Could Jalen Harris return to the Toronto Raptors in 2022-23?

May 14, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Jalen Harris (2) Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports
May 14, 2021; Dallas, Texas, USA; Toronto Raptors guard Jalen Harris (2) Mandatory Credit: Kevin Jairaj-USA TODAY Sports /

The Toronto Raptors make Jalen Harris the No. 59 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft with the hope that he would emerge as a viable bench scorer. While Toronto’s Tampa stint was a nightmare, Harris had some games that showed he can be a quality shooter in this league with enough development.

Harris averaged 7.4 points per game during his rookie season, but he found out that he was not going to return to Toronto for his second year after an NBA suspension. Harris violated the league’s anti-drug program and was barred from the NBA for the 2021-22 season.

While Harris spent the year plying his trade with Vanoli Cremona in Italy. While he didn’t set the league on fire, it wouldn’t be the craziest thing in the world if he returned to the NBA. Some Raptors fans want Harris back in the fold, and the feeling appears to be mutual.

Harris posted his first tweet back in Toronto in some time, giving fans renewed optimism that the former Wolfpack star could make a return to the Raptors at some point. While this likely not going to happen, Masai Ujiri could easily bring him back into the fold if his rookie year impressed him enough.

Will Jalen Harris return to the Toronto Raptors?

While most dismissals for drugs of abuse last two years, first-year players like Harris only require one year of banishment. Harris will need to apply for reinstatement, but thanks to a quirk of the sentencing guidelines, his contract with Toronto has been completely nullified.

Harris’ right are still owned by the Raptors, giving them a very limited window in which they could retain him. Given the state of their bench, Toronto might at least consider making this move provided Harris’ issues are firmly in the past and he is ready to dominate in the NBA.

Harris didn’t have the most jaw-dropping year overseas, as his 13.8 points per game came with some nasty 39/30/70 shooting splits. Still, after playing in just 18 games, that is a very small sample size. If Toronto really wants him back, there are avenues they can use to scoop him up again.

Harris has served his time after getting barred from the professional game, and he’s shown enough on the court to where some team is going to give him a second chance. Toronto has already had an up-close look at him, making them better equipped than most when it comes to bringing him into the culture.

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