Folks around these parts have some strong opinions about Al Harrington. His tendency to swallow the basketball and force shots can be infuriating, and the sentiment on the internets seems to be that Harrington should not be re-signed. I tend to agree, but it at least deserves mentioning that our mouthguard-slobbering nemesis has his heart in the right place. From Marc Berman of the NY Post:
"I've got an AC joint inflammation thing," said Harrington, who still grabbed 17 rebounds and scored 26 points in keeping the Knicks close in their 103-98 loss Monday in Utah. "It may require surgery. I have to wait in the offseason."
It's not a good time to undergo the knife, especially with the Knicks seemingly uninterested in re-signing Harrington, and with coach Mike D'Antoni never showing him any love.
"As long as it's not career threatening, I should be fine," Harrington said. "Whatever it is, I definitely can get over it in the summer time."
Harrington told The Post recently he would consider playing with the Nets in Newark, a five-minute drive from his high school. But he still wants to remain a Knick. The Post's Fred Kerber reported last week the Nets may look Harrington's way.
"We'll see, but hopefully New York will look my way first," Harrington said. "I need the newspapers to say bring Al back!"
Now, playing through injury when you're chasing a new contract falls short of team-first martyrdom. Risking further injury in games that don't count is kind of silly, if anything. I take Harrington at his word, though, that this isn't totally selfish. Like him or not, the guy wants to win and wants to do so in New York. This is evidenced not only by his willingness to play through injury, but by the fact that he's accepted a bench role and been willing to sit behind the Knicks' young talent in the depth chart. If and when Harrington receives a contract offer that the Knicks won't beat, his legacy of chucking and questionable decision-making will be cemented. Al showed up consistently and took pride in being a Knick even in the face of "AC joint inflammation things", and I think he deserves some credit for that.
...No? No credit whatsoever? Not even a little? Don't hurt me. Please put down that pitchfork.