Montrezl Harrell

Pacific Notes: Wiseman, Warriors, Sarver, Clippers

The Warriors have already met with some prominent draft prospects via Zoom, including center James Wiseman and guard LaMelo Ball, Anthony Slater of The Athletic tweets. Wiseman is currently rated at No. 3 by ESPN with Ball at No. 2, just behind Georgia guard Anthony Edwards. With the draft rescheduled to October 15th, the Warriors anticipate they’ll get to evaluate prospects in person at some point.

We have more from the Pacific Division:

  • With the Warriors left out of the 22-team restart of the season, Draymond Green stands to benefit the most among the franchise’s players, Slater opines in a separate story. Green had been nursing a variety of injuries prior to the suspension of play and now he’ll get plenty of time to heal up prior to next season. Young players such as Eric Paschall, Jordan Poole, Alen Smailagic and Mychal Mulder will be hurt the most by the long gap between seasons, Slater adds.
  • Suns owner Robert Sarver says there are many hurdles to clear before play can resume in Orlando on July 31, according to Matt Layman of ArizonaSports.com. Sarver made his comments in a radio interview with 98.7 FM. “The logistics with Disney — you know a number of these hotels have had layoffs, have been partially closed or fully closed, and so there’s a re-startup there,” he said. “And then there’s the whole health concern with COVID-19 and how that plays out and making sure that we go back to what our first priority was, which was the health and safety of the players and the staff.”
  • If the Clippers are able to re-sign free agents Marcus Morris and Montrezl Harrell, they’re likely to bring back virtually the same team next season, John Hollinger of The Athletic predicted in a conversation with fellow Athletic writer Jovan Buha. Hollinger believes in that scenario the only additions will be a second-round draft pick and a minimum-contract point guard to replace Reggie Jackson.

L.A. Notes: Lakers, Green, Clippers, Morris

As the top-seeded team in the Western Conference when the NBA went on hiatus in March, the Lakers have a vested interest in what form the league will take upon its return this summer. With that in mind, Brett Dawson, Bill Oram, and Brian and Andy Kamenetzky of The Athletic explore how each of the proposed playoff formats would impact the Lakers and discuss which ones the team might favor.

The Athletic’s panel agrees that the Lakers, who are already losing home-court advantage – assuming the NBA resumes play in Orlando with no fans in attendance – would be opposed to a World Cup-style, play-in pool, which would increase the likelihood of a top team being knocked out early in the postseason.

However, The Athletic’s writers think L.A. would be all over the idea of reseeding the playoff teams one through 16, regardless of conference. In that scenario, the Lakers wouldn’t have to get past the Clippers to get to the NBA Finals — they’d instead be pitted against the Jazz or Rockets in round two and likely the Nuggets or Raptors in the semi-finals.

Here’s more on the NBA’s Los Angeles teams:

  • Lakers guard Danny Green has stayed busy during the NBA’s layoff in part due to his role as the team’s union representative, writes Tania Ganguli of The Los Angeles Times. It’s a responsibility Green takes seriously, having kept his teammates up to date on the latest discussions between the NBA and NBPA. “I care about the game of basketball and the next generation and want to make it better for them,” Green said of his NBPA role. “I’ll be, in the future, the old guy. It’s a fraternity you gotta make sure that it comes full circle where everybody is getting taken care of.”
  • Jovan Buha and John Hollinger of The Athletic dig into the Clippers‘ outlook beyond this season, with Hollinger arguing that retaining Marcus Morris should be a top priority for the club after surrendering a first-round pick for him at the trade deadline. The team also figures to try to re-sign Montrezl Harrell, though Hollinger notes that there are a number of potential center alternatives on the free agent market if the Clips get outbid for Harrell.
  • In case you missed it a few weeks ago, we previewed the Lakers‘ and Clippers‘ salary cap outlook for the 2020/21 season, taking a closer look at how much spending flexibility each team will have this offseason.

