Hornets head coach James Borrego recently gave his reaction to the trade that brought Montrezl Harrell to Charlotte, as Roderick Boone relays on his podcast, “The QC Hornets’ Nest,” for The Charlotte Observer (starts at 13:45).
“Excited to add a player that brings us some energy, edge, a toughness, a physicality; an interior presence who can finish and rebound at a high level. He’s always given us problems in the past. Now we get to use him on our end of the floor,” Borrego said.
The Hornets had been in a tailspin leading up to the deal, losing eight of their last 10 games to drop to 28-28 (currently 29-28 after their 141-119 victory over Detroit Friday). Borrego is hopeful Harrell can bring a spark off the bench.
“Over the years, he’s always given us trouble when he’s entered the game. Many times he comes in off the bench and brings in a spark that can really turn a game. He’s one of those individuals that, immediately when he steps on the floor the game can change. The feel of the game, the intensity of the game can change,” Borrego said.
Here’s more on the Hornets:
- Harrell had an immediate impact in his first game, Boone writes in a separate article for The Charlotte Observer. Boone notes that Harrell had 10 points in his first nine minutes of action, finishing with 15 points and six rebounds in 22 minutes. The veteran center said he’s always ready to play. “I like to play,” Harrell said. “I like to be around this game. I’m blessed to play this sport and be able to call it my job. So why miss the opportunity to be able to get out here and get acclimated with my team? Honestly, this is about not letting another one slip out of our hands. It’s about coming out here and trying to do anything to get the team a win.”
- LaMelo Ball said Harrell is a glue guy and his effort is contagious, per Boone. “I love ‘Trez already,” Ball said. “That’s definitely a glue guy. I’ve been seeing him since I was a kid. He just brings a whole lot of effort, keep people locked in. You want to play defense with him, so he’s a great player.”
- In an assessment of the trade, Boone writes that trading Smith will open an opportunity for rookie James Bouknight to get more minutes. The No. 11 pick of the 2021 draft, Bouknight has appeared in just 26 games to this point with an average of 10.3 MPG. He played 19 minutes against Detroit, scoring seven points and grabbing four rebounds. Boone also notes that it’s a low-risk look at Harrell, who’s a free agent this summer. The team will have early Bird rights on the North Carolina native.
- Charlotte GM Mitch Kupchak said interest in the team’s young players ahead of the trade deadline was eye-opening, according to Boone. “All of our young players, there was a lot of interest,” Kupchak said. “It was really eye-popping to me, some of the interest in some of our players. And some of them because they are young, and some of them because they’ve been productive. Some of them maybe because they don’t get paid a lot. So there’s a lot of factors. And I’d like to believe it’s because they are all young, promising players. And all of the players, of course there’s interest when you are looking at big pieces. But there was a lot of interest in our young players.”