Plenty can change between now and the NBA trade deadline--set for Thursday at 3:00 PM Eastern--but for the moment it appears that the Orlando Magic are willing to part with Maurice Harkless for a "minimal return." That news comes from Jeff Zillgitt of USA Today Sports.
Harkless, 21, is averaging 3.4 points and 1.9 rebounds per game in his third pro season. His role and playing time have changed dramatically, and for the worse, due to Orlando's sudden influx of wings. Harkless made 80 appearances, including 41 starts, in his second season, but has played in only 27 of the Magic's 56 games so far in 2014/15.
The free-agent addition of Channing Frye shifted Tobias Harris to small forward almost full time, eating into Harkless' minutes. He's also lost playing time to rookie small forward Aaron Gordon, as well as to newcomers Ben Gordon and Evan Fournier, who have played some small forward in Orlando's small-ball alignments.
Given his age and athletic skill, there's reason to believe Harkless will continue to grow, but it's fair to wonder if he can do so buried in the Magic's rotation.
In January, Zach Lowe and Bill Simmons discussed Harkless' puzzling situation on Simmons' The BS Report. "I absolutely agree that if I were another team and I saw them down on him I would be trying to get him on the cheap," said Lowe of Harkless.
Soon enough, we'll see if NBA general managers agree with Lowe.