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Blazers, Maurice Harkless Agree to 4-year $40 Million Deal

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The Blazers bring back their starting small forward from the playoffs to a 4-year deal.

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The Portland Trail Blazers brought the last of their restricted free agents back, agreeing to a 4-year, $40 million deal with forward Maurice Harkless, according to Shams Charania of The Vertical.

Harkless did not sign an offer sheet with any other teams prior to coming back to Portland. Given that he just turned 23 in May, Harkless was thought by many to be the potential target of a big-time offer sheet, which he ultimately did not get.

It is unclear, as of now, what the structure of the contract will be. According to Bobby Marks of The Vertical, the Blazers are paying Harkless more than $8.9M in the first year of his deal, but the Blazers $542,755 below the tax line. However, since the Blazers were the first ones to sign Harkless and didn't have to match an offer sheet, they can theoretically trade him before the deadline.

That would seem unlikely given Harkless' strong finish to last season. He was entered into the starting line-up for the last 11 games of the regular season and was the team's starter at small forward throughout the postseason. The starting line-up with Damian Lillard, CJ McCollum, Al-Farouq Aminu, Harkless and Mason Plumlee outscored its opponents by 14.4 points per 100 possessions according to NBA.com.

The Blazers have a lot of money committed to Evan Turner and Allen Crabbe who both filled in at the 3, but it would appear that Harkless has as good of a shot as either of them to earn a starting spot.