Lakers Rumors: Moe Harkless Drawing Interest If Knicks Buy Out Contract

Mike Chiari@mikechiariFeatured ColumnistFebruary 19, 2020

NEW YORK, NEW YORK - FEBRUARY 12:  Maurice Harkless #3 of the New York Knicks reacts in the fourth quarter against the Washington Wizards at Madison Square Garden on February 12, 2020 in New York City.The Washington Wizards defeated the New York Knicks 114-96. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. (Photo by Elsa/Getty Images)
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The Los Angeles Lakers reportedly have interest in wing Moe Harkless if he asks for a buyout from the New York Knicks.

During an appearance on ESPN LA 710's The Sedano Show, Sam Amick of The Athletic (h/t Silver Screen and Roll's Christian Rivas) said Tuesday that the Lakers are monitoring Harkless' situation in the event that the Knicks part with him.

While it remains to be seen if a buyout will occur, Marc Berman of the New York Post reported after Harkless was traded to New York from the Los Angeles Clippers as part of the deal that sent Marcus Morris to L.A. that the Knicks are willing to grant Harkless a buyout if he asks for one.

The 26-year-old Harkless has never truly lived up to his status as the No. 15 overall pick in the 2012 NBA draft, but he has been a useful rotation piece for several different teams during his eight-year NBA career.

Harkless has spent time with the Orlando Magic, Portland Trail Blazers, Clippers and Knicks, and he has essentially split his time between starting and coming off the bench.

He appeared in 50 games and made 38 starts for the Clippers this season and has played in one game for the Knicks thus far. Overall, Harkless is averaging 5.5 points, 4.0 rebounds, 1.0 assist and 1.0 steal in 22.9 minutes per game.

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His best season was back in 2016-17 with the Blazers when he started a career-high 69 games and averaged a career-high 10.0 points per game to go along with 4.4 rebounds, 1.1 assists and 1.1 steals.

The 6'7", 220-pound Harkless has long been a quality perimeter defender who averages 1.0 steal and just 2.0 personal fouls per game during his career.

At 41-12, the Lakers own the best record in the Western Conference, but they didn't do anything to improve ahead of the trade deadline. They could be players on the buyout market, although that hasn't been the case yet.

Harkless would seemingly be a good fit off the bench in a rotation with Danny Green at small forward. He would also give head coach Frank Vogel another good perimeter defender to go along with shooting guard Avery Bradley.

The Lakers are already a difficult team to play against due to the presence of LeBron James and Anthony Davis, but if they can add Harkless to a gritty supporting cast that includes Green, Bradley, Rajon Rondo, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard, the opposition will have even more to contend with.

At 17-38, the Knicks don't have much use for a role player like Harkless, and once the decision is made to go all-in on utilizing young players down the stretch, New York may eventually come to the conclusion that a buyout is the best scenario for all parties involved.