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Rumor: Knicks growing more interested in keeping Maurice Harkless after trade

Maurice Harkless, Knicks

The New York Knicks are seriously looking into the prospect of re-signing swingman Maurice Harkless once the 26-year-old’s contract comes to an end this summer, according to a recent report by Marc Berman for the New York Post.

Harkless arrived in New York in February as part of the three-team deal that centered around Marcus Morris heading to the Los Angeles Clippers. The general belief is that Harkless was just added to the deal to make it work, with the Knicks primarily interested in his expiring contract. However, he appears to have impressed New York’s brass during his limited time with the team, which has prompted them to rethink their strategy with the 6-foot-7 small forward.

Harkless’ value lies in his ability to defend, which seems to have left an impression on the Knicks:

“He understood his role [with the Clippers] — mainly to guard one of the other team’s best perimeter players, sparing Kawhi [Leonard] and Paul [George] for parts of games,’’ one Western Conference personnel man said. “He is an excellent defender — especially when guarding against guards and smaller wings. In Portland and in L.A., he played with ball-dominant stars, so he was often tucked in the corner. But when he cuts, he can be effective getting to the basket.’’

In 12 games with New York thus far, Harkless has averaged 6.8 points, 3.3 rebounds, 1.7 assists, and 0.8 steals in 23.8 minutes per contest.