Knicks could target underrated shooting guard stuck on the rumor mill in free agency

Gary Harris, Knicks
Credit: David Richard-USA TODAY Sports

The New York Knicks may have the chance to add to their guard depth chart with a seasoned three-and-d contributor this summer.

SNY’s David Vertsberger suggested that the Knicks sign upcoming unrestricted free agent Gary Harris, saying this about the 29-year-old Orlando Magic guard (h/t Jeremy Brener of Fan Nation’s All Knicks):

“If the Knicks want a potential Quentin Grimes replacement, Harris has shot 39.4 percent from three the past three years for the Orlando Magic and has shown flashes of his past defense and finishing. This could be a smart gamble for New York to add some wing depth off the bench,” Vertsberger wrote.

Knicks: Can Gary Harris’ output return to his days with the Denver Nuggets?

Gary Harris, Knicks
Credit: Rhona Wise-USA TODAY Sports

Harris came into the NBA with eye-opening projections as a talented defender with high-scoring potential. He reached his apex as a scorer in 2017-18, having averaged 17.5 points per game with a 48.5/39.6/55.3 percent shooting line for the Denver Nuggets. He has not been able to replicate that volume or efficiency since, making him one of the most circulated names in trade rumors over the last two seasons.

The Indiana native fell victim to a demotion from the starting lineup in Denver and a crowded young rotation in Orlando, which has diminished his minutes per game since 2020-21. Harris could be a player that needs a change of environment in order to thrive once again.

Knicks could have room for Harris as offseason unfolds

May 19, 2024; New York, New York, USA; New York Knicks guard Donte DiVincenzo (0) brings the ball up court against Indiana Pacers guard Ben Sheppard (26) during the fourth quarter of game seven of the second round of the 2024 NBA playoffs at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports
Credit: Brad Penner-USA TODAY Sports

The Knicks have Donte DiVincenzo entrenched as their starting two guard. There’s room for Harris to get burn in Knicks head coach Tom Thibodeau’s lineup, though. Depending on how New York’s offseason goes, they could be left without a backup point guard heading into next season. That could open the door for Harris and Miles McBride to hold down the fort behind Jalen Brunson and DiVincenzo next time out.

Harris’ 37.1 percent clip from outside in 2023-24 would service the Knicks well. He made $13 million on the final year of his deal in Orlando last season. The Knicks have a tight payroll situation heading into next season, but depending on which way the pendulum swings with some of their own upcoming free agents like Isaiah Hartenstein and OG Anunoby, there could be room for Harris to get a favorable contract in the Big Apple.

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