Montrezl Harrell

Hornets Notes: Hayward, Bridges, Coaching Search, Harrell, Washington

Hornets forward Gordon Hayward is a name to watch in the trade market, though injuries limit his value, according to HoopsHype’s Michael Scotto, who conducted a podcast with Charlotte Observer beat reporter Rod Boone.

Hayward is regarded as a “neutral asset” that the Hornets can move. However, it’s unlikely they’ll benefit much in terms of cap space if they deal the veteran, who has two years and $61.5MM remaining on his contract. One executive told Scotto they might be able to move him for two players making around $10-15MM apiece.

The Pacers are an unlikely destination after trading away Domantas Sabonis and building around younger pieces.

More highlights from the podcast:

  • Both Scotto and Boone anticipate Miles Bridges will get $25MM or more annually in restricted free agency. Scotto sees Bridges as being coveted due to his status as a young, two-way, big wing. The Trail Blazers could pursue him if they can’t trade for Jerami Grant and teams with cap space, like the Pistons, could also be a factor. Boone believes he’ll return to the Hornets due to unfinished business with an improving team. The fact that he’s close with LaMelo Ball also works in Charlotte’s favor.
  • Neither Scotto nor Boone believe Mike D’Antoni is a viable option in the search for a head coach. Former Nets coach Kenny Atkinson, Bucks assistant Darvin Ham and Mavericks assistant Sean Sweeney are names to watch there. However, D’Antoni could wind up in Philadelphia if the Sixers let Doc Rivers go, according to Scotto.
  • Free agent Montrezl Harrell generally enjoyed playing with Charlotte this season and could return to the Hornets, depending upon the coaching hire. Harrell probably wouldn’t command more than the taxpayer mid-level on the open market, according to Scotto.
  • P.J. Washington, who is extension-eligible, is a movable piece and his name will pop up in trade rumors.

And-Ones: Kerr, Schofield, Lopez, Harrell, Play-In, McClung, Harrison

Would less be more? When it comes to the NBA schedule, Warriors coach Steve Kerr believes so. He’d like to see the NBA cut its regular season from 82 games to 72, Monte Poole of NBC Sports Bay Area writes. That would encourage coaches to play their regulars more often, instead of giving them nights off, particularly as the season winds down.

What makes the most sense is cutting back to maybe a 72-game schedule,” Kerr said. “Take 10 games off and get more time to rest in between games. I think you’ll get buy-in from the teams to play their guys more often.”

We have more tidbits from around the basketball world:

  • Magic forward Admiral Schofield was fined $20K, while Magic center Robin Lopez and Hornets center Montrezl Harrell were fined $15K for their roles in an on-court altercation on Thursday, the NBA announced (Twitter link). All three were ejected during the fourth-quarter scuffle (video link).
  • Commissioner Adam Silver likes the way the play-in tournament has encouraged teams on the playoff bubble to remain competitive but might tweak it in future years, Mike Vorkunov of The Athletic tweets. Executive VP of basketball strategy and analytics Evan Wasch suggested the league would consider a scenario where the ninth- and 10th-place finishers in each conference would have to win a certain number of games to qualify for the play-in.
  • Guard Mac McClung was named NBA G League Rookie of the Year after averaging 21.6 PPG and 7.6 APG for the South Bay Lakers, the league tweets. The Lakers rewarded McClung with a two-way contract on Saturday.
  • Free agent guard Shaquille Harrison has been named G League Defensive Player of the Year, according to a league press release. Harrison averaged 1.93 steals per game for the Delaware Blue Coats.

Southeast Notes: Oladipo, Porzingis, Beal, Harrell

Victor Oladipo could make his season debut Monday night and Heat players are excited about what he can contribute, writes Barry Jackson of The Miami Herald. Oladipo hasn’t played since reinjuring the quadriceps tendon in his right knee shortly after being acquired in a trade last season. Coach Erik Spoelstra said he’ll have to get final approval from trainers before deciding whether to use Oladipo on Monday, but added that “he’s close.”

“He looks great,” Caleb Martin said of Oladipo, who has been practicing with the G League team and working out with reserves and assistant coaches. “He’s going to add a huge boost to us. Adding a player of his caliber to our team is always going to be a positive. He’s too good. He’s going to find his way. We’re all going to adjust to him and figure out how we look with him in it. He will find his way. We will adjust to him. He can’t do anything but make us a lot better. That’s the scary thing about it.”

