Former Lakers Big Man Facing Up to 5 Years in Prison

The 2020-21 Lakers

Getty The 2020-21 Lakers.

A member of the 2020-21 Los Angeles Lakers is facing a felony drug charge after police said they found marijuana in his car during a traffic stop, according to Roderick Boone of the Charlotte Observer.

Montrezl Harrell, who is currently a member of the Charlotte Hornets, was pulled over on I-75 in Richmond, Kentucky, on the morning of May 12 after a state trooper said he was following another vehicle too closely, Boone reported. The trooper said he smelled marijuana and eventually arrested Harrell after finding three pounds of marijuana in vacuum-sealed bags inside the car, according to a police report obtained by the Observer.

Harrell Could Face Up to 5 Years in Prison

Harrell, 28, has been charged with trafficking less than five pounds of marijuana, the Observer reported. If convicted on that count, the Louisville product could face a minimum of one year and a maximum of five years in prison, according to state law, plus a maximum $10,000 fine.

The police report indicated Harrell was driving a silver 2020 Honda Pilot, which he told police was rented, according to the outlet. Harrell admitted to having marijuana “and produced a small amount from his sweatpants,” the police report indicated, according to the Observer. Police found the three pounds of marijuana in a backpack in the backseat, the outlet reported.

Kentucky Court of Justice records shows Harrell is scheduled for a preliminary hearing on July 13 in Madison County District Court. According to the Observer, the Hornets declined to comment on the situation.

Harrell Is a Free Agent

Harrell entered the NBA in 2015. The Houston Rockets drafted him with the 32nd overall pick in the 2015 draft. The North Carolina native played two seasons for the Rockets and averaged 6.9 points and 2.9 rebounds.

In the summer of 2017, the Rockets traded Harrell to the Los Angeles Clippers. The 6-foot