The Los Angeles Lakers announced the signing of power forward Montrezl Harrell, the team’s third reported free agent signing. The deal is for two-years for $19 million with the second year including a player option.
The Lakers previously announced the signing of Wes Matthews and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and their trade for Dennis Schroder, making Harrell the fourth player they have introduced in the offseason.
Harrell is coming off the best season of his career as he was named Sixth Man of the Year after averaging career-bests in points (18.6) and rebounds (7.1) in 63 games with the L.A. Clippers.
Harrell was a key piece for the Clippers, but had a rough showing in the Orlando bubble as he missed time due to the passing of his grandmother. His lack of conditioning and limited defensive ability was exposed in the second round of the playoffs against the Denver Nuggets and was clearly not the same player he was during the regular season.
Harrell’s performance likely cost him a bigger deal in free agency than what was originally expected, but lands in an ideal situation with the Lakers playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
With Dwight Howard leaving for the Philadelphia 76ers, Harrell figures to see heavy minutes at backup center but will be able to anchor a second unit that often times struggled to score last season.
Even with his flaws, Harrell is a worthwhile addition to a roster that needed more talent and youth. His level of production will be a huge boost during the 2020-21 season, but it remains to be seen whether or not he can stay on the floor come playoff time.
How Harrell fits on Lakers roster
Harrell was exposed trying to defend a the Nuggets’s deadly pick-and-roll combination of Jokic and Jamal Murray, but in Los Angeles he will be put in better positions to succeed. Davis is the league’s most impactful defender, so having him patrol the backline should help alleviate any concerns about Harrell.
Harrell thrived as Lou Williams’s pick-and-roll partner and the Lakers will be able to recreate that success with Dennis Schroder. Like Lou Williams, Schroder is an adept passer and his threat to score should open up room for Harrell to rumble toward the rim.
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