Al Harrington 'leaning towards' signing with Washington Wizards, according to report

Howard Smith-USA TODAY Sports

The Washington Wizards are reportedly close to agreeing to a deal with veteran free-agent forward Al Harrington, a Stretch 4 that has played in 48 playoff games.

Remember when we said that Al Harrington was a long shot for the Wizards? Apparently not. The former Magic forward is "leaning towards" signing with the Wizards, according to ESPN's Marc Stein.

The deal would have to be for the veteran's minimum, assuming it gets completed. Stein reports that the Chicago Bulls and Los Angeles Clippers expressed interest in Harrington, but he appears to want to go to the Wizards instead. This is pretty excellent and a sign of how far the Wizards have come in the eyes of many in the league. (It's also worth noting that Harrington's agent is Dan Fegan, the same agent for Martell Webster and John Wall. Sometimes, it pays to take care of an agent's players).

Assuming Harrington returns to health after a staph infection for a routine offseason knee surgery limited him to 10 games last season, he would be a major addition to the Wizards' frontcourt, providing them the pick and pop power forward they've desperately needed. Harrington certainly fires up a lot of three-pointers, but he's a career 35 percent three-point shooter, so the balance usually pays off in the long run. A small forward in his younger days, Harrington has also grown into an underrated pick and roll defender as he's started to play up, whether at power forward or center. George Karl was a huge fan of his when he was on the Nuggets, and I suspect Wall will love him here.

Harrington would be the Wizards' 15th guaranteed contract, the maximum allowed. Ernie Grunfeld generally prefers to leave the 15th roster spot open for flexibility, so this means two things. One, it shows how much the organization values Harrington's contributions. Two, it could open up the possibility that Grunfeld will send away one of the four young big men in a salary dump to create a trade exception and an open roster space.

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