Montrezl Harrell, Rockets Agree to Contract: Latest Details, Comments, Reaction

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistSeptember 19, 2015

LAS VEGAS, NV - JULY 14: Montrezl Harrell #35 of the Houston Rockets attempts a free throw against the Milwaukee Bucks on July 15, 2015 at The Cox Pavilion in Las Vegas, Nevada. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and or using this photograph, User is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2015 NBAE  (Photo by Bart Young/NBAE via Getty Images)
Bart Young/Getty Images

The Houston Rockets announced a contract agreement with rookie forward Montrezl Harrell on Saturday. The team selected the Louisville product with the 32nd overall pick in the 2015 NBA draft.

Mark Berman of KRIV reports it's a three-year deal worth $3.1 million. Jonathan Feigen of the Houston Chronicle notes the signing means the Rockets are now hard-capped, which limits their flexibility in relation to the salary cap, including not being able to take on salary in trades.

Harrell was a force during his final season at Louisville. He averaged 15.7 points and 9.2 rebounds while shooting 57 percent from the field. He proved that what he lacks in size (6'8'') for a power forward, he makes up for with a tremendous work rate on the floor.

The success continued during a Summer League stint with the Rockets. He checked in at 16.5 points and eight rebounds across four games. Rockets assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff raved about what the rookie will be able to do once he gets acclimated to the NBA level, as noted by Feigen.

"His thing is his motor," Bickerstaff said. "He makes plays other people can't make just because he has that second gear he can go to. For him, things are going to come easier than they can for somebody else. He hasn't played much, but he fits into what we do. Our system is set up for guys like him."

If he was a few inches taller and possessed the same skill set, he probably would have gone much earlier in the draft. There are always concerns about how an undersized forward will guard taller players in the low post, though.

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By signing him and hitting the hard cap, the Rockets are showing confidence he'll be able to make a major impact over time. For now, he'll likely slot in behind Dwight Howard, Terrence Jones and Donatas Motiejunas in the frontcourt court rotation when everybody is healthy.

A high-energy role off the bench should suit Harrell well.