In a blast, Montrezl Harrell – one of the most prolific players and greatest personalities of the last few Clippers teams – goes down the hallway of Staples Center.
The Lakers have agreed to a two-year $ 19 million deal with Harrell, the reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Yearand until recently one of the team’s most outspoken rivals. The deal was first reported by ESPN.
Arguably the Lakers’ biggest splash of the off-season to date, Harrell averaged a career best of 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds in 63 games with just two starts last season. While he hit a wall in the playoffs last season after missing the NBA bubble for nearly a month, Harrell thinks he’s a prolific off-the-bench scorer for his new team in the same city.
The 26-year-old native of North Carolina is only 6 feet tall, but has primarily played as a downtown Clipper. Harrell, a second-round pick from Louisville, is a client of Klutch Sports – the same agency that represents his new teammates LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Tension grew on a Clippers roster that fell short in the second round of the playoffs last year, and Harrell, who wrestled with Denver Nuggets big man Nikola Jokic, was among those expected to move elsewhere. But he’s also one of the biggest talkers in the Clippers locker room since he got there in 2017, quite a bit of which was aimed at the Lakers.
In a notable exchange in December 2018, he reminded the media that there were “two teams in LA.”
“You’re all trying to overlook us just because of everyone in that purple and gold and the history of it,” he said. ‘Yes, I respect that. But that doesn’t mean (expletive) to me. Excuse my French – that doesn’t mean anything to me. I come out here and play for the guys I’m on the floor with. At the end of the day, you’ll have to recognize us all, man. ”
Harrell’s calling card is his energy, which has helped make the Clippers’ bank one of the best in the league for years. He will be joined in Los Angeles by Dennis Schröder, who was number two in the Sixth Man vote. Harrell is also remarkably durable, missing just one game in the previous two seasons before missing NBA regular season games. due to the death of his grandmother.
The Lakers are expected to use the mid-level exception to sign Harrell, who has a sophomore option.
It cites the Lakers’ budget outlook for the off-season: they expect to sign Davis on a maximum open-ended salary contract. ESPN reported Friday that it could take until Thanksgiving to reach an agreement, given Davis weighs how many years he wants. Adding Davis’ $ 32.7 million to next year’s salary, plus deals on exceptions to Harrell and Wesley Matthews, gives the Lakers limited flexibility with a “hard cap” budget of $ 138.9 million. The Lakers are also still negotiating with free agents Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Markieff Morris.
One free agent has already walked: Dwight Howard, 34, signed a one-year contract with the Philadelphia 76ers after his renaissance season in Los Angeles. The 6-foot-10 center initially tweeted Friday afternoon that he was returning to the Lakers before removing the post and signing with Philadelphia later in the evening. A source told Southern California News Group that Howard was partially displeased with a miscommunication with the Lakers, first reported by Yahoo Sports.
Howard averaged 7.5 points and 7.3 rebounds last season, joining the Lakers last August on a non-guaranteed contract before faring better. He was a pivotal player in the playoff series against Portland and Denver during the Lakers’ title run.
Mirjam Swanson contributed to this story.
***** MONTREZL HARRELL AT A GLANCE *****
SUMMARY: A 26-year-old energy scorer from the bank
WHERE HE WAS THE LAST SEASON: Clippers (18.6 ppg, 7.1 rpg, 1.1 bpg)
TOP ATTRIBUTES: Score within; small ball center minutes; vocal energy
HOW FITS: The Lakers were able to recreate the magic of the Clippers’ second unit with Harrell and Dennis Schröder (sliding in the role of Lou Williams). Harrell is young and brings a dose of unpredictability and sparkle to non-LeBron-en-AD minutes with the potential to help close in small setups. Defensively, there are shortcomings, but he’s a more viable off-the-bench scorer than anyone the Lakers had last season.