Maurice Harkless to return to Blazers for $40M, four-year deal

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Maurice Harkless agreed to return to the Portland Trail Blazers for a $40 million deal spread in four years. This entails him to have a salary of $10M per year.

His deal was first reported by Shams Charania of The Vertical. This contract will be fully guaranteed with no options. But this could reach to $42M with incentives, league sources told The Vertical.

Maurice, also called “Moe”, was acquired by the Portland Trail Blazers from the Orlando Magic last July 14, 2015. Portland traded their 2020 second round pick for him.

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Harkless was just a bargain acquisition for the Trail Blazers since he has yet to show his full potential. Moe was drafted by the Philadelphia 76ers as their 15th pick in the 2012 NBA draft. He did not play for the Sixers as he was immediately traded to the Magic. It is a deal that involved Dwight Howard going to the Lakers and Andrew Bynum to the Sixers.

He is primarily a defense-first forward.

Earlier, teams like the Lakers, Pistons, Wizards, Bulls and Mavericks have all expressed their intentions to sign the restricted free agent according to Alex Kennedy. He could have improved their perimeter defense if he has signed in one of them.

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But the Blazers have different plans as they re-signed Harkless to a lucrative deal.

Despite his limited playing time at the start of the season, the defense-first player set season highs of 19 points and 13 rebounds in a win over the Houston Rockets on February 10, 2016. He topped his season highs in points and rebounds on April 5. In this game, he recorded 20 points and a career-high 16 rebounds in a win against the Sacramento Kings.

The 23-year-old Harkless got his biggest break when he had a huge impact for Portland in the playoffs. He showed this when he was tasked to guard Chris Paul in their first-round series against the Los Angeles Clippers, and Klay Thompson in a second-round series against the Warriors.

He is the defensive ace on the perimeter of the Blazers in the two series. This may be the reason why Maurice got the huge deal in the first place.

Photo courtesy: Michael Tipton/Flickr

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