Did the Lakers need to use their main mechanism for signing outside free agents – the mid-level exception – on another center when they already have Anthony Davis and JaVale McGee? Probably not.
Did the Lakers need another player represented by LeBron James‘ agent, Rich Paul of Klutch Sports? Well…
The Lakers are getting one in Montrezl Harrell.
Brian Windhorst of ESPN:
Montrezl Harrell is planning to sign with the Lakers for two years and $19 million with second season being a player option, agent Rich Paul tells ESPN
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) November 21, 2020
Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN:
Deal includes an option on second year. https://t.co/pw2CcXYNJx
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
Presumably, that’s a player option so Harrell can hit the market again next year. He certainly expected larger offers while on his way to winning Sixth Man of the Year. But he’s coming off a rough performance in the bubble, perhaps due to arriving late following the death of his grandmother but also showing his major defensive shortcomings in the playoffs.
The most the Lakers can pay him on a two-year contract is $18,978,900 – including a $9,258,000 salary next season. That’s the non-taxpayer mid-level exception, which means the Lakers are hard-capped and Wesley Matthews took the bi-annual exception.
If they otherwise fill their roster with minimum contracts, the Lakers could offer Kentavious Caldwell-Pope a starting salary of about $11 million while remaining below the hard cap. Will that be enough? He’s another Klutch client.
I’m not sure how committed the Clippers were to re-signing Harrell. He had issues with Paul George and maybe Kawhi Leonard.
This ought to intensify the Lakers-Clippers rivalry.