With the NBA’s Free Agency period in full swing, you are surely on your toes waiting to see where the big name players sign.
But if your team misses out on one of those guys (and let’s face it, odds are it will), you need to know about the rest of the free agency field.
Al Harrington is one of those guys.
A lower-tier player, Harrington could fill a valuable role on a number of teams in the league.
Let’s take a look at Harrington’s situation.
Years in NBA: 14
2009-10 Stats: 72 games, 30 mpg, 17.7 ppg, 5.6 rpg, 1.5 apg, 43.5% FG, 34.2% 3Pt
Harrington has always been a talented swingman with the capability to be a solid player in the league.
He finally got the chance to show his stuff in D’Antoni’s offense in New York the past two seasons when he blossomed as an NBA player.
A team that needs an influx of athleticism and scoring should look in Harrington’s direction to provide a cheap option that could plug a hole in a full starting lineup or be a top scorer off the bench.
So, who are the top candidates for Harrington’s service?
The Knicks are an obvious destination for Harrington because he played there last season.
But the Knicks have their eyes set on bigger fish. If they land LeBron, or more likely, Joe Johnson, then they will obviously not have a need for Harrington.
The Knicks are also rumored to be moving Danilo Gallinari to the starting lineup next season, meaning there may not be room for Harrington (unless they wanted him to come off the bench).
But I don’t know if Harrington would take a step down on the ladder while staying for a Knicks team that may or may not be a top contender.
The reasons for staying are obvious. He knows the Knicks’ system, and it knows him. But sometimes that’s not enough, which is why they come in at No. 5.
The Rockets are a very solid defensive team in need of a scoring influx off the bench.
Harrington would be a good fit with a coach like Rick Adelman, as well.
The Rockets have kept Yao, but they will probably lose Luis Scola. He won’t be able to fill the power forward role full-time, so he won’t be a top priority for the Rockets.
But he could come in off the bench in a dynamic lineup with Trevor Ariza and Kevin Martin whenever the Rockets wanted to go on the offensive.
Richard Jefferson just opted out of his contract with the Spurs, so they are in need of a replacement.
Harrington would provide the scoring they need while also allowing them to secure some other help on the market.
Jefferson didn’t do well with the Spurs last season, but I think Harrington may be a better fit in the offense. He would also, hopefully, get a chance to play with a healthy Spurs’ squad if he went there next season.
With the Big Three in place, there is always a need for more scoring options in San Antonio. The defense will always be there. Harrington would provide some more offense.
Harrington blossomed in D’Antoni’s offense the past two seasons.
So, logically, the next step would be to go to Phoenix, where D’Antoni left his offensive foundation in place.
Harrington knows he can thrive in this offense, and I’m sure Phoenix does too.
The best part is that Harrington did not play with Steve Nash in New York, so you could expect his game to develop even more if he went to the desert.
I say Atlanta is the top destination for Harrington.
I think Joe Johnson will leave, possibly for New York, so they will need a replacement. So why not just have the two switch places?
Harrington played in Atlanta for two seasons (2004-06) and did pretty well for himself. Other than the past two seasons in New York, that is where he played his best basketball. He averaged 17.6 and 18.6 points per game and 7.0 and 6.9 rebounds per game in his two seasons there.
He would be much cheaper than Joe Johnson and could fit right into the lineup. If the Hawks resign Johnson, they will probably be right back where they were last year—good, but not a championship contender.
Harrington wouldn’t completely replace Johnson, but he would allow the Hawks to find more pieces to the puzzle.