Oh Harry, we hardly knew ye.
After 104 games over three seasons, Harry Giles is officially moving on from the Sacramento phase of his NBA career. The 22-year-old has elected to start the next phase of his career in Portland, per reporting from Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Free agent Harry Giles has agreed to a one-year deal with the Portland Trail Blazers, source tells ESPN.— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 22, 2020
This is an unfortunate blow for the Kings, who are ostensibly still on a rebuilding path and who had the opportunity to continue to develop the talented young center. Despite being a first-round pick three years ago, Giles is still a walking question mark in terms of his future potential; he has barely had a chance to play consistent NBA minutes due to his litany of injuries that began during his amateur career.
The writing was essentially on the wall for the eventual split up when Vlade Divac chose to decline Giles’ fourth-year option last year, making Giles an unrestricted free agent this offseason. However, Luke Walton’s fondness for the young big combined with a new front office who wasn’t responsible for that contractual decision gave some hope that Giles might choose to stay around the team where he began his career. He clearly has a lot of love for his teammates, but he ultimately decided to move on to a place with a fresh start.
Portland is the first team hat that Giles wore in his NBA career, as the Blazers and Kings completed a trade on draft night in 2017 that send Zach Collins to to Portland and Giles and Justin Jackson to Sacramento. Now, Giles will spend the next season of his career on a contender, and it seems like a good fit on paper. The Blazers like to let their centers do a little bit of offensive creation, and they’ve done a great job of creating schemes that play to the strengths of their defensively-challenged bigs, like Enes Kanter.
Giles’ role behind both Jusuf Nurkic and Kanter is a little confusing, especially since Portland also has Zach Collins, Carmelo Anthony, and Robert Covington, who can all play the four. However, the Blazers have done a good job with player development in recent years — look at Gary Trent and Anfernee Simons, among others. Perhaps the positive experience of former Kings Skal Labissière and Wenyen Gabriel in Portland also helped sell Giles on the move.
The part that really hurts for the Kings is that they could have offered Giles up to $3.9 million to stay in Sacramento, and he took a contract that pays him less from the Blazers, since it was a reported to be a one-year minimum deal. That means that either the Kings didn’t pony up that much money, or they thought it was best for both parties to go their separate ways. Whichever outcome it was is sad for Giles and for Kings fans who simply adored him.
We wish Giles all the best in the next stage of his career. Hopefully, he’s healthy enough to show why he was one of the most highly-touted prospects in the country just a few years ago.