Montrezl Harrell

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.

Woj, Lowe On D-Lo, Mavs, MPJ, Love, VanVleet, More

Approximately 120 players around the NBA became trade-eligible on Sunday, signaling the unofficial start of the NBA’s 2019/20 trade season. To celebrate the occasion, Adrian Wojnarowski and Zach Lowe hosted an ESPN special to survey the trade market, discussing which teams are most likely to make moves and which players are most likely to be dealt.

Here are several of the highlights from that discussion between Woj and Lowe:

Western Conference:

  • The Warriors may field trade inquiries on D’Angelo Russell leading up to February’s trade deadline, but they’re unlikely to actively shop him and probably won’t move him before the 2020 offseason, according to Wojnarowski (video link).
  • Wojnarowski believes the Mavericks would like to acquire a standout center to complement Luka Doncic and Kristaps Porzingis (video link). He cites Montrezl Harrell as one player who might fit that bill, though Dallas would have to wait for the Clippers‘ big man to reach free agency.
  • The Nuggets essentially view Michael Porter Jr. as “untouchable,” says Wojnarowski (video link).
  • Wojnarowski and Lowe expect contenders to keep a close eye on Pelicans guards Jrue Holiday and J.J. Redick as the deadline nears (video link). According to Woj, Holiday loves New Orleans, but it’s not clear how patient he’ll be with the team’s rebuilding process.
  • Woj and Lowe note that the Clippers pursued Marcus Morris in free agency and could have interest in him again on the trade market. Lowe wouldn’t be surprised if the club tries to see what it can get using a package of Maurice Harkless, Patrick Patterson, and its first-round pick (video link).
  • Wojnarowski views 2019/20 as a pivotal year for the Rockets, adding that GM Daryl Morey seems to have given up trying to find a way to trade for Grizzlies wing Andre Iguodala after exploring multi-team scenarios earlier in the year (video link).

Eastern Conference:

  • Wojnarowski thinks the best the Cavaliers can realistically expect in a Kevin Love trade is a protected first-round pick, an expiring salary, and another throw-in player (video link). Woj adds that it seems as if Love is “ready to go,” having lost patience with the rebuild in Cleveland.
  • Count the Raptors and Heat among teams that will be reluctant to make any moves that compromise their 2021 cap flexibility (video links). According to Wojnarowski, Toronto wants to re-sign Fred VanVleet this summer, but continues to eye Giannis Antetokounmpo for ’21. As for the Heat, they seem less likely to trade young players for veterans than they have been in the past.
  • Pistons owner Tom Gores “loves” Andre Drummond, but the club will soon have to have a serious conversation about whether to go all-in on the veteran center or whether to try to shop him, per Woj (video link).
  • Lowe thinks players like Timberwolves forward Robert Covington and J.J. Redick will be on the Bucks‘ radar if they’re available, adding that Milwaukee appears willing to go over the tax line for the right deal (video link).

Free Agent Stock Watch 2019: Pacific Division

Every week, Hoops Rumors takes a closer look at players who will be free agents or could become free agents next offseason. We examine if their stock is rising or falling due to performance and other factors. This week, we take a look at players from the Pacific Division:

Montrezl Harrell, Clippers, 25, PF (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $12MM deal in 2018
The Rockets had no idea what they were giving up when they tossed Harrell into the Chris Paul blockbuster. Harrell doesn’t have a three-point shot but otherwise, he’s a terror. He was a prime candidate for Sixth Man of the Year last season and will be once again. He’s averaging 19.1 PPG, 8.0 RPG and 2.2 APG despite starting just two of 22 games. Harrell will be a hot commodity as an unrestricted free agent and the Clippers will be pushed into luxury tax territory if they want to retain him. It would be worth the cost.

Glenn Robinson III, Warriors, 25, SF (Up) – Signed to a one-year, $1.9MM deal in 2019
Robinson’s last season in Indiana was a washout due to an ankle injury. His one season in Detroit was a washout due to a lack of production. With an expanded role on a bad team, Robinson is upgrading his resume. He’s averaging 32.1 MPG as a starter and averaging 11.6 PPG, 4.6 RPG and 2.0 APG while making 38.9% of his 3-point tries. Stats compiled under these circumstances can be deceiving but Robinson has at least regained his confidence and shown he’s worthy of a rotation spot on most teams.

Avery Bradley, Lakers, 29, SG (Down) – Signed to a two-year, $9.8MM deal in 2019
Bradley started 10 games for the streaking Lakers this season, though he didn’t shoot well (28.6% from deep) playing alongside two of the league’s biggest stars. The big issue for Bradley in recent seasons has been staying on the court and once again, the injury bug has bitten him. He’s out at least another week with a lower leg issue. Bradley’s contract includes a $5MM player option and he needs to show he can stay healthy and productive for a long stretch in order to decline that option and test the free agent waters.

Aron Baynes, Suns, 32, C (Up) – Signed to a two-year, $10.6MM deal in 2018
The popular Australian big man has gotten off to a terrific start in Phoenix with Deandre Ayton serving his 25-game league-imposed suspension. Baynes is averaging 14.7 PPG, 5.7 RPG and 2.9 APG in 24.0 MPG through 13 games. He’s also turned into a solid three-point shooter (43.9%), adding a new element to his game. He’s been slowed recently by a calf injury but with a dearth of quality centers around the league, Baynes will get some multi-year offers as an unrestricted free agent this offseason.

