Most of us were expecting that the battle for LA between the Lakers and Clippers would give us an NBA finalist last season, but that didn’t happen in the end. We all know why – the Clippers imploded and lost a 3-1 lead against the Nuggets. You could tell from miles away that there was no chemistry in that team even though it was stacked and deep. After the loss, Doc Rivers was shown to the back door, and his assistant Tyronn Lue took over. Then came the free agency in which the Clippers surprisingly lost the sixth man of the year Montrezl Harrell.
As Sam Amick from The Athletic reported, the Clippers wanted to do a sign and trade to get assets back for Montrezl Harrell. The Lakers stepped in, or should we say Rich Paul from Klutch Sports stepped in, and ruined the Clippers’ master plan.
“(The Clippers) had let it be known (with other teams) that they did not want to sign (Harrell) to a $70 million or $80 million deal, and they were more than happy to do a sign-and-trade if someone was interested (in free agency). They had put that out. That was out there. And the Lakers swooped in and said, ‘You know what? We’ll save you the trouble.’ For him to take that (two-year, $18.9 million; player option in the second season) contract, to me, you talk about not only your gain but taking him away from your biggest competitor. I mean, that was huge, in my opinion.”Lakers scout to Sam Amick, The Athletic
Trez got $9 million a year (the second year is a player option), and considering how much some guys got in free agency, that was a steal. Probably a revenge move too. Harrell presumably had other offers, but he moved to the biggest enemy. Oh, and he took a pay cut as well.
In the long run, you can see Trez wanted to put himself in a better position for a lucrative long term contract. His value declined due to his performance in the bubble. It’s irrelevant if it’s because of his form or because the Clippers used him the wrong way; he intends to raise his value. A nice bonus would be winning a chip too.
We saw Harrell against his old teammates in the preseason, and you can tell that those LA battles will be as fierce as ever. Maybe we’ll finally see that battle in the Western Conference Finals after all.