Montrezl Harrell has strong words for Clippers, defends move to Lakers

Montrezl Harrell defended his move from the LA Clippers to the Los Angeles Lakers.

One of the most stunning moves of 2020 NBA free agency was undoubtedly Montrezl Harrell’s decision to leave the LA Clippers for their inner-city rivals, the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers.

The reigning Sixth Man of the Year jumping ship from one title contender to the team that actually won it all was surprising enough, but agreeing to a two-year, $19 million deal worth the Mid-Level Exception to do so made for quite a shock.

However, it doesn’t appear Harrell has any regrets about leaving a team that may not have wanted him back, as he told ESPN’s Ohm Youngmisuk.

“I have great respect for those guys and for the organization,” he said. “But like I said, if they wanted me back, obviously, it doesn’t seem that way does it?”

Montrezl Harrell defended his move to the Lakers

As Harrell stated, if you play anywhere long enough, you’ll want to stay in your current situation when free agency rolls around. However, there was more to his decision to leave the Clippers for their hated rivals while taking a discount to do so.

If anything, this just reinforces the notion that the Clippers didn’t really want Trez back. While Harrell put up big numbers off the bench, averaging a career-high 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game en route to the Sixth Man of the Year award, he was a major liability on the defensive end, especially in the playoffs.

During the Clippers’ time in the postseason, where they choked away a 3-1 series lead against the Denver Nuggets in the second round, LA was a whopping plus-123 in 386 minutes with Harrell off the court. In the 243 minutes he played, the Clippers’ plus/minus plummeted to minus-68. Doc Rivers’ insistence on playing Harrell was a big reason for the team’s collapse against Denver, as well as his subsequent firing in the offseason.

Now on the Lakers, Harrell has a chance to make his old team regret their (understandable) decision to let him walk. Either way, the Staples City rivalry just got a big juicier.