Portland Trail Blazers

Portland Trail Blazers

The waiting game continues for restricted free agent Maurice Harkless and the Trail Blazers, as the two sides are "not any closer" to reaching a deal according to his agent, Happy Walters. 

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. 

"He's in no rush,'' to make a decision, Walters said. 

Harkless averaged 6.4 points and 3.6 rebounds last season, but his real impact was made late in the season. He started the final 11 games at small forward, when the Blazers went 8-3. He then became a central figure in the playoffs, when he averaged 11.0 points and 5.1 rebounds.

His versatility on defense in the playoffs – during which he was used to guard point guards like Chris Paul as well as top scorers like Klay Thompson – was an important facet to the Blazers advancing to the Western Conference semifinals.

 

The Blazers have 14 players under contract, one less than the maximum allowed by the NBA. Two of the Blazers' top offseason signings  -- Allen Crabbe (four years, $75 million) and Evan Turner (four years, $70 million) -- are wings like Harkless. The Blazers also have Al-Farouq Aminu, who last season started at both small forward and power forward.