Montrezl Harrell

Clippers Notes: Rivers, Leonard, Harrell, Sterling

On one July night, the Clippers went from a fringe playoff contender to title favorites. Now it’s up to coach Doc Rivers to make all the pieces fit, writes Gary Washburn of The Boston Globe. The Clippers won a three-team race to sign Finals MVP Kawhi Leonard, and they made it happen by trading for regular season MVP finalist Paul George. Rivers has experience in molding elite talent into a championship team from his days with the Celtics.

“It’s not the superstar power. I don’t care about that,” he said. “It’s about having a team that you really think can compete for a title. Having a team with superstars that you don’t believe can compete for a title is nothing. There’s a difference. Because there are teams we all have seen that, and been around and had, you may have that one superstar but you’re not winning it.”

Rivers has coached a few disappointing teams in L.A., with his “Lob City” groups repeatedly falling short in the playoffs. Even though the new version of the Clippers has little championship experience outside of Leonard, Rivers welcomes the favorite’s role.

“Teams are going to try to come after us,” he said. “I think that’s a good thing. I think we need that. It will teach us hopefully every night you have to be ready.”

There’s more Clippers news to pass along:

  • Rivers tells Washburn that Leonard reminds him of a less-talkative version of Kevin Garnett and he welcomes the challenge of coaching him. “I don’t go into it knowing one way or another,” Rivers said. “My job is to get to know him first and how he plays, what makes him play better and how well he makes the team play better.”
  • Montrezl Harrell is trying to develop into more of a perimeter threat, relays Jovan Buha of The Athletic. All the Clippers received a list of skills from the coaching staff to work on during the summer, and outside shooting was the focus for Harrell and fellow center Ivica Zubac“I feel confident in my game and where I’m at,” Harrell said. “We worked extremely hard on being able to create my shot and knowing my shot.”
  • Tom Ziller of SB Nation examines the most interesting revelations to come out of the new podcast series about former Clippers owner Donald Sterling.

And-Ones: Team USA, Harrell, Redick, Hampton

Team USA appeared to replenish its World Cup training camp roster this afternoon by announcing a group of six players who will help replace the nine who have already removed their names from consideration. However, apparently not all of those six new additions are locks to attend training camp in Vegas next month.

According to Shams Charania of The Athletic (Twitter link), Clippers center Montrezl Harrell is appreciative of the invite from USA Basketball, but is unlikely to actually participate for Team USA due to scheduling issues and a desire to prepare for the upcoming season.

Meanwhile, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reports that new Pelicans sharpshooter J.J. Redick has also received an invitation to join Team USA’s roster, but is still mulling over whether to accept it. While Redick would love to represent his country, he’s wary of making a six-week commitment as he and his family make the move to New Orleans.

“I’m thrilled beyond belief to be considered but also trying to work through our family’s transition to New Orleans,” Redick told Wojnarowski.

As USA Basketball continues to put together its final training camp roster, here are a few more odds and ends from around the basketball world:

  • Top 2020 draft prospect R.J. Hampton – who will forgo college next season to play in New Zealand – has signed a lucrative shoe deal with Chinese brand Li-Ning, writes Nick DePaula of ESPN. Li-Ning aggressively pursued Hampton, according to DePaula, who says the deal’s total value would’ve made the young guard one of the four highest-earning players in the 2019 draft. Being selected in the top 10 next year will help secure a larger payday for Hampton, but ESPN’s Jonathan Givony (Twitter link) hears that the 18-year-old will still be guaranteed several million dollars even if he never appears in an NBA game.
  • ESPN’s Tim Bontemps polled NBA executives, coaches, and scouts to get their thoughts on the best, worst, and most surprising moves of the offseason. Meanwhile, ESPN’s Kirk Goldsberry examined the biggest questions facing the league’s new group of championship contenders.
  • What exactly does it mean when a player – or a group of players – has a workout for an NBA team? In an interesting piece for HoopsHype, Alex Kennedy spoke to players and coaches to get an idea of what individual and group workouts for NBA teams actually look like.

Team USA Updates: Millsap, Plumlee, Harrell, Select Team

USA Basketball has issued a press release announcing a series of updates relating to the team it’s putting together for the 2019 World Cup in China, as well as the training camp that will take place in August before that event. Here are the highlights of that announcement:

More withdrawals:

Nuggets big man Paul Millsap has joined the ever-growing list of players from Team USA’s initial 20-man roster who have decided not to participate in this year’s World Cup. As expected, Cavaliers power forward Kevin Love has also withdrawn from Team USA’s 2019 roster.