Keeping Oladipo beyond this season could be difficult, Jackson notes. The Heat will own his Bird rights after giving him a one-year, minimum-salary contract this season, but they may not have much to offer if they’re focused on staying out of luxury tax territory. Jackson states that if they re-sign Martin to a deal in the $8MM range and keep the rest of the roster intact, that would only leave about $4-$5MM for Oladipo.

There’s more from the Southeast Division:

  • Kristaps Porzingis could make his debut with the Wizards today, tweets Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Porzingis, who has been sidelined with knee soreness, was a full participant in practice Saturday for the first time since last month’s trade and will be evaluated before the game to make sure he’s ready to play, Hughes adds.
  • Executives and agents that Hughes has talked to believe Bradley Beal would definitely accept a maximum-salary offer from the Wizards this summer (video link). Hughes notes that Beal can make about $60MM more in a new five-year deal with Washington than he could by accepting a four-year contract with another team. Beal indicated this week that he’s leaning toward re-signing with the Wizards.
  • Appearing on the QC Hornets’ Nest podcast, Montrezl Harrell said he understands that being traded is part of the business of the NBA. The Hornets center was acquired from the Wizards at the deadline, marking the third trade of his career and the second in six months.

Wolves Notes: Harrell, Trade Deadline, Gupta, Simmons, Roster Spot

The Timberwolves wanted to add size to their front line, but the closest they came to making a trade at the deadline was a proposed swap with the Wizards involving Montrezl Harrell, according to Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic. Harrell could have helped a Minnesota team that has been near the bottom of the league in defensive rebounding all season, but Krawczynski states that there was internal debate about how he would have fit in. He’s only 6’7″ and isn’t a good outside shooter or an outstanding defender, so the Wolves passed on the deal and Harrell wound up in Charlotte.

Minnesota talked to the Celtics about acquiring Marcus Smart, but never made much traction, Krawczynski adds. Boston offered Josh Richardson and Romeo Langford in exchange for Malik Beasley, but the Wolves turned it down, feeling that Beasley’s outside shooting is too valuable to part with.

There’s more from Minnesota:

  • Executive vice president of basketball operations Sachin Gupta had plenty of incentive to make a huge trade by the deadline, but he didn’t feel like the right offer was available, Krawczynski writes in the same piece. Gupta, who took over his position when Gersson Rosas was fired before the start of training camp, could have felt pressure to shake up the roster before the new ownership group decides on his future with the organization. “I could imagine the perception that I would want to put my stamp on things and make a move just for the sake of it. But that’s just not how I operate,” Gupta said. “I’m going to operate from a position of what is best for this franchise, not for me.”
  • The Timberwolves had been mentioned frequently as Ben Simmons suitors since last summer, but the package the Nets got from the Sixers on Thursday is far better than anything Minnesota could have offered, contends Michael Rand of The Star Tribune. The Wolves didn’t have the star that Philadelphia president of basketball operations Daryl Morey was seeking, and they weren’t able to convince a third team to get involved. Rand also suggests that Minnesota may have benefited from keeping its young core together, rather than breaking it up for a shot at Simmons.
  • The Wolves have an open roster spot, but they won’t address it right away, at least not on a permanent basis, tweets Chris Hine of The Star Tribune. Gupta said the team doesn’t expect to fill that spot with more than a 10-day contract until at least March due to luxury tax concerns.

Hornets Notes: Harrell, Borrego, Young Players, Deadline

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).

Borrego first showed appreciation for Ish Smith and Vernon Carey, who were dealt to Washington in exchange for Harrell. Borrego said he’s excited to bring in an energetic, tough player in Harrell.

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.”

Hornets Acquire Montrezl Harrell From Wizards

7:08pm: The trade is official, according to a Wizards press release. The pick Washington is receiving is a conditional seconder (2023 or 2024 from Boston via Charlotte).

The Hornets’ announcement states that the Wizards will receive the Celtics’ 2023 second-rounder if it’s not in the top 45. Presumably, if that pick lands in its protected range, Washington would instead get Boston’s 2024 second-rounder.

1:26pm: The Wizards are finalizing a deal to send veteran center Montrezl Harrell to the Hornets, tweets Shams Charania of The Athletic.

Washington will get Vernon Carey and Ish Smith in return, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link). The Wizards will also receive a second-round pick, per Chris Haynes of Yahoo Sports (Twitter link).

Harrell, 28, will provide a rugged interior presence for a Charlotte team that has been searching for help in the middle. He was acquired from the Lakers in the five-team offseason trade that sent Russell Westbrook to L.A., and averaged 14.1 points and 6.7 rebounds in 46 games with the Wizards.

