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Why Knicks wanted Maurice Harkless in trade with Clippers

Knicks, Maurice Harkless

New York Knicks forward Maurice Harkless is set to become a free agent following the 2019-20 season. That fact throws his acquisition by the organization into flux.

Marc Berman of the New York Post reports that the team was more interested in bringing him aboard from the Los Angeles Clippers in the Marcus Morris deal so that the money would work on all sides. It’s rather than having intrigue in Harkless’ long-term outlook.

“It’s a dream come true,” Harkless said of joining New York. “I was a Knicks fan growing up. I loved watching the Knicks on TV, I loved coming to the Garden for games when I could.”

Harkless has not yet actually taken the floor for the Knicks. But with Morris no longer apart of the team’s rotations, there should be minutes to go around for the 26-year-old. But whether or not he is with the franchise for more than the final two-plus months of the season remains to be seen.

Harkless started 38 of the 50 games that he appeared in for the Clippers this year. But he averaged just 5.5 points and 4.0 rebounds across 22.8 minutes on a nightly basis. He was utilized more for his defensive abilities, deferring offensively much as he did during his four-year tenure with Portland, where he has seen the most extended success of his career to this point.

The Knicks were able to swing a first-round pick from Los Angeles in the Morris deal (as well as getting rights to another first-round pick swap in 2021), which should ultimately help them moving forward. But bringing aboard a former St. John’s product is likely to help them in the short term as well.