Former St. John’s star Moe Harkless will go to the Orlando Magic from the Philadelphia 76ers if the blockbuster four-team Dwight Howard deal goes through.
Harkless, the No. 15 pick in the NBA Draft, would go to Orlando along with Arron Afflalo, Nikola Vucevic and former Knick Al Harrington.
“We knew of the possibility of a trade early [Thursday],” Nate Blue, Harkless’s mentor, told SNY.tv. “Orlando, from what I heard, really wanted Moe included in the deal as Orlando looks to go younger with a new GM [Rob Hennigan].
“Other than that, it’s been all media reports. So we are following the same way the fans are. I do think Moe’s going to surprise a lot of people. Now, if it’s Philly or Orlando, it’s out of our hands.”
The 6-foot-9 Harkless was the Big East Rookie of the Year and the highest drafted player from St. John’s since Malik Sealy was selected at No. 14 in 1992 and the first St. John’s player drafted since Omar Cook was chosen in the second round in 2001.
On draft night, he was excited about playing in Philly since it is close to his home in New York and the 76ers play at the Knicks and the Nets twice apiece.
The Magic also play at the Knicks twice this season — Jan. 30 and March 20.
“I think, in the NBA, he’s got to get stronger and tougher,” longtime New York recruiting expert Tom Konchalski told HOOPSWORLD of Harkless. “I think he has tremendous upside. Down the road he can be a really, really good NBA player. I think it’s going to be a bit of an adjustment physically, in terms of how hard he’s got to play and how he can’t take plays off. He’s got to play every possession. I think that’s going to be a bit of an adjustment for him.”
He added: “In the NBA, when he plays against 3-men, with his athleticism, and his quickness, initially he may struggle some. But eventually I think he’ll be a terrific player and he’s a really, really good kid.”
Adam Zagoria is a New York Times contributor and Basketball Insider who covers basketball at all levels. He is the author of two books and is an award-winning journalist whose articles have appeared in ESPN The Magazine, SLAM, Sheridan Hoops, Sports Illustrated, Basketball Times and in newspapers nationwide.
A veteran Ultimate Frisbee player, he has competed in numerous National and World Championships and, perhaps more importantly, his teams won the Westchester Summer League (WSL) championships in 2011 and 2013.
He lives in Manhattan with his wife and children.