Mar 30, 2013, 12:30 PM EDT
At age 33, after 14 seasons in the NBA, Al Harrington has had a good career. He’s averaged 13.7 points a game with 5.7 rebounds.
His career is winding down. He’s fought hard to bounce back from knee surgery only to find himself on a Magic team that is going with a youth movement — they told him he likely will not see the court again this year.
Because of that — and because his contract for $14.7 million over the next two seasons can be bought out for half that (his deal is a five-year mid-level deal) — he will get traded or bought out by Orlando (and if they trade him it’s likely to a team looking to buy him out to save money.
But Harrington does not want to leave the game that way he told Brian Schmitz of Orlando Sentinel.
“I can’t go out like this. I just can’t,” he told me. “Not this way….”
“I understand what they’re doing here. I do. But I think I have something left in this old tank,” he said.
Like a lot of veterans, Harrington doesn’t want to be part of a rebuilding project anymore, he wants to play in games that matter.
“I’m through playing with bad teams,” he said. “If I can’t [sign with a playoff team,] then that’s probably it. What would be the point?”
That likely would involve a steep pay cut after his buyout. But Harrington sounds like he’s fine with that — if he can leave the game on his own terms.