Jalen Harris reinstated: Could Raptors take a shot on him?

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 were dealt a major body blow last offseason when promising young shooting guard Jalen Harris was barred from the NBA for two seasons after violating the league’s drug policy. Harris’ NBA career appeared to be over before he truly hit the ground running.

After a productive college career at Nevada, the Raptors added Harris late in the 2020 NBA Draft with the goal of turning him into a quality bench gunner. Just when it looked like he was starting to turn a corner, the league came down on him hard for his drug use.

Undaunted by the punishment that was handed down, Harris continued to get some shots up in less heralded leagues and bide his time. The latest news dump from the league office has officially cleared a path for Harris to return to the NBA relatively soon.

The NBA announced that Harris, who was recently plying his trade with the Scarborough Shooting Stars, has been reinstated after his year out of the league. Despite the Raptors having a full training camp roster, there is a chance that Harris wiggles his way back into the NBA with Toronto, who still hold his rights.

Will the Toronto Raptors bring back Jalen Harris?

Harris averaged 7.4 points per game while making 47% of his 3-point attempts. This included a 31-point masterpiece against the Mavericks to end the season. However, considering the low stakes those season-ending games had, it’s hard to make much of a judgment on Harris’ long-term NBA viability.

Harris spent last NBA season playing in Italy with Vanoli Cremona. He averaged 13.8 points per game in 18 contests with the Italian side before making his trip back to North America. Harris can clear fill it up when requested, which should make him attractive to NBA teams.

Harris is technically a restricted free agent, meaning other teams can sign him. The most likely scenario for Harris is signing an Exhibit 10-type deal that puts him back in the Raptors 905 pipeline. Toronto could also make a shock move and part with one of the players on their 20-man camp roster to bring Harris back.

Harris did everything that was asked of him while suspended, all while making sure his game didn’t get any less sharp. Now that Harris has paid his debt for his transgressions, the Raptors will have dibs on him as he tries to get back into the NBA permanently.

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