Lakers News: Latest on Montrezl Harrell Contract, Dwight Howard Tweet, More
When the the Los Angeles Lakers win a championship, more hardware tends to follow. Of the franchise's 17 titles, 10 have come in bunches: three-peats in the 1950s and early 2000s and back-to-back title runs from 1987 to 1988 and from 2009 to 2010.
Fresh off a grueling, unprecedented run to the 2020 championship, the Purple and Gold are looking to repeat in 2021. They have the league's most dynamic duo in LeBron James and Anthony Davis and have already made a big splash early on in the condensed free-agency period. General manager Rob Pelinka seems determined to send a message to the rest of the league: keeping up with the NBA's marquee franchise will not be easy.
Pelinka has already brought in point guard Dennis Schroder with a shrewd trade, and at least one player's agent has confirmed his client is set to join the team's frontcourt.
Of course, the exciting additions are balanced out by some key departures, but that's to be expected with a team that relied heavily on veteran players to win the Larry O'Brien Trophy. Here's a quick roundup of who's in and who's out so far for the Lakers this offseason.
Montrezl Harrell to Sign with Lakers
The addition of the 27-year-old Schroder was an exciting start to the Lakers offseason, as he's nearing his prime and expected to replace the 34-year-old Rajon Rondo. However, the Lakers weren't done injecting youth into their lineup, as the team is reportedly set to sign reigning Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell on a two-year, $19 million deal, agent Rich Paul told ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski.
Harrell averaged 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game in 63 regular season games with the Los Angeles Clippers last season. The 26-year-old center is a high-energy player who loves to get to the rim and isn't afraid to mix it up in the paint. His rough-and-tumble style will make a nice contrast with the smooth, sublime post play of Anthony Davis.
Harrell did struggle at times in the playoff bubble, averaging a dismal 11.7 points and 2.6 rebounds in the Clippers' series against the Denver Nuggets, but that apparently wasn't enough to scare off the Lakers, who will be using their mid-level exception on the Louisville product. The Ringer's Kevin O'Connor thinks he will fit in nicely with the Lakers' playmakers:
"Harrell feasted in the pick-and-roll with Lou Williams and Kawhi; now he’s about to get Schröder and LeBron feeding him the ball. LeBron is obviously one of the greatest playmakers in the history of basketball, and Schröder isn’t too shabby either. The 27-year-old new addition throws on-target lobs to his rim-runners, and looks most comfortable passing in transition."
Harrell's move from the Clippers to the Lakers also adds some fun drama and intrigue to an intra-city rivalry that has never been more relevant than it is right now.
While we're on the topic of signings, the Lakers also appear to be on the verge of bringing in shooting guard Wes Matthews, per sources for The Athletic and Stadiun's Shams Charania. However, neither Matthews nor his agent has confirmed the move.
Dwight Howard Deletes Tweet Signaling Return, Signs with 76ers
If you were on social media for only a brief period Friday afternoon, you may have thought Dwight Howard was going to return to the Lakers and make another run at a championship. Howard tweeted he was going to return, and all seemed well in Tinseltown. Of course, if you went along with the rest of your day, you would have missed Howard deleting the premature tweet.
There will be no Lakers reunion. As it turns out, Howard's agent Charles Briscoe confirmed the 34-year-old center is signing a one-year, $2.6 million deal with the Philadelphia 76ers, per the Los Angeles Times' Broderick Turner.
Howard was a key part of the Lakers' championship run, averaging 5.8 points and 4.6 rebounds in 15.7 minutes per game in the playoffs. His defensive presence took pressure off Davis and JaVale McGee, and he played critical minutes throughout the postseason run in Orlando.
The Lakers should be in good shape moving forward, with Harrell set to take Howard's minutes and then some. Harrell isn't as strong of a rim defender or rebounder as Howard, but he still has time to refine those parts of his game and should be a major upgrade over Howard on the offensive end of the court.
Avery Bradley Bolts for Miami, Quinn Cook Released
Bradley played 49 games for the Lakers last year, averaging 8.6 points per game and shooting 36.4 percent from beyond the arc. His relentless on-ball defending helped the Lakers emerge as one of the best defensive teams in the league, but he was absent from the team's playoff run as he opted not to join the team when the season restarted because of concerns over his son's health.
The Lakers might have been banking on Bradley joining them for the championship encore, but Yahoo Sports' Chris Haynes reported Thursday that he had declined his player option, and it now looks like he is going to join the team the Lakers beat to win it all in October.
Bradley isn't the only guard from the championship-winning squad who won't be with the Lakers next year. Danny Green was shipped out in the Schroder trade, and the Lakers announced Thursday they had released point guard Quinn Cook. The 27-year-old averaged 5.1 points and 1.1 assists per game in his lone season with the Lakers.