When the Magic acquired Al Harrington a year ago, they were getting a veteran forward who could stretch the floor and provide a ton of veteran leadership to a locker room that projected to be very very young. Harrington would fit in early in the season and hopefully play up his trade value enough to get moved. If not, the remaining two years on his salary would be bought out or waived for half of its value (roughly $7.4 million).
That obviously did not happen. Al Harrington's season did not go according to plan.
It was a bit of a raw deal. And so now that Harrington has another opportunity to play with a Playoff contender -- and be the veteran mentor Orlando envisioned -- in Washington. Harrington opened up about his time in Orlando with Michael Lee of The Washington Post, describing his frustration over not being able to play.
For me, last year was just a nightmare, from start to finish. The Orlando thing with, I think they brought me there never expecting me to play, but then I got healthy and it was kind of a surprise for them. It was tough, but I understood that was the business and they had to do it for whatever there reasons was. Winning wasn’t on they [sic] agenda and that wasn’t nothing I wanted to be a part of at my age.
Harrington was coming off a torn meniscus from the 2012 season with Denver and underwent what was supposed to be a routine surgery. A staph infection slowed his return and complications further kept Harrington off the court.
Al Harrington did not make his debut with the Magic until Feb. 26 and the Magic were already in full development mode. Harrington was not part of the Magic's plans. After 10 games averaging 5.1 points per game and shooting 35.1 percent from the floor, the Magic shut Harrington down for the season.
He proved he could still play, albeit with a bulky leg brace over his troublesome knee, but would not get his opportunity with the Magic. Harrington has been working out in Las Vegas to get back into playing shape. He tells Lee he is no longer wearing the knee brace he wore last year. It appears the Wizards will get a completely healthy Al Harrington next year.
Harrington has not been shy about voicing some of his frustrations about his year with the Magic. He recognizes that it is part of the business and his circumstances just made him a victim of it.
But there are also no reports that he vented this frustration during the season or set a bad example for the young players on the Magic's roster. It appears he was nothing but a model veteran for the Magic last year.
It was not the ideal situation for Harrington for where he was at in his career. There is still an opportunity for him to contribute in the NBA. As he said, he is only 33 and there was clearly some basketball left in him.