Harry Giles, Kings, 21, PF (Down) – Signed to a three-year, $6.6MM deal in 2017
The 20th pick of the 2017 draft, Giles has battling injuries since entering the league. He didn’t make his NBA debut until last season, then appeared in 58 games off the bench. The Kings declined their fourth-year option on him prior to this season, making him an unrestricted free agent this summer. He doesn’t have a rotation spot under new coach Luke Walton, averaging just 7.4 MPG in seven appearances this season. The same age as a college senior, Giles will get a second chance somewhere but his offers will be modest.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Western Notes: Morant, Harrell, Hood, Gasol, Murray

The Grizzlies are playing Ja Morant limited minutes and they plan to keep it that way for the foreseeable future, David Cobb of the Memphis Commercial Appeal reports. Morant played fewer than 30 minutes in four of his first five games, with the exception coming during an overtime game. Coach Taylor Jenkins hopes the approach will keep the second overall pick and anointed floor leader fresh during the 82-game schedule. “I’ve always been a big believer, you start playing in the mid-30s (minutes per game) you kind of wear down,” Jenkins said. “Our rookies, including him, have never played 82 games in a season.”

We have more from around the Western Conference:

  • Forward Montrezl Harrell continues to prove his worth to the Clippers, Helene Elliott of the Los Angeles Times writes. Harrell, who will be an unrestricted free agent after the season, is averaging 19.3 PPG and 5.9 RPG to help the team weather the injury absence of Paul George. After acquiring him in the Chris Paul deal with Houston, the Clippers were so unsure about Harrell that they considered waiving him during the summer of 2017, according to Elliott.
  • Trail Blazers guard Rodney Hood suffered a knee injury on Saturday but he didn’t sustain any structural damage, Jason Quick of The Athletic reports. The team’s medical staff determined that Hood has a bone bruise. Hood re-signed with Portland this offseason on a two-year, $11.7MM contract. Veteran center Pau Gasol, who joined Portland on a one-year, veteran’s minimum contract, has ramped up his workouts as he continues rehab from offseason foot surgery. Gasol did a series of shooting drills after a shootaround last week.
  • Nuggets guard Jamal Murray has become a more vocal leader this season and his teammates appreciate the change, Nick Kosmider of The Athletic relays. “I think it’s big-time,” fellow guard Monte Morris said. “If he’s going to be our starting point guard, everybody’s going to look for him to lead us.”
  • Nikola Jokic‘s numbers are down and Nuggets coach Michael Malone says his center must get more aggressive, according to Mike Singer of the Denver Post. He’s averaging 15.8 PPG, 4.3 PPG down from his average last season, while taking 2.6 fewer shots per game. “I don’t think he is, in terms of people thinking he’s checked out or not playing hard,” Malone said. “I don’t see that as the case at all. … I just have to make sure I keep on reminding him of how important he is to us, being aggressive and setting the tone.” Jokic is in the second year of a five-year, $147.7MM contract.

Clippers Notes: Arena, Patterson, Williams, Depth

Despite a loss last night to the Suns, the 2019/20 season is off to a good start for the Clippers. Unfortunately, it doesn’t appear the same can be said about the team’s effort to build a new arena, writes Jason Henry of the Orange County Register.

Per Henry, the Clippers efforts to fast track a new home in Inglewood have stalled because the California Air Resources Board does not believe the project meets the necessary environmental standards, according to a letter written by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

Newsom considers the new arena an important economic benefit for the L.A. community, urging the Clippers and CARB to continue working toward a resolution, but the Governor will not intervene in the decision-making process by CARB, an independent body tasked with determining whether the Clippers can adequately prevent a net increase in greenhouse gases and other emissions.

“I support holding project sponsors to California’s high standards for environmental benefit and mitigation, and I hope you collectively can find a path forward,” Newsom wrote in his letter.

The Clippers want to start construction in 2021 and have the arena game-ready three years later, when their lease at Staples Center expires. It appears to remain unknown at this time how much of a barrier this issue will become to that timeline.

There’s more news from the Clippers this afternoon:

  • Andrew Grief of the Los Angeles Times writes how the role of Patrick Patterson will be a bit different this season than it ever has been before for the 30-year-old power forward. Through three games, he is averaging six three-point attempts per game, nearly three times his career average, as he embraces his new role as a spot-up shooter.
  • The Clippers are looking for Lou Williams to help form a “Big 3” with Kawhi Leonard and Paul George once George returns from injury, per Mark Medina of USA Today. Williams, who is ready for the challenge, said he really wants to win a championship before he hangs it up. “I don’t know how many cracks I’m going to have at winning a championship. I feel like we really have a good group. I don’t want that opportunity to go to waste because our mentality is not sharp. I’m just doing my part to make sure everybody is on the same page and the competitive level is there. We don’t take days off and we compete.”
  • Matt John of Basketball Insiders explores how the Clippers are more than just Leonard and George, pointing out that players like Williams, Montrezl Harrell, and JaMychal Green had already played extended minutes together before this season.