Over the summer, Moe Harkless signed a $40 million extension with the Portland Trail Blazers that featured upwards of $2 million more in incentives. One such incentive was a $500,000 bonus for shooting 35 percent from three-point range. And Harkless was keenly aware of it.
Way back on April 3, against the Minnesota Timberwolves, Harkless shot three-for-five from behind the arc, putting his season percentage at 35.1. That is the exact same shooting percentage he finished the season with last night. It also happens to be the exact same percentage he had going into the game last night against the New Orleans Pelicans. It is also the same percentage he had going into the game against the Utah Jazz on Saturday, April 8. And it's also the same percentage he had going into an April 6 contest against the Wolves.
That's right, since April 3, Moe Harkless did not attempt a single three-pointer, when he had been averaging around three attempts per game for most of the season. Sometimes the shot you don't take is the most important one of all.
Reporters were also aware of this peculiar financial disincentive, and asked Harkless if he would attempt a three-pointer in a game that was all but meaningless since Portland already clinched the eighth and final playoff spot in the West:
"Would you?'' he said with a smile.
But what if the game was on the line, and the Blazers needed a three?
"Then I would pump fake and try to get fouled,'' Harkless said, chuckling.
Harkless also copped to knowing about the clause for basically all of March—a month that coincided in his dip in three-point attempts—but said he had the numbers wrong. He thought the contract required him to shoot 37 percent but then "somebody" (cough AGENT cough) told him it was 35. After that, he knew he was in good shape.
The Blazers lost to the Pelicans last night by three points, 103-100.