Moving Harrell relieves the logjam in the middle that Washington has been dealing with ever since Thomas Bryant returned from an ACL injury last month. However, the timing of the move is interesting because Harrell talked publicly over the weekend about the negative mood in the team’s locker room.

Harrell has a $9.7MM expiring contract, and the Hornets will have early Bird rights on him this summer, tweets Bobby Marks of ESPN. Harrell is a North Carolina native, which may make him more likely to remain in Charlotte.

Smith, who played two seasons in Washington before going to Charlotte, has a $4.7MM non-guaranteed contract for next season. Carey will make $1.8MM next year and has a $1.9MM team option for 2023/24.

Harrell, Caldwell-Pope Speak Out About Wizards’ Slide

The mood in the Wizards‘ locker room continues to sour, and Montrezl Harrell let his frustrations boil over after Saturday’s lopsided loss to the Suns, writes Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. The Wizards, who have now dropped seven of their last eight games, trailed by as many as 36 points and registered their lowest point total in four years.

“It sucks, bro. That’s the mood of the team. It [expletive] sucks. Coming in here and teams are basically beating our [expletive] from start to finish. So, it sucks, man,” Harrell said. “Nobody likes losing. Everyone in our locker room is competitive-minded people and love to compete and get after it. But it just sucks right now because over the last eight games we’ve played, we lost seven of them. That’s tough for anybody to withstand or have on their plate. So, that’s the energy in the room right now, it just [expletive] sucks.”

The numbers were terrible across the board for Washington Saturday night before a late rally brought the final score to a deceptively close 95-80. The Wizards managed just 11 points in the second quarter as they trailed by 27 points at halftime. For the game, they shot 35.3% from the field and made just 5-of-24 three-point attempts.

Although he didn’t single out the coaching staff, Harrell suggested that his team wasn’t ready to play when the game tipped off. First-year head coach Wes Unseld Jr. has been emphasizing the need for more energy and effort, but Harrell doesn’t believe that should be a concern.

“I don’t know, but I’m tired of hearing the energy thing, bro,” he said. “If you can’t energize yourself or fire yourself up to be able to come here to play the game of basketball, bro, which is your job and you make a lot of money to do it, brother, then you’re in the wrong field, man. I’m tired of hearing that.”

Washington’s 10-3 start seems like a long time ago for a team that’s now 24-28 and in danger of missing the play-in tournament. Hughes points out that the Wizards have just one game left before Thursday’s trade deadline and the front office might consider Harrell’s comments as it discusses potential deals.

With a $9.72MM expiring contract, Harrell is among the candidates to be moved. After Thomas Bryant returned from an ACL injury last month, the Wizards have been trying to find playing time for three centers.

Harrell wasn’t the only player to speak out in frustration after the loss, Hughes adds in a separate storyKentavious Caldwell-Pope, who was acquired in the same trade that brought Harrell to Washington, said the team doesn’t have a defensive identity and isn’t talking enough on that end of the court.

“A lot slips with communication, I don’t know what it is,” he said. “We love talking to each other, but when we get on the court, no one talks to each other. That communication, it helps a lot. It helps on the defensive end, getting guys in position to defend or help. Offense, just talking everybody through it. …We just don’t have that consistency in the communication and playing hard.”

Southeast Notes: Hayward, Lowry, Bryant, Wizards

Hornets forward Gordon Hayward cleared the league’s health and safety protocols on Tuesday, according to the team’s PR department (Twitter link). He didn’t travel with the team to Boston on Wednesday due to reconditioning and is listed as questionable to play against Cleveland on Friday.

We have more from the Southeast Division:

  • Kyle Lowry has rejoined the Heat, as Anthony Chiang of the Miami Herald noted on Wednesday. Lowry had missed the last nine games due to personal reasons. He returned to the starting lineup on Thursday against San Antonio but had a rough night. He had two points and six turnovers, though Miami prevailed by 17 points.
  • Wizards center Thomas Bryant sprained his right ankle against Milwaukee on Tuesday and didn’t play against Philadelphia on Wednesday, Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington tweets. His status for the team’s upcoming five-game homestand has yet to be determined.
  • In a story regarding the trade deadline, Hughes confirms the Wizards have shown interest in acquiring the Pacers’ Domantas Sabonis and Pistons’ Jerami Grant. Hughes explores how they might fit in the lineup with Bradley Beal. He also hears that Montrezl Harrell and Davis Bertans are the two Washington players most likely to be dealt.

