Let me start this off by saying what you’re about to read is purely hypothetical thinking on my part and something that I thought about over the weekend. This probably won’t happen but if nothing else, it was fun to think about.
With the NBA season about a month away from returning to action down at Disney World, there will be some player movement over the next week as the NBA’s transactional period kicks off tomorrow and runs through June 30th.
Teams can conduct rest of season contracts, substitute players ($183,115 minimum for two years of service), two-way contracts, and waivers during the window. https://t.co/bA9q7J4Axc— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) June 20, 2020
Basically the transaction window will allow teams to do the following:
-Sign players for the rest of the season
-Sign Substitute Players to replace those who choose not to play in Orlando
-Convert Two-Way Contracts to Standard NBA deals
-Sign Players to Two-Way Contracts
-Claim Players off Waivers
You may recall that Jared Harper was on a Two-Way deal with the Phoenix Suns before he was waived the morning after the NBA suspended play back on March 12th. This would likely mean Jared falls into the last category if a team would take a chance on him.
Suns GM James Jones said that the decision to waive Harper in March was made for him to explore other opportunities as his deal was just for this season. With Harper playing in the league and on a Two-Day deal before being waived, this should make him eligible for a team to sign him if they want to.
Jared spent most of his first season in the pros on the Suns G-League affiliate where he averaged 20.8 PPG and 5.7 APG. He got into just 3 games with the parent club and scored his only 2 points of the season February 3rd against the Brooklyn Nets. Quite frankly, he deserved more of an opportunity with the big club but it wasn’t meant to be as they had 4 PGs already on their roster.
Jared Harper had himself a night!— NAZ Suns (@nazsuns) January 19, 2020
Man, was it nice to have Jared Harper back or what?@Therealvinoo earned a double-double in his return with 18 points, 11 assists and 3 steals! pic.twitter.com/NdUUclAUmu— NAZ Suns (@nazsuns) March 5, 2020
I got to looking at the rosters of the 22 teams going to Orlando and it appears that 8 clubs have a roster spot open to sign a player. Those teams are the Suns, Spurs, Kings, Thunder, Grizzlies, Clippers, Nuggets and the team that I think should take a chance on Jared:
The Portland Trail Blazers.
The Blazers have an open roster spot, neither of their Two-Way Guys, which each team have 2 of, is a guard, and Jared is quite familiar with the Blazers star Point Guard, Damian Lillard. In fact, Harper and Lillard have very similar games and a lot of Jared’s growth from freshmen season to sophomore season but can be credited to Lillard working with Harper during the summer of 2017.
The Blazers currently sit 9th in the West at 29-37, 3 1⁄2 games behind the Memphis Grizzlies for the 8th seed in the West. While they may not catch the Grizzlies in the 8 regular season games that will be played, if they remain in 9th and are within 4 games of the 8th seed, there will be a “play-in” for the 8th seed in which the 9 seed would have to beat the 8 seed twice in order to take the 8th seed for this year’s playoffs.
The team will get center Jusuf Nurkic back after missing the entire season with a broken leg suffered back in 2019 which should give the team a boost in the frontcourt.
Another reason I think this would a great move for Portland is if you look at the rest of the Blazers roster, especially at the guard position they have Lillard at PG and fellow star C.J. McCollum at shooting guard. Coming off the bench at the guard spot: 21 year old's Anfernee Simons and Gary Trent Jr.
That’s the entire list of guards the Blazers have on their roster.
If teams with an open roster spot want to sign one of their Two-Way guys to a standard deal, that would open up a Two-Way spot for someone like Jared, whether it be the Blazers or someone else. It would give the team that signs him the option to bring him up in case of injury, or a player tests positive for COVID-19 and is forced out of action.
Regardless, all it takes is one team, whether it be the Blazers or somebody else, to give Jared a chance tp prove that despite his lack of height, he belongs in the NBA. And if they don’t, well, this was fun to think about and teams will simply be missing out.