Ian Begley, SNY.tv | Twitter |
We don't know when NBA free agency will take place. But we know that the Knicks will have several decisions to make when it gets here.
Among them is what to do with veteran wing Maurice Harkless.
It's too soon to make any educated guesses on free agency for several reasons:
1. We don't know what the salary cap will be this summer. The cap could change based on how the coronavirus crisis impacts the NBA's income.
2. For the Knicks, specifically, Leon Rose may make additions/changes to his front office prior to free agency. The new front office members may have different ideas about how best to use New York's cap space.
With that being said, opposing executives expected the Knicks to be among the teams to have interest in Harkless as a free agent. Those executives were speaking before the season was suspended due to the coronavirus pandemic.
But it would make sense for the Knicks to explore the possibility of re-signing Harkless.
In his limited time as a Knick, Harkless impressed interim head coach Mike Miller with his versatility and the subtle ways he impacted the game.
"As we've had a chance to have Mo with us more and it's been more game situations than practices, and really seeing a guy in the practice gym, he does a lot of things," Miller said in early March. "People use the term versatility a lot but when I watch the games, and then I go back and I watch in on video again, I see more things that he did that maybe I didn't even notice. He's had an impact on our team. Some of it has even been subtle. You have to watch it (closely) to see, 'That's how that happened.' He made a cut that created that pass and that shot. Or, 'He started it with his defense.' He's been doing a lot of things for us."
Harkless, a New York native who played at St. John's, was acquired by the Knicks in the Marcus Morris trade. Harkless decided not to seek a buyout in late February, opting instead to finish the season with the Knicks.
He has shot 35 percent from beyond the arc overall this season, hitting 28 percent of his attempts as a Knick.
If New York brings him back, Harkless would presumably have a rotation spot at small forward along with Reggie Bullock.
The New York Post reported that the Knicks' interest in bringing Harkless back increased over the course of his 12-game stint with the club. That aligns with the way Miller spoke about the 26-year-old.
The Athletic first reported that the Knicks are among the teams expected to have interest in Harkless this summer.
Regardless of where the salary cap ends up, the Knicks should have significant cap space to use on free agents like Harkless.
In addition to Harkless, they have to decide on 2020-21 contract options for Bullock, Bobby Portis, Taj Gibson, Wayne Ellington and Elfrid Payton. Damyean Dotson can also become a restricted free agent. Allonzo Trier will be a free agent.