12:20 pm Sep. 4, 2012
Remember Josh Harrellson? He was one of the minor contributors the 2011-12 New York Knicks, a rookie power forward who impressed after the Knicks got him with a second-round pick.
Next year, Harrellson will be attempting to ply his trade in 2012-13 not with the Knicks, who could still use his skills, but with the Miami Heat.
Remember, the Knicks liked Harrellson quite a bit, but needed to deal him to the Houston Rockets to make salaries balance in their Marcus Camby sign-and-trade. The Rockets, overstocked at the power forward position, let Harrellson go. But the N.B.A. collective bargaining agreement doesn't allow a traded player to re-sign with the team that dealt him for a year, keeping the Knicks from bringing Harrellson back until next July.
Harrellson tweeted Monday, "Kentucky it's been fun! Glad I got to see everyone! Now heading to Miami for hopefully the next 9 months." The "hopefully" is important; Harrellson is not joining the Heat on a guaranteed contract, but is merely competing for a roster spot.
His combination of skills could provide the Heat with something they lacked last season: a player capable of hitting three-point shots and rebounding. Consider that Harrellson's rebounds per 36 minutes, 9.6, were higher than anyone on the Heat who played even 100 minutes other than center Udonis Haslem. And Harrellson's three-point shooting, at 33.9 percent, was better than the team's five best rebounders, four of whom did not make a single three-pointer all year, and the fifth, Chris Bosh, who made them at a lower rate, just 28.6 percent.
The Heat added Rashard Lewis to address this issue, but while Lewis at his peak was a far better scorer than Harrellson, he is now 33, has suffered through several injury-plagued campaigns, and his reliable three-point shot disappeared last season. Even in his prime, Lewis was never the rebounder that Harrellson is now.
So there's a chance that Harrellson will not only stick with the Heat, but will play meaningful minutes. A player who made 2011-12 more fun for the Knicks likely will make 2012-13 a bit more challenging for them.