The Los Angeles Lakers have certainly not been quiet in free agency so far. After a one-year deal for Wesley Matthews and losing Dwight Howard to the Philadelphia 76ers, the Lakers are replacing their big man with Montrezl Harrell, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Harrell’s agent, Rich Paul, confirmed the signing to ESPN:
Free agent Montrezl Harrell has agreed to a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, agent Rich Paul of @KlutchSports tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
According to ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, Harrell is signing for two years and $19 million (and a player option in the second year) which is the full midlevel exception. The Lakers can still retain free agent guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope but it will become difficult as the team is hard-capped following the use of the Bi-Annual Exception for Matthews. They have roughly $16 million remaining to fill out the roster after giving a max to Anthony Davis, as expected.
Harrell spent last year with the LA Clippers where he was often the target of reports about locker room disfunction. His playing time over Ivica Zubac was also reportedly a reason why Clippers’ head coach Doc Rivers was fired after his team blew a 3-1 lead to the Denver Nuggets in the second round.
According to the LA Times’ Brad Turner, Harrell turned down a bigger offer from the Charlotte Hornets to stay in LA and sign with the Lakers.
Harrell, the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, averaged 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds off the bench last season and has long been one of the elite finishers in the paint out of pick-and-roll scenarios.
The Lakers were also reportedly interested in signing Marc Gasol before the Harrell news was reported.