The Clippers acquired forward Maurice Harkless and a future first-round pick from Miami on Monday as part of a larger four-team trade, a person not authorized to speak publicly on the matter confirmed.
The deal also includes Philadelphia, Portland and Miami. As part of the trade, guard Jimmy Butler and former Trail Blazers center Meyers Leonard join Miami, guard Josh Richardson goes to Philadelphia, and center Hassan Whiteside is headed to Portland. Harkless was originally on the move to Miami with Leonard but was redirected to the Clippers, who took back a draft pick for taking on Harkless’ contract.
The 6-foot-9, 220-pound Harkless gives the Clippers two things they desire — a long-armed player with playoff experience capable of playing on the perimeter and a team-friendly contract that allows the Clippers to be creative with their salary cap in the future. Harkless is owed $11.5 million next season in the final year of a four-year contract signed in 2016, when he was with Portland.
Harkless is entering his eighth NBA season. He has averaged 7.3 points, 3.7 rebounds while shooting 47.6% from the field and 32.3% from three-point range for his career.
The draft pick the Clippers will receive helps replenish the team’s stock of future assets. The Clippers sent Brooklyn a 2020 first-round pick on June 20.
The move took place amid the Clippers’ wait to hear from top free agent Kawhi Leonard about his decision. Even after taking on Harkless’ $11.5-million salary, the Clippers can still have enough cap space to sign Leonard to a maximum-level contract, which would be worth $32.7 million during the first season, should he commit to the Clippers.
Harkless appeared ready to lobby Leonard, the NBA Finals MVP, on behalf of his new team.
“Anybody got kawhi number??” Harkless tweeted, shortly after news of the trade broke on social media.