Though the Portland Trail Blazers were busy launching 30 three-pointers on Wednesday night against the New Orleans Pelicans, one player was notably absent from the long-ball barrage.
Forward Moe Harkless didn't attempt a single three in the Blazers' 103-100 loss to the Pelicans, and for a very good reason.
Harkless entered Wednesday's regular-season finale shooting 35.1 percent from behind the three-point arc, making 68 of his 194 long-range attempts.
According to former NBA GM Bobby Marks, by not attempting a three on Wednesday, Harkless earned a $500K contract bonus for shooting above 35 percent from beyond the arc:
Since the Blazers ended up losing to the Pelicans by three points, some may question whether Harkless's reluctance to shoot threes cost his team the game, but that's not fair since the Blazers weren't exactly trying to win on Wednesday night.
Portland rested star guards Damian Lillard and C.J. McCollum against the Pelicans, so the fact that the team was still within striking distance late in the fourth quarter was impressive in its own right.
With 11 points, two rebounds and two assists in 22 minutes off the bench, Harkless did his part to help the short-handed Blazers compete.
Entering Wednesday night's contest, the Blazers were locked into the No. 8 seed in the Western Conference playoff standings, so there wasn't much motivation to actually play to win. The Blazers will take on the Golden State Warriors in a first-round playoff series, so being healthy and rested is critical if Portland wants to pull off one of the biggest first-round upsets in NBA history.
Portland finished the regular season with a record of 41-41, holding off the 40-42 Denver Nuggets for the final playoff spot in the West. Their reward? Taking on the NBA-best 67-15 Warriors, who recently got Kevin Durant back from a knee injury.
Now that Harkless has earned his $500K bonus, look for him to be less reluctant to let shots fly from behind the three-point arc. Harkless, a fifth-year NBA player, averaged 10 points, 4.4 rebounds and 1.1 assists per night in his second year with the Blazers.
Though Harkless certainly won't be going hungry, as he signed a four-year, $42 million contract with Portland this past offseason, it's hard to fault the 23-year-old forward for playing his way into an extra $500K.
If the Blazers had needed to win on Wednesday night to lock up a playoff spot, it's safe to assume Harkless would have done the right thing for his team. However, since they didn't need his long-range shooting, he kept well enough away from the three-point line against the Pelicans and earned himself a nice bonus.News Now - Sport News