Millsap and Love join Bradley Beal, Anthony Davis, Eric Gordon, James Harden, Tobias Harris, Damian Lillard, and CJ McCollum among the original invitees who have removed their names from World Cup consideration.

New invitees:

Team USA confirmed that Thaddeus Young, Marcus Smart, Julius Randle, and Jaylen Brown will join the training camp roster for next month, as previous reports indicated.

In addition to those four players, two big men will join the roster as well, with Clippers center Montrezl Harrell and Nuggets center Mason Plumlee have received invitations from USA Basketball. Assuming the remaining 11 players from the original 20-man roster remain committed, that would bring the roster back up to 17.

[UPDATE: Harrell may turn down his invitation]

Those 11 other players are Harrison Barnes, Andre Drummond, Kyle Kuzma, Brook Lopez, Kyle Lowry, Khris Middleton, Donovan Mitchell, Jayson Tatum, P.J. Tucker, Myles Turner, and Kemba Walker.

Select Team:

For the first time, USA Basketball confirmed the players who will make up the Select Team at next month’s training camp in Las Vegas. The members of the 13-man Select Team will practice and scrimmage with Team USA’s training camp invitees, and will be coached by Jeff Van Gundy.

It’s possible that a player could be elevated from the Select Team to the primary roster and eventually find his way onto the 12-man squad that will play in China, but that’s probably a long shot.

The 13 players who will play for the Select Team are as follows:

  1. Jarrett Allen (Nets)
  2. Marvin Bagley III (Kings)
  3. Mikal Bridges (Suns)
  4. Jalen Brunson (Mavericks)
  5. John Collins (Hawks)
  6. Pat Connaughton (Bucks)
  7. De’Aaron Fox (Kings)
  8. Joe Harris (Nets)
  9. Jonathan Isaac (Magic)
  10. Mitchell Robinson (Knicks)
  11. Landry Shamet (Clippers)
  12. Derrick White (Spurs)
  13. Trae Young (Hawks)

Team USA’s training camp will take place during the week of August 5, while the World Cup itself is scheduled to run from August 31 to September 15.

Lou Williams Named Sixth Man Of Year Again

For the third time in five seasons, Clippers guard Lou Williams was named the league’s Sixth Man of the Year. The announcement was made at the NBA’s annual awards show on Monday.

There was little suspense that Williams would gain the honor for the second straight year. While the other finalists, Williams’ teammate Montrezl Harrell, and Pacers’ big man Domantas Sabonis, had plenty of big games, no bench player made a bigger impact than the veteran guard, who seems to get better with age.

Williams, 32, averaged 20.0 PPG and a career-high 5.4 APG in 26.6 MPG, more than six minutes less per game than the previous season when he averaged a career-high 22.0 PPG. He’s signed for two more seasons, though his $8MM salary for 2020/21 is not guaranteed.

He was Hoops Rumors’ unanimous choice for the award as well.

Clippers Unlikely To Include Gilgeous-Alexander In Davis Offer

The Clippers are among the teams reportedly interested in Anthony Davis. However, rookie guard Shai Gilgeous-Alexander is unlikely to be part of any offer, ESPN’s Bobby Marks said yesterday on The Sedano Show (hat tip to Larry Brown Sports). Marks believes Gilgeous-Alexander would be off limits if discussions take place between the two teams.

The 11th pick in last year’s draft, Gilgeous-Alexander quickly became a starter in Los Angeles, averaging 10.8 points, 2.8 rebounds and 3.3 assists while playing all 82 games. He also proved to be a capable play-maker and an aggressive defender.

Still only 19 and with a $3.95MM salary for next season, SGA would be an attractive asset to offer the Pelicans, but the Clippers seem determined to hold onto him. That makes it more likely that young, affordable players such as Montrezl Harrell ($6MM in 2019/20), Jerome Robinson ($3.57MM) and Landry Shamet ($1.995MM) will be part of the Clippers’ offer. Danilo Gallinari ($22.6MM) may have to be included for salary-matching purposes unless L.A. uses cap room to absorb Davis’ salary.

The Clippers were on the list of four preferred destinations that Davis gave the Pelicans when he submitted his trade request.