Wizards Rumors: Beal, Simmons, Avdija, Hachimura, Bertans

We already published one collection of Wizards-related rumors today, examining the team’s interest in Domantas Sabonis and Spencer Dinwiddie‘s availability, among other topics. However, a deep dive into Washington’s deadline plans from David Aldridge and Josh Robbins of The Athletic covers a few additional bases, necessitating another roundup of notes and rumors from out of the nation’s capital.

Aldridge and Robbins, like other reporters, have heard no indications that the Wizards are considering trading star Bradley Beal, but the sources they spoke to were less certain about Beal’s intentions going forward.

Multiple league sources told The Athletic that the veteran guard remains conflicted about his future, torn between wanting to remain loyal to D.C. and being uncertain about whether the Wizards can surround him with championship-caliber talent.

Beal has been frustrated by the team’s gradual slide down the standings this season, and sources close to him suggest he wouldn’t automatically reject the idea of being traded, according to Aldridge and Robbins. However, he hasn’t asked to be dealt and his preference is still to remain with the Wizards, who want to continue building around him.

Here are a few more highlights from The Athletic’s story on the Wizards:

  • While Beal is among the Sixers‘ targets in a Ben Simmons trade, Philadelphia isn’t willing to include Tyrese Maxey or Matisse Thybulle along with Simmons in an offer for Beal, sources tell Aldridge and Robbins.
  • If the Wizards were to trade Beal, it would likely signal the beginning of a teardown and a restart for the franchise, which owner Ted Leonsis seems adamantly opposed to, per The Athletic’s duo. “I don’t see them doing that because I think the owner would prefer not to go through the pain,” one rival team executive said. “They’ve got the right people in place (in the front office), but (Leonsis) doesn’t have the stomach for it.”
  • The consensus around the NBA is that most of the veterans the Wizards have made available, including Dinwiddie, Montrezl Harrell, and Thomas Bryant, don’t have enough value on their own to net significant returns. At least one of Deni Avdija or Rui Hachimura would probably have to be included if Washington wants to take a bigger swing. One league executive who spoke to The Athletic described Avdija and Hachimura as potential “starting-caliber players,” but said talent evaluators generally don’t view them as future All-Stars.
  • In order to move Davis Bertans, who is under contract through 2025, the Wizards would likely have to either attach an asset or take back an equally bad contract, per Aldridge and Robbins. “It feels tough (without attaching a pick),” one executive said. “Maybe they can take back a similar contract that doesn’t have the player option year. But, yeah, hard to move.”

Wizards Rumors: Sabonis, Grant, Beal, Bryant, Harrell, Dinwiddie

A number of people around the NBA think the Wizards will go “big-game hunting” at the trade deadline in an effort to ensure Bradley Beal remains happy with the situation in D.C. ahead of his upcoming free agency, Michael Scotto of HoopsHype said on his latest podcast.

Scotto identified Pistons forward Jerami Grant and Pacers center Domantas Sabonis as two potential targets to watch for the Wizards. Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report mentions the same two names in his look at Washington’s deadline options, referring to Sabonis as a player who has emerged as a “significant” target for the Wizards.

According to Fischer, there’s a belief Beal has signaled plans to re-sign with the Wizards in the offseason, and there has been no indication the team is willing to discuss him in trade talks on or before February 10. However, having slid down the standings since a 10-3 start, the club appears to be in the market for an impact player in order to help “solidify Beal’s standing” in Washington.

Here’s more on the Wizards:

  • One source with knowledge of the situation tell Bleacher Report that Beal hasn’t actively encouraged the Wizards to acquire Sabonis, but word around the league is that the Wizards star would welcome the opportunity to play with the big man, Fischer writes. The Kings and Pelicans are the other teams believed to have serious interest in Sabonis, per Fischer’s sources.
  • The Pacers‘ front office liked Rui Hachimura heading into the 2019 draft and considered Corey Kispert in the 2021 lottery, according to Fischer, who notes that at least two of Hachimura, Kispert, and Deni Avdija would probably have to be included in any package for Sabonis. The Wizards would also have to offer a player like Thomas Bryant or Montrezl Harrell for salary-matching purposes, plus possibly draft assets, and even that might not meet Indiana’s high asking price, says Fischer.
  • The Wizards have made outgoing calls to assess Harrell’s trade value, and rival executives believe they’re playing Bryant more lately in order to showcase him for a potential deal, writes Fischer.
  • Although the Wizards have made Spencer Dinwiddie available, his down year will make it more challenging to find a trade partner, per Fischer. “He needs the ball, he’s not good enough to have the ball, and he’s not a good shooter,” a Western Conference executive said to Bleacher Report.