Al Harrington is set to take a physical Tuesday and, if he passes, he will then sign a one-year contract with the Washington Wizards, whom he expects to compete for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. That's not a bad turnaround for the 33-year-old veteran, who in April 2012 was fighting for his life, nevermind his NBA career, when he learned he had a staph infection in his right knee.
The Orlando Magic waived Harrington on August 2nd, enabling him to become a free agent for the first time since 2010, when he signed a five-year contract with the Denver Nuggets. The prospect of joining the Wizards excites Harrington, but he's also reflected on his time with the Magic, for whom he played only 10 games after they acquired him from Denver in the Dwight Howard trade.
"For me, last year was just a nightmare, from start to finish,” Harrington told Michael Lee of The Washington Post. “The Orlando thing with, I think they brought me there never expecting me to play, but then I got healthy and it was kind of a surprise for them [....] Winning wasn’t on they agenda and that wasn’t nothing I wanted to be a part of at my age."
Harrington spent much of the 2012/13 season strengthening his knee and getting into basketball shape. He made 10 appearances for Orlando--all after the NBA trading deadline--before coach Jacque Vaughn elected to bench him for the rest of the season. That move opened playing time at power forward and center for Tobias Harris, Andrew Nicholson, and Kyle O`Quinn.
Harrington previously told Sam Amick of USA Today that his time in Orlando educated him on "the part of the game that's not attractive—just the business side of it."