Moe Harkless and Al-Farouq Aminu will suit up against the Portland Trail Blazers this season after spending years on the wing together for Portland. Harkless was part of the trade that brought Hassan Whiteside to the Blazers, while Aminu signed as unrestricted free agent with the Orlando Magic. Brad Botkin of CBS Sports sees the optional departures of Aminu and Harkless as a risk for Portland:
The Blazers, who have been in salary cap hell for ill-advised 2016 decisions for years, can explain not ponying up for Aminu. But Harkless is on an expiring deal. To not play that out for one more year of a premium-position defender is, well, risky. They didn’t have to bring in Whiteside, which was in part a necessity because they let Enes Kanter walk, which, again, they didn’t have to do.
None of these guys are real difference-makers on their own. Harkless, Whiteside and Kanter are all flawed, in some cases seriously flawed. But on a team with Damian Lillard and CJ McCollum, you’re just trying to plug the right holes. Instead, by letting Harkless walk, they appear to have opened up a big one.
You can read more from Botkin’s analysis here.