Recently, reports have surfaced that suggest Montrezl Harrell and the Los Angeles Clippers are on the outs. With this, might it be wise of the Boston Celtics to look into dealing for the talented big?
It’s strange when teams that seemingly have it all going for them are having issues bubbling underneath the surface. Of course, Boston Celtics fans are used to a team that had things boil right in front of the world. Kyrie Irving isn’t exactly the best at sleight of hand off the court, despite being a virtuoso with it on it.
But here we are.
The Los Angeles Clippers are the fifth best team in the NBA. They have won almost 70% of their games so far, and have missed both Kawhi Leonard and Paul George during stretches of time ranging from a shoulder impingement to the always legitimate “load management”.
Now, the franchise has come across yet another hiccup during their successful 2019-20 run. According to multiple sources, LA Head Coach Doc Rivers “ripped into” big-man Montrezl Harrell during a team meeting earlier this month.
Rivers’ heated exchange was in direct response to Harrell’s public criticism of the team’s lackadaisical efforts following a 140-114 blowout loss to the Memphis Grizzlies on January 4th.
Montrezl Harrell lit into his own team postgame – “We’re not a great team. We’re not a great team… I think that’s what we need to realize and wake up. We’re a team that still has to figure out things to win night in and night-out.”#Clippers pic.twitter.com/NEMjdIlYzV
— Tomer Azarly (@TomerAzarly) January 4, 2020
The report first surfaced in an article written by Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic, where they went on to state:
“The gist of the expletive-laden message had been sent loud and clear: Keep your frustrations internal. Don’t vent to the media and create distractions for this locker room.”
This is just one of various articles reporting on friction between the talented big-man and Los Angeles. Where there is smoke, there is a blaze following it. Doc Rivers is not just the head coach of the Clippers; he doubles as the vice president of basketball operations.
Said a different way: he has autonomy over the comings and goings of the roster. You know where this is going because this is a Boston Celtics blog…the C’s need to strike.
Harrell’s words were thoughtful and were impressively verbalized. He is right. This team really hasn’t proven anything. They may end up being a second round also-ran.
Yes Celtics fans, that feeling is depressingly familiar.
Harrell essentially believes that the Clippers are a crop of talented players that have done nothing as a group. He is right. The current iteration of the Boston Celtics also is a group of talented players that have, in the grand scheme of things, proven nothing.
The difference is that there are no egos — at least, any that are being revealed to reporters and league insiders in Beantown. There has been hustle, grit and a chip-on-their-shoulder underdog attitude…not dissimilar to Harrell himself.
The fit is obvious. The Boston Celtics need a big. Harrell may need a change of scenery if things get rockier in the city of Angels.
After a career year in 2018-19, the 25-year-old has taken even greater strides forward in 2019-20. Through 44 games, Harrell has averaged an impressive 19.4 points, 7.2 rebounds and 1.1 blocks per game on 57% shooting from the field in just 28.8 minutes of action.
When given extended minutes, Harrell’s game has only proven to benefit. If acquired, he would easily be inserted into Boston’s starting unit and, if his per 36 averages of 24.3 points, nine rebounds, and 1.2 blocks are any indicator, he should indefinitely thrive from a starter’s worth of minutes.
Ipso facto? Danny Ainge should cobble together a package of Daniel Theis and the team’s own first rounder in 2020 (maybe protect it 1-20 just in case) and get their hands on a player who is underpaid, undervalued and, frankly, underrated on a Clippers team that plays him less than 30 minutes per game.
If you ask me, Ainge should at least phone Rivers and ask. If a springy wing like Terrence Mann can come back in return as well? The more the merrier!
Make it happen. He could be the toughness that the team currently lacks on the defensive end from their center rotation. A combo of Harrell and Kanter is a two-headed monster with serious fangs.
If Rivers has one more blessing he could bestow to the Boston Celtics fan-base, it should be Harrell in green and white.