Former 6th Man of the Year Picked Rival Over Joining Celtics: Report

Montrezl Harell

Getty Blake Griffin of the Boston Celtics and Montrezl Harrell of the Philadelphia 76ers.

After the Boston Celtics traded Daniel Theis, among others, for Malcolm Brogdon, they needed frontcourt depth so as not to overextend 36-year-old Al Horford and the injury-prone Robert Williams III. Ultimately, they rolled with Luke Kornet, Noah Vonleh and Blake Griffin to fill out the rest of their frontcourt depth.

However, it appears that they courted another frontcourt piece before rolling with who they had when the 2022-23 season started. Philadelphia 76ers big man Montrezl Harrell told MassLive’s Brian Robb that the Celtics targeted him during the offseason.

While Harrell acknowledged that the two sides talked, he said he did not like the role they would have given him if he had joined the team.

“We had talks,” Harrell told Robb for a story published October 19. “Honestly, it didn’t work out. We did have conversations, but their mindset, where they wanted me to play or how they wanted me to play, was not ideal. The situation I’m basically in or was going to be in, it wasn’t going to work out.”

Harrell won the Sixth Man of the Year award while playing for the Los Angeles Clippers in 2020. Entering his eighth NBA season, Harrell has also played for the Houston Rockets, Los Angeles Lakers, Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets.

Harrell Detailed Further Why He Wasn’t Interested

Harrell told Robb that the talks went on after Harrell’s legal issues were resolved in late August. He said the role the Celtics were offering would have benefited them more than it would’ve benefited him.

“It was towards the end [of free agency]. After I finished up everything I had going on this summer,” Harrell, 28, said. “It’s no secret, everywhere knew what took place [with my arrest]. After I finished up that [legal situation], they had a few conversations with my agent, but the role they wanted me to be in wasn’t going to benefit me, but just their situation. At the same time, it’s got to be a give and take, but you have to give something.”

Harrell said he did not want to play for the Celtics because they did not intend for him to be a rotation player.

“It wasn’t really going to help me,” Harrell said. “I mean, I’m definitely for the team and organization, but at the same time, if you are telling the player before the season even started they aren’t going to be playing games, that’s tough to say. That’s not going to work. I can’t do nothing with that. That’s how it went.”

Harrell’s Prior Experience With Sixers Personnel

On September 6, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported that Harrell had signed a two-year deal with the 76ers.

Harrell had previous experience with current Sixers personnel on his previous teams. He played with James Harden from 2015 to 2017 on the Houston Rockets, where Daryl Morey was president of basketball operations at the time. When he was traded to the Los Angeles Clippers, Doc Rivers was his head coach from 2017 to 2020.

In his debut with the Sixers on October 18, Harrell put up two points and one block while shooting 1-of-3 from the field in 11 minutes of action. Harrell was also a plus-four in the Sixers’ 126-117 loss to the Celtics.

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