Harden, Giannis, George Named MVP Finalists

Defending champion James Harden, Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George are the finalists for this season’s Most Valuable Player award, the league announced in a press release.

The voting is expected to be close between Harden, who averaged 36.1 PPG and 7.5 APG during the regular season, and Antetokounmpo, who carried the Bucks to the best record in the league while averaging 27.7 PPG, 12.5 RPG and 5.9 APG. George averaged 28.0 PPG, 8.2 RPG and 4.1 APG.

[RELATED: Hoops Rumors’ 2019 NBA Award Picks: Most Valuable Player]

The league also released the finalists for its other awards. The winners will be revealed during a TNT broadcast on Monday, June 24. Here are the rest of the finalists:

Rookie of the Year:

Sixth Man of the Year:

Defensive Player of the Year:

Most Improved Player:

Coach of the Year:

  • Mike Budenholzer (Bucks)
  • Michael Malone (Nuggets)
  • Doc Rivers (Clippers)

Contract Details: Bolden, Carter, Harrell, Smart

Sixers forward Jonah Bolden has received the largest contract of any rookie second-round pick this summer, tweets Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders. The 36th player taken in the 2017 draft, Bolden spent a season with Maccabi Tel Aviv in Israel before coming to the NBA. Philadelphia gave him a four-year, $7MM deal with a starting salary of $1.69MM, although the third and fourth seasons are non-guaranteed.

The Nets signed Rodions Kurucs to a similar arrangement, Pincus adds (Twitter link). The 40th pick in this year’s draft, Kurucs will make $1.62MM in his first year and has incentives that could bring the value of his four-year contract up to $6.96MM. The first three seasons are fully guaranteed.

Pincus passes on a few more details about deals signed this summer:

  • Although Jevon Carter was taken 32nd overall, he signed for just the minimum salary over two seasons, less than others in his draft range (Twitter link). However, he received a full guarantee from the Grizzlies on both years. Jalen Brunson, taken at No. 33 by the Mavericks, makes more per season but is locked into a four-year deal (Twitter link). He will receive $1.23MM in his rookie year, with minimum salaries for the next three seasons. The first three years are fully guaranteed. Elie Okobo, the 31st pick, signed a four-year agreement with the Suns that will pay him $1.24MM in his first year, with three seasons at the minimum to follow. Only his first two years are guaranteed, and Phoenix has a team option on the final season (Twitter link).
  • Among the two-way contracts handed out this summer, only four players signed multi-year deals. Kostas Antetokounmpo of the Mavericks, Billy Preston of the Cavaliers, Yuta Watanabe of the Grizzlies and Thomas Welsh of the Nuggets all have two-year agreements (Twitter link).
  • The Clippers will pay Montrezl Harrell $6MM in each season of his two-year, $12MM deal (Twitter link).
  • Celtics guard Marcus Smart has a base salary of $11.16MM in the first year of his new deal, but $500K of likely incentives place the cap hit at $11.66MM. The incentives remain in effect for each season of his four-year contract.

Clippers Re-Sign Montrezl Harrell

July 24: The team has officially re-signed Harrell, according to a team press release.

“Montrezl is a tough, hard-playing, gritty competitor who is committed to winning,” said President of Basketball Operations Lawrence Frank. “We love his passion and energy, and are very excited to have Trezz back in a Clippers uniform.”

July 19: Restricted free agent center Montrezl Harrell has agreed to a two-year, $12MM deal to return to the Clippers, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. According to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times, Harrell’s contract will be fully guaranteed.

Harrell, 24, was one of the last remaining restricted free agents on the market with a reasonable potential to sign a significant deal. Only Clint Capela and Rodney Hood now remain.

An over-the-cap team, the Clippers had already split their entire non-taxpayer mid-level exception on forwards Luc Mbah a Moute and Mike Scott, but were able to re-sign Harrell using his Bird rights.

Harrell had a breakout season in 2017/18, playing in 76 games while averaging 11.0 points and 4.0 rebounds per contest and shooting a blistering 63.5 percent from the field. His 24.73 PER was good enough for 12th best in the entire NBA among qualified players.

The Clippers lost big man DeAndre Jordan in free agency to the Mavericks, but did acquire center Marcin Gortat from the Wizards in a trade for Austin Rivers. Accordingly, Harrell and Gortat will now seemingly compete for time at the center position for the Clippers in 2018/19, with Boban Marjanovic providing reserve minutes.

