The Los Angeles Lakers making a big move at the 2019-20 NBA trade deadline was always unlikely as they didn’t have the necessary trade pieces, but they were always expected to be a big player in the buyout market.
Unfortunately, that hasn’t gone their way either and the options remaining now are less than stellar. One potential option is Moe Harkless, who the Los Angeles Clippers traded to the New York Knicks.
Harkless would fill a need for the Lakers as a wing defender the team could throw on the likes of Kawhi Leonard in the 2020 NBA playoffs, but whether or not he will be bought out is another question. In most cases, a player would prefer to have a possible deep playoff run with the Lakers as opposed to playing for the Knicks, but Harkless is from New York and went to college at St. John’s.
The possibility of a buyout still remains but according to Danny Small of Elite Sports New York, Harkless hasn’t really thought about it:
“Honestly, I haven’t put any real thought into it,” Harkless told reporters after practice on Wednesday. “There’s been some talk about it, but I’m kind of just focusing on today. If my agent and I decide to explore that, that’s a conversation we’ll have. But right now, I haven’t really put much thought into it.”
Not only are the Knicks one of the worst teams in the league, they also have a number of players who play the same position as Harkless such as Julius Randle, Kevin Knox, and Bobby Portis. The situation there — among other things — is something Harkless will consider when deciding what to do:
“I think there’s a few things that factor into it,” Harkless said when asked how he plans to make a decision on a buyout. “What the situation is here, obviously. It is the last year of my contract and whether or not it makes sense to join a contender and just play on the playoff stage. Those are all things we’ve got to think about.”
Though Harkless wouldn’t necessarily play a huge role with the Lakers, he would give the team a much needed option if they were to face the Clippers in the playoffs. His inside knowledge of the team could also help the Lakers if he were to come aboard.
As Harkless noted, he will be in line for a new contract after this season and there is no better audition stage than the NBA playoffs. A great run with the Lakers could net him a huge deal this offseason, but he must want to make that move back to Los Angeles.