NOVEMBER 22: The Lakers have officially signed Harrell, per a press release from the team. He and Marc Gasol – who reached an agreement with L.A. on Sunday – will replace JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard up front.
NOVEMBER 20: The Lakers have agreed to a two-year deal with free agent center Montrezl Harrell, agent Rich Paul tell Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN (Twitter link). Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link) first reported that the two sides were nearing an agreement.
This is one of the more surprising pieces of news tonight, as Harrell has spent the last three seasons with Los Angeles’ other team, the Clippers. The big man is coming off the best year of his career, having averaged 18.6 PPG, 7.1 RPG, and 1.7 APG in 63 games (27.8 MPG). He was named the league Sixth Man of the Year in September.
Coming off such a productive season, Harrell was expected to be in line for a significant raise, but his pay bump will be a more modest one. He’s expected to sign for about $19MM over two years, according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN, who tweets that the second year will be a player option.
That price allows the Lakers to slide him into their mid-level exception. According to Brad Turner of The Los Angeles Times (Twitter link), Harrell will be turning down more money from the Hornets to join the Lakers. It’s fair to assume the big man’s Klutch Sports connection helped seal the deal for the Lakers — LeBron James and Anthony Davis are among his new teammates who are also repped by Klutch.
As Bobby Marks of ESPN outlines (via Twitter), with Harrell getting the full MLE and Wesley Matthews being signed using the Lakers’ bi-annual exception, the team is now hard-capped and has about $20MM in wiggle room below that threshold. With nine players under contract so far, there’s still a chance the team could bring back some of its own unsigned free agents, but it’ll be a tight fit squeezing in a market-value deal for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and filling out the rest of the roster.
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