Born, bred and college-educated in Queens, Moe Harkless has firm roots in Knicks territory, an upward-trending NBA career and is now part of the never-ending Carmelo Anthony trade cycle. Still, as the Trail Blazers forward explained to the Daily News on Saturday, he doesn’t concern himself with the persistent rumors that he’s included in trade proposals to the Knicks. There’s no benefit. “It doesn’t do anything for me to get involved with that,” he said. “If it happens, it happens.”
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The improvement is also why he’s been part of trade proposals involving Carmelo Anthony, according to sources, both in straight swap talks and three-team negotiations where Anthony would end up in Houston. In both instances, Harkless goes to New York.
“(Scott Perry and I) had a really good relationship. We still have a good relationship. We actually spoke not too long ago. We talk all the time,” Harkless said. “He’s a real down-to-Earth guy, a real dude. He doesn’t really sugar coat stuff. So I think that’s why players take a liking to him.”
As evidenced by their recent — and ongoing — trade discussions with the Portland Trail Blazers, members of the Knicks’ front office are seeking to acquire an additional draft pick. One source described talks between the Knicks and Blazers as “fluid,” with several different proposals — as is the case with most trade discussions. One scenario discussed involved the Knicks taking back a player — and Maurice Harkless’ name was among those that came up.
The Blazers have just shy of $133 million in guaranteed contracts on the books for the 2017-18 season. That puts the Blazers about $11 million over the tax threshold for next season, bringing a tax bill of roughly $20 million before filling out the final three roster spots. Evan Turner ($17.1 million due next season) and Allen Crabbe ($19.3 million) could potentially be included in a trade as well as Meyers Leonard ($9.9 million) and Moe Harkless ($9.7 million).
It remains to be seen whether Portland proves to be as active in the trade market as many league observers expected coming into the season, but here’s a pertinent bookkeeping note: Allen Crabbe, Maurice Harkless and Meyers Leonard all finally become eligible to be traded Sunday after the big new deals all three signed over the summer.
The trade restrictions for Turner and Ezeli expire Dec. 15, and the restrictions for Allen Crabbe, Meyers Leonard and Maurice Harkless will not be lifted until Jan. 15. Crabbe also would need to approve of any trade for one year because the Trail Blazers matched the Nets’ offer sheet for him this past summer.
The Blazers have an aggressive front office and more wings (Allen Crabbe, Evan Turner, Moe Harkless) and bigs (Mason Plumlee, Meyers Leonard and Festus Ezeli) than they need. So keep an eye on them. The suspicion among numerous league observers is that the Blazers’ non-stop spending this past offseason was asset collection as much as anything. Scan through all those names again and it’s clear Portland has no shortage of options to thrust itself into all kinds of trade talks as GM Neil Olshey continues to shape the roster around backcourt bedrocks Lillard and C.J. McCollum.
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October 18, 2017 | 6:10 am EDT Update
What does LeBron James owe the city of Cleveland? “LeBron James owes nobody anything. Nobody. When my mother told me I don’t owe her anything, from that point in time, I don’t owe anybody anything. But what I will give to the city of Cleveland is passion, commitment, and inspiration. As long as I put that jersey on, that’s what I represent. That’s why I’m there—to inspire that city. But I don’t owe anybody anything.”
Veteran forward Richard Jefferson is signing a one-year, $2.3 million deal with the Denver Nuggets. Jefferson confirmed the deal in a text message to The Vertical. “I picked Denver because I believe in what they are doing and building and believe I can add and contribute on and off the court to their nucleus in a positive way,” Jefferson told The Vertical.
Peter Vecsey: Contrary to counterfeit reports by ESPN and Yahoo, Bobby Portis did not “cheap shot” Nikola Mirotic at Bulls’ practice this afternoon, a source attests. Nonetheless, there is no denying it was a damaging one-punch knockdown. The Montenegro forward was taken to the hospital with a concussion and facial fractures that will require surgery, and is out indefinitely. Mirotic initiated the skirmish. “He was the aggressor, not Portis,” I am informed. “Mirotic shoved Portis twice, maybe three times. When Portis retaliated with a hard shove, Mirotic charged him. Portis put him down.”
LeBron James said the Cleveland fan base gave Kyrie Irving a pretty easy time during his first return trip to Quicken Loans Arena. “It was nothing,” James said. “That was nothing. What do you want me to say? I’ve experienced big boos before. That was like a pat on the back.