The Cleveland Cavaliers signed Manny Harris to a 10-day contract on Tuesday morning following the Canton Charge wing being named the NBA Development League's
Player Performer of the Week on Monday. It's a move that makes sense, I guess, but it certainly isn't inspiring.
Harris was with the Cavs last season and, if it wasn't for a freak injury this year, he'd likely have been with the team from the outset this year as well. Instead he's been toiling in the D-League with the Cleveland-owned Charge after being released during training camp in favor of fellow D-Leaguer Mychel Thompson.
For that reason alone, it's a move that makes sense -- the team's familiar with him, he's young, he's talented enough to have played last season in the NBA, he's been scoring a lot in the D-League, he has a pretty cool name and (and!) the Cavs aren't exactly set when it comes to the wing.
But it's not a move that makes me excited.
The reason I'm not in love with this move, though, is because it was the easiest move to make. If the Cavs saw Harris as a long-term project, what's the point in signing him to a 10-day contract in February? Harris was already in the Cavs' system in Canton, playing under a coach the team hired while being close to enough to be evaluated by the team's own scouts so it doesn't seem that they needed to sign him to a temporary contract at this juncture.
The point of the 10-day contract, at least as I understand it, is either to find a stopgap due to injury or take a look at a player the team wants to get more familiar with -- but Harris wouldn't seem to be the answer in either scenario.
If I ran an NBA team (and there are very good reasons why I'm sitting on my couch typing this in sweat pants while those that made this decision are paid to make this decision), this is what I would have done: Either sign Harris to a long-term deal where the team can continue to develop him while not having to worry about him bolting for bigger bucks in Europe OR keep him in the D-League and tell him to work on things other than scoring a bunch of points.
The good thing about NBA teams owning their D-League affiliates is, while it isn't directly implied, the teams are essentially able to match any call-up offer a player receives. If Harris was close to signing with a rival NBA team, the Cavs would have had a chance to match it (likely with a rest-of-season contract, considering that's what the San Antonio Spurs and Oklahoma City Thunder have done in the past).
Under this arrangement, the Cavs could have continued to shuffle in 10-day prospects (a la Ben Uzoh, the player they brought up last week from the Rio Grande Valley Vipers) until they were comfortable with Harris being the best available option. They could have brought in in-ther-prime players like Derrick Byars and Gerald Green; young, development-type guys like Damian Saunders and Marqus Blakely; they could have even brought in a random older guy sitting at home waiting for his next opportunity.
They didn't, though. They went with a player they were already familiar with, whom they already had in their system and who hasn't shown a lot of development during his time in the Development League.