While Los Angeles Lakers president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka made it clear he would look to upgrade the roster, that it would entail signing Montrezl Harrell away from the L.A. Clippers is not an addition many would have predicted.
Harrell had become an integral piece of the Clippers’ rotation in recent years and even earned Sixth Man of the Year honors for the 2019-20 season. His two-year contract with the Lakers is worth a reported $19 million and includes a player option for 2021-22.
Harrell’s decision took many by surprise, including a few of his former Clippers teammates. Regardless, it is not difficult to pinpoint where the intrigue lies.
The Lakers have somehow managed to revamp their championship roster with younger talent. Harrell acknowledged that signing with them was relatively easy for him. “Honestly, it’s a business decision. I felt it was the right decision for me. I talked to my family and this is where we decided we wanted to go. Simple as that,” he said.
“There’s no more thought process to it. I’m definitely going to be with a team that wanted me and with a group of guys that I feel that I’m going to gravitate well to, I’m going to build chemistry with fast. I’m going to try to get back into the same feeling they had this past year, which is another championship.”
The agreement between Harrell and the Lakers was reported the first day of free agency. “It happened fairly quickly. Once that (free agency) timeframe kind of hit, calls came in and just looking at the places I had, the situations,” he said.
“What happened throughout the whole year with COVID and everything, you’ve got to understand no one is prepared for that, so we just had to deal with it. In general it happened pretty quickly. Like I said, this is a team that wanted me and a team that was really highly on me. I’m honored and thankful for that. Blessed to be here.”
Did Clippers want to re-sign Harrell?
Harrell also addressed whether or not the Clippers were serious about bringing him back. “I mean, that goes without saying. Apparently not, if I’m on the other side. It’s just what it is, really,” he said matter of factly.
Harrell did acknowledge he he envisioned himself remaining with the Clippers because he had been there for several years. “Of course I still have great respect for those guys and that organization,” he added.
“But like I said, as far as if they wanted me back, obviously it just doesn’t seem that way, does it?”
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