with an NBA team, according to Jason Quick of CSNNW, though Harkless' agent Happy Walters suggests that he is still a desired asset:
Walters says several teams have shown interest in Harkless, but the small forward wants to re-sign with Portland. However, talks with the Blazers have shown "no movement" in recent days.
If Harkless receives an offer from another team, the Blazers will have three days to decide whether to match the offer.
Harkless, who last season became a late-season starter at small forward and was a catalyst to the Blazers’ playoff run into the second round, was given a $4 million qualifying offer in June, which is a 125% raise from last season. Walters said there is a chance Harkless will accept the one-year qualifying offer and become an unrestricted free agent after the 2016-2017 season.
Harkless has been allowed to sign elsewhere since July 7, and the market is slowly drying up as teams fill out their rosters. On June 30, NBA insider Alex Kennedy reported that the Detroit Pistons, Washington Wizards, Chicago Bulls, Los Angeles Lakers, and Dallas Mavericks were among interested teams. Since, then those teams have signed the following forwards, while making other salary commitments as well:
- Jon Leuer (DET)
- Andrew Nicholson (WAS)
- Luol Deng (LAL)
- Harrison Barnes (DAL)
If nothing develops, Harkless' best option may be to accept the Blazers' qualifying offer and test the market again in 2017. He would have the opportunity to fight for minutes and once again prove his worth in a crowded frontcourt.