Pacific Notes: Hield, Wiggins, Harrell, Vassell

The Kings will likely give Buddy Hield the opportunity to bounce back next season rather than explore trades, James Ham of NBC Sports Bay Area. Hield’s four-year, $106MM extension kicks in next season and even though he lost his starting job this season, his shooting ability is not easily replaced. Sacramento has invested heavily in Hield’s development, though economic issues created by the pandemic could change the team’s approach.

We have more from around the Pacific Division:

  • The Warriors didn’t acquire Andrew Wiggins from the Timberwolves with the intention of flipping him for another star player, according to Anthony Slater of The Athletic. While they will aggressively pursue trades for Giannis Antetokounmpo, Bradley Beal and other All-Stars, they anticipate Wiggins being their starting small forward next season, Slater adds.
  • The Clippers would be better off trying to re-sign Marcus Morris and Reggie Jackson rather than giving big money to unrestricted free agent Montrezl Harrell, Jovan Buha of The Athletic opines. Harrell’s role won’t expand in the future the way the current roster is constructed. The lack of other two-way wings in the 2020 free agent class makes Morris more valuable, while Jackson could get more playing time in Los Angeles going forward after an impressive stretch before the stoppage of play.
  • Wing Devin Vassell of Florida State would be an ideal building block for the Kings as a late lottery selection, Richard Ivanowski of the Sacramento Bee argues. Vassell is the best team defender in the draft class, an above-average perimeter shooter and has a high motor, Ivanowski adds. Vassell is currently ranked No. 16 overall by ESPN.

Pacific Notes: Lakers, Kobe, Warriors, Clippers

With no end to the NBA’s hiatus in sight, the Lakers intend to ask a small group of senior-level staffers to voluntarily defer 20% of their salaries, sources tell Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link).

As Dave McMenamin of ESPN explains in a full report, the team is attempting to shield lower-level employees from losing out on any salary. The approach is similar to the one taken by the NBA last month, when the league reduced salaries for about 100 of its top-earning executives by 20%.

The Sixers briefly considered reducing salaries for their full-time employees last month before a PR backlash prompted the team to reverse course. Philadelphia’s cuts would have targeted at-will employees earning at least $50K per year. If the Lakers are focused only on higher-earning staffers and intend to defer – rather than altogether eliminate – that 20%, they likely won’t face the same kind of backlash the 76ers did.

Here’s more from around the Pacific:

Clippers Notes: Free Agency, Dunn, Lue, Hiatus

The Clippers have a realistic opportunity to bring back their 11-man rotation next season, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Many of the decisions will come down to whether the organization wants to make a financial commitment to its current players or explore other options.

L.A. has Bird rights on Montrezl Harrell and can offer him a longer and more valuable contract than anyone else. The Clippers have Non-Bird rights on Marcus Morris, who was acquired from the Knicks last month, and can offer a new deal starting at $18MM per season. JaMychal Green has a $5MM player option, and the team might decide to use part of its mid-level exception to re-sign Reggie Jackson.

Buha adds that the loss of revenue from the shortened season could work in the Clippers’ favor by depressing a free agent market that’s already limited by the small number of teams with cap space. Harrell and Morris may not get the offers they would have under normal circumstances, while Green could decide to stick with his guaranteed money.

There’s more Clippers news to pass along:

  • There may be something to the rumors that Doc Rivers would like to add Bulls guard Kris Dunn as a defensive specialist next season, Buha states in the same piece. Dunn will be a restricted free agent if Chicago makes a $4.6MM qualifying offer, and he could be a nice backcourt partner for Lou Williams coming off the bench. The downsides are Dunn’s poor 3-point shooting — 25.9% this year — and his season-ending knee injury.
  • Speculation regarding Tyronn Lue as the next head coach of the Nets has died down while the league has been on hiatus, but Buha understands why Brooklyn would be interested. During his time in Cleveland, Lue proved he could win a title and he developed a strong relationship with Kyrie Irving. Buha identifies two other members of Rivers’ staff, Rex Kalamian and Sam Cassell, who might get head coaching offers soon.
  • The Clippers may benefit as much as anyone from having several weeks off, Buha suggests in a separate column. They are among the league’s oldest teams and injuries have been a concern, particularly for Kawhi Leonard, Paul George and Patrick Beverley. New additions Morris and Jackson will also get more time to learn Rivers’ system.

