Al Harrington close to signing with the Wizards
Free agent combo forward Al Harrington is close to signing with the Washington Wizards, giving the team the “stretch 4″ point guard John Wall has wanted.
Harrington, a free agent who missed almost all of last year to injury and infection, reportedly is in town to take a physical and, assuming he passes it, will sign a contract for the veteran minimum and become a Wizard this week. That would give Washington 15 players under contract, the maximum they are allowed under NBA rules, and just barely below the luxury tax threshold.
The Orlando Magic waived Harrington, 34, earlier in the summer and the Wiz and Harrington have been circling each other ever since. The Wizards traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada to see Harrington work out with Joe Abunassar, one of the most famous trainers in the United States and reportedly came away impressed with what they saw.
Harrington, a late first round draft pick by the Indiana Pacers in 198, played only ten games last season after suffering a staph infection as a result of a botched surgery for torn meniscus in 2012. However, two years ago Harrington averaged 14.5 ppg and 6 rpg for the Denver Nuggets and was a key reserve on that team.
Harrington played very well for the Nuggets, setting a career high in rebound rate, and although Harrington has never been known as a good defender, he improved there as well; Denver gave up 3.3 fewer points per 100 possessions with him on the court and opposing power forwards had just a 13.7 PER against him, according to 82games.com. He also scored better than a point every two minutes for Denver.
Harrington is a career 35% shooter from 3-point range, so while he’s not a deadeye shooter, he should be able to pull defenses out, giving Wall and fellow guard Bradley Beal the opportunity to penetrate and create in the lane.
What does a Harrington signing mean for the rest of the roster? Well, assuming Harrington gets the bulk of his minutes backing up Nene, that would mean nothing good for forwards Trevor Booker, Jan Vesely and, perhaps, Kevin Seraphin. Booker and Vesely get most of their minutes at power forward, but those minutes will probably disappear with Harrington on the team. Seraphin can still back up Emeka Okafor, but he would also probably not play much at the 4 anymore either.