Maurice Harkless has been mostly a non-factor for the Portland Trail Blazers this season, but he showed his potential against the Celtics on Sunday, just days before the NBA Trade Deadline. The forward went for 19 points and eight rebounds, including 5-of-5 on three-pointers. If Portland is looking to sell on Harkless, who is on the books until 2019-20, the Celtics game is the perfect pitch.
Ahead of the trade deadline, ESPN’s Zach Lowe included Harkless in his deadline preview:
Portland is $3 million over the tax, and when a non-contender gets that close, it usually tries to duck it. Maurice Harkless is the name to watch. He earns about $11 million per year through 2020, and he’s largely fallen out of the rotation. But he’s still just 24, with the raw ingredients of a modern NBA wing who can slide up to power forward. A bullish team with an expiring contract might take a shot on him if the Blazers toss in a second-round pick.
Lowe also tackles the possibility of the Blazers breaking up their backcourt, specifically hypothetical trades surrounding CJ McCollum:
Some folks have pitched deals centered around C.J. McCollum. Portland continues to reject any inquires on McCollum and Damian Lillard, sources say. A package of Kevin Love and the Nets pick would be too much for Cleveland; swapping Love for McCollum doesn’t really move the needle anyway. A package centered around Tristan Thompson and the Nets pick may not be enough for Portland.
Lowe touches on several topics that he and fellow ESPN NBA insider Adrian Wojnarowski discussed on their podcast. On that podcast, Wojnarowski mentions the Sacramento Kings as a team that had past interest in Harkless. The two also tackle the possibility of DeAndre Jordan coming to Portland and the hurdles that come with dealing for the Clippers center.
The NBA Trade Deadline is Thursday, February 8, at 12:00 PST.