Clippers Hoping to Keep Montrezl Harrell, Marcus Morris

The Clippers will try to re-sign Montrezl Harrell and Marcus Morris, who are both headed toward free agency this summer, sources tell Jovan Buha of The Athletic.

Harrell, 26, is in his third season in L.A. and has become one of the league’s best backup big men. A report from The Athletic earlier this season estimated he would receive offers between $20MM and $25MM annually, but Buha believes that number has declined because of Harrell’s deficiencies as a rebounder and rim protector, along with a market in which only seven teams will have cap room available.

Morris, 30, was acquired from the Knicks at the deadline to add frontline depth and a veteran presence. The Clippers will have his Non-Bird rights and can offer him up to $18MM, a 20% increase over his current $15MM salary.

Buha notes that the playoffs will factor into the decisions on both players, but L.A. appears to be in good position to keep them. The Clippers were able to stay under the tax line this season, which will delay the implementation of a repeater tax as the franchise heads into what should be a string of taxpayer years. Buha also points out that a weak free agent market limits the options for replacing Harrell and Morris if they leave.

USA Basketball Announces 44 Finalists For 2020 Olympic Roster

USA Basketball has formally announced a preliminary group of 44 players who are candidates to be part of the program’s roster for the 2020 Olympics in Tokyo.

The final roster will only consist of 12 players, so most of these finalists won’t actually play for Team USA at the Olympics. Some will likely withdraw from consideration, while others simply won’t make the final cut. However, these players have all expressed interest in being involved in the process.

“This is the first step in USA Basketball identifying the 12 players who will represent the United States as members of the 2020 U.S. Olympic Men’s Basketball Team in Tokyo,” said USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo.

“… Over the course of the remainder of the NBA season we’ll continue to monitor all of the athletes. Selecting the 12-man USA roster will obviously be an extremely challenging and difficult process, and we will again attempt to select the very best team possible to represent our country and who we hope will be successful in our difficult mission of repeating as Olympic champions for a fourth consecutive Olympics.”

Although the U.S. men’s team has won three consecutive Olympic gold medals, the program had a disappointing showing at last year’s World Cup, finishing in seventh place. Team USA will be looking for a bounce-back performance in Tokyo this summer, with many players from that World Cup squad among the 44 finalists announced today.

Here’s the full list of players who are candidates to play for Team USA at the 2020 Olympics:

  1. Bam Adebayo (Heat)
  2. LaMarcus Aldridge (Spurs)
  3. Harrison Barnes (Kings)
  4. Bradley Beal (Wizards)
  5. Devin Booker (Suns)
  6. Malcolm Brogdon (Pacers)
  7. Jaylen Brown (Celtics)
  8. Jimmy Butler (Heat)
  9. Mike Conley (Jazz)
  10. Stephen Curry (Warriors)
  11. Anthony Davis (Lakers)
  12. DeMar DeRozan (Spurs)
  13. Andre Drummond (Cavaliers)
  14. Kevin Durant (Nets)
  15. Paul George (Clippers)
  16. Draymond Green (Warriors)
  17. James Harden (Rockets)
  18. Montrezl Harrell (Clippers)
  19. Joe Harris (Nets)
  20. Tobias Harris (76ers)
  21. Gordon Hayward (Celtics)
  22. Dwight Howard (Lakers)
  23. Brandon Ingram (Pelicans)
  24. Kyrie Irving (Nets)
  25. LeBron James (Lakers)
  26. Kyle Kuzma (Lakers)
  27. Kawhi Leonard (Clippers)
  28. Damian Lillard (Blazers)
  29. Brook Lopez (Bucks)
  30. Kevin Love (Cavaliers)
  31. Kyle Lowry (Raptors)
  32. JaVale McGee (Lakers)
  33. Khris Middleton (Bucks)
  34. Donovan Mitchell (Jazz)
  35. Victor Oladipo (Pacers)
  36. Chris Paul (Thunder)
  37. Mason Plumlee (Nuggets)
  38. Marcus Smart (Celtics)
  39. Jayson Tatum (Celtics)
  40. Klay Thompson (Warriors)
  41. Myles Turner (Pacers)
  42. Kemba Walker (Celtics)
  43. Russell Westbrook (Rockets)
  44. Derrick White (Spurs)

Clippers Still Working Through Chemistry Issues

Some players on the Clippers are not thrilled with the team’s preferential treatment to Kawhi Leonard and Paul George, sources tell Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic. This sort of handling is common in the NBA nowadays. Stars play by different rules, however, that doesn’t mean things are always smooth behind the scenes.

Look across the Staples Center to LeBron James to see another example of stars getting different treatment. James frequently sets the Lakers’ practice and shootaround schedules, coordinating with coach Frank Vogel as they try to figure out what works best for the team. Yet, LBJ’s situation is generally accepted by teammates because of his leadership style; he has an ability to inspire and connect with his teammates in a way that facilitates it.

Leonard and George have different personalities. Leonard is a lead-by-example type and with George having the same approach, there’s a bit of uncertainty about whose voice should be the loudest.

“I think it boils down to Kawhi not talking, and so who is their true leader?” one source with knowledge of the Clippers’ dynamics said. “How do you get around that?”


After a loss to the Grizzlies earlier this month, Montrezl Harrell was particularly vocal about the team’s performance, telling the media that the Clippers were not a great team” while explaining that the club needed to “wake up and figure it out.” Harrell was asked about the vibe in the locker room and the center’s response was noteworthy.

“I don’t know, brother,” Harrell said at the time. “I don’t know. And that might be another problem right there.”

Doc Rivers addressed Harrell’s comments and Buha and Amick hear that tension had been rising in the locker room leading up to those remarks. The big man’s words also rubbed some teammates the wrong way as they felt Harrell’s post-game mood was, at times, reliant on his individual box score.

Harrell is in a contract year and could be in line for a major raise in free agency. However, sources tell The Athletic duo that the 25-year-old remains focused on the team’s goal of winning a championship over any sort of personal agenda.

“Everything he does is out of his passion for winning,” one source said. “He kind of walks to his own beat a little bit, but it’s not from a selfish perspective at all.”

Buha and Amick spoke to over a dozen sources and the entire piece is worth a read. Here are more highlights from the duo’s latest:

  • Multiple Clippers players don’t feel the team practices as hard or as seriously as it should be. Leonard’s load management plays a role in that.
  • The Clippers prefer to call the strategy with Leonard “injury management.” Los Angeles’ medical team still doesn’t consider Leonard a fully healthy player and maintains that Leonard should not play back-to-backs.
  • Leonard has become more vocal recently. He’s coordinated player-only film sessions that many around the team believe have been a key to the Clippers’ recent surge in the standings. “It wasn’t one of those crazy players-only meetings, but they started doing it two or three games ago,” Rivers said earlier this month. “They just felt like watching the game together instead of everybody watching their iPads, watching it alone, would be better.”
  • The team’s success over the next week or so (which includes games against the Heat and Lakers) could determine what Los Angeles does at the trade deadline. Many players and team employees feel the dynamics have improved and the team has begun to jell over the past few weeks.
  • Buha and Amick write that Leonard most frequently speaks with George, Patrick Beverley, Lou Williams, and Maurice Harkless. The pair notes that Leonard is not standoffish to others, but has grown the most comfortable with that group.
  • As a reminder, both Kawhi and PG can hit the free agent market in the summer of 2021, as each player’s deal contains a player option for the following season.

Trade Rumors: Iguodala, Clippers, Suns, Pacers

As we’ve heard all season long, the Grizzlies remain confident that they can trade Andre Iguodala and won’t need to buy him out of his contract, writes Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report.

“We will trade him, period,” A Grizzlies executive told Pincus. “We’ve gone far enough into the structure of deals with more than one team to say that [confidently].”

Marc Stein of The New York Times reported last month that Dallas isn’t expected to pursue Iguodala, but multiple executives still view the Mavericks as the best potential trade partner for Memphis, according to Pincus. One Western Conference executive speculated that the leak to Stein was “posturing,” suggesting that the Mavs and Grizzlies may be haggling over the Warriors’ 2020 second-rounder that Dallas holds.

Pincus shared a few more trade rumors and tidbits from around the NBA, so let’s round up the highlights…

  • Aron Baynes is believed to be on the Clippers‘ radar, and Pincus notes that Sam Vecenie of The Athletic recently suggested a Baynes/Ivica Zubac swap between the Suns and Clips. It’s unclear if the two sides have actually discussed such a deal or if it would interest either club, but Pincus suggests that Baynes would be a better complement to Montrezl Harrell.
  • Speaking of Harrell, the Clippers have had internal discussions about his future, but have yet to make any decisions on that front, per Pincus. Harrell will be an unrestricted free agent at season’s end.
  • If the Suns remain in the playoff hunt, they’re unlikely to trade Baynes. In fact, they may be more inclined to pursue upgrades, perhaps targeting power forwards like Kevin Love (Cavaliers) or Danilo Gallinari (Thunder). Gallinari is believed to be higher on Phoenix’s wish list, says Pinucs. “Not many teams will have cap space next summer. The Suns probably would be able to re-sign Gallinari at a much better price (than Love’s contract),” one Western Conference exec said. “There’s uncertainty, especially if they give up a first-rounder, but the difference in price would make Gallinari the better target.”
  • While multiple executives believe the Pacers will eventually trade one of either Domantas Sabonis or Myles Turner, the team itself remains content with its “old-school” frontcourt duo, according to Pincus.

Clippers Notes: Beverley, Harkless, George, Harrell

Clippers coach Doc Rivers is concerned about the status of Patrick Beverley, who hurt his right wrist in Saturday’s loss to the Jazz, writes Ohm Youngmisuk of ESPN. Beverley removed himself from the game after a hard fall on a third-quarter layup attempt. X-rays showed the wrist isn’t broken, but Rivers is worried that he might be sidelined for a while.

“We knew there was no break, but that doesn’t mean he is going to be out or not,” he said. “It could be a bruise, it could be anything. He clearly felt like he could not even grab the ball, so that is not a good sign. I’m concerned a little bit about what the injury is, if it’s an injury, if it’s just a one-game thing — hopefully it’s that.”

As one of the league’s top perimeter defenders, Beverley’s absence would be significant if he is lost for an extended stretch. He is averaging 8.0 points, 6.0 rebounds and 3.3 assists through 29 games.

There’s more Clippers news this morning:

  • Maurice Harkless is a good fit for the Clippers, but he may also be their most valuable asset in trade talks, according to Dan Woike of The Los Angeles Times. L.A. picked up Harkless for nearly nothing by helping to facilitate the trade that sent Jimmy Butler to Miami, and his $11MM expiring contract makes him an important piece for matching salaries. Sources tell Woike that the Clippers might be interested in Bulls forward Thaddeus Young, who is making $12.9MM in the first season of a three-year deal, as well as another center and an extra playmaker in the backcourt. “I just focus on what I’ve got going on here. That’s the only thing I can control,” Harkless said. “If I let myself worry about that stuff. … Man, I’ve been in the league long enough where I know how it goes. If it comes to that day, I’ll deal with it when I get there.”
  • The shoulder injuries that required Paul George to get two surgeries over the summer are affecting his approach to the game, tweets Ben Golliver of The Washington Post. “Last year, before the injury started, I was finishing through contact, finishing through defenders,” George said. “This year I’ve been shying away from contact.”
  • A flu that’s going around the team kept Montrezl Harrell out of the lineup Saturday and showed the Clippers could use some more help in the frontcourt, observes Brett Dawson of The Athletic.