Pacific Notes: Stephenson, Ariza, Harrell, Ferrell

Headed to his seventh team in five years, new Laker Lance Stephenson is hoping he can land a long-term contract next summer, relays Scott Agness of Vigilant Sports. Stephenson expected a longer stay in Indiana after appearing in all 82 games last season. However, after teammate Thaddeus Young opted in to a $13.7MM deal and Doug McDermott was added in free agency, the Pacers elected to decline their $4.3MM option on Stephenson. He wound up signing a one-year, $4.5MM deal with L.A.

“I’m definitely looking for a long-term contract after this,” Stephenson said. “I’m trying to find a home. I’ve been moving a lot and to different teams. I’m trying to find a place where I can actually call home and feel comfortable, and actually get a nice place and stay there for a while.”

There’s more this morning from the Pacific Division:

  • The Suns contacted free agent forward Trevor Ariza in the first minute of free agency, he says in a video interview tweeted by the team. The former Rocket agreed to change teams after receiving a one-year, $15MM offer from Phoenix. “Sometimes things run their course and it’s time for a new start and new beginning,” Ariza explained. “There were a lot of options for me, but the one that … showed the most promise was this one. I’m excited to be here. I’m happy to be here. It’s closer to home [in Los Angeles] for me.”
  • The new two-year, $12MM contract for Montrezl Harrell leaves the Clippers about $500K below the tax line, but sets up a difficult roster decision, Bobby Marks posts on ESPN Now. Re-signing Harrell gives L.A. 16 guaranteed contracts, along with non-guaranteed deals for Patrick Beverley ($5,027,028) and C.J. Williams ($1,378,242). Neither becomes fully guaranteed until January 10.
  • The Kings finalized a three-year, $20.5MM contract with Nemanja Bjelica on Saturday, but not an expected deal with Yogi Ferrell, notes salary cap expert Albert Nahmad (Twitter link). He speculates that Sacramento could be examining its options with $14MM in remaining cap space and may use the room mid-level exception to sign Ferrell to a two-year, $6.2MM deal at a later date.

Free Agent Notes: Clippers, Harrell, Papanikolaou

We heard earlier today that the Clippers, who already have veteran centers Marcin Gortat and Boban Marjanovic under contract, are exploring the idea of adding Kyle O’Quinn, having met with him on Tuesday. In addition to their pursuit of O’Quinn, the Clips also maintain interest in re-signing Montrezl Harrell, reports Broderick Turner of The Los Angeles Times. Harrell is currently a restricted free agent.

As they weight their options at center, the Clippers will also have to be wary of their roster limits. The team entered the offseason with 12 players under contract, not counting rookies Shai Gilgeous-Alexander and Jerome Robinson. L.A. also reached deals with Mike Scott and Avery Bradley, increase the team’s tentative roster count to 16. Adding O’Quinn or re-signing Harrell would bump that total to 17, meaning two players would have to be waived or traded at some point.

Milos Teodosic, who has a partially guaranteed contract, and C.J. Williams, who is on a non-guaranteed contract, may be at risk of losing their roster spots with the Clippers, though that’s just my speculation.

Here are a few more free agent notes from around the league:

  • Dwight Howard is on track to sign with the Wizards when he officially becomes a free agent, but before he reached a deal with Washington, the veteran was said to have interest in the Warriors. In an appearance on Zach Lowe’s ESPN podcast (hat tip to RealGM), Tim Kawkami of The Athletic suggested the idea of adding Howard was internally discussed in Golden State, but he “was a ‘no’ in a lot of precincts of the Warriors.” We previously heard that the Dubs’ interest in Howard was tepid at best.
  • Former NBA forward Kostas Papanikolaou, who appeared in 69 total games for Houston and Denver between 2014 and 2016, is considering the possibility of an NBA return, tweets Ian Begley of ESPN.com. Papanikolaou played for Olympiacos in Greece last season.
  • One former NBA contributor who won’t be returning from Europe anytime soon is veteran guard Rudy Fernandez. The ex-Blazer signed a new two-year deal with Real Madrid in Spain, and said in a statement that he hopes to spend the rest of his career with the club.
  • In an informative piece for ESPN.com, Bobby Marks takes a team-by-team look at every club’s free agency situation, examining cap exceptions available, outstanding contract decisions, and much more.