Al Harrington worked hard to get himself back into basketball shape after undergoing multiple operations to address a staph infection in his right knee. Now, after having played 10 games, the Orlando Magic may shelve the veteran forward for the rest of the season, coach Jacque Vaughn said Wednesday night, according to Josh Robbins of the Orlando Sentinel.
"He’s proven that he can still play this game at a high level," Vaughn said of Harrington, "and I’m going to give the opportunity to play to some of our young guys and give them some experience." Orlando's first-year head coach said he has spoken to Harrington about his plans. Robbins writes that Harrington "accepts Vaughn's decision."
The young players for whom benching Harrington might clear minutes are power forward Andrew Nicholson and center Kyle O`Quinn.
Harrington is averaging 5.1 points, 2.7 rebounds, and one assist per game, shooting 35.1 percent from the field and 26.7 percent from three-point range. The New Jersey native, now in his 15th NBA season, came up big for Orlando in road victories against the Philadelphia 76ers and the New Orleans Hornets, but has had an otherwise minimal impact on the Magic's season.
Orlando acquired Harrington from the Denver Nuggets in August as part of the four-team trade which sent Dwight Howard from the Magic to the Los Angeles Lakers. He has two seasons remaining on his contract, according to ShamSports, but only 50 percent of each season is guaranteed. His cap-friendly contract makes him a candidate for trade or, if Orlando chooses, outright release. Should the Magic choose the latter option, they would owe Harrington the guaranteed portion of his contract, and it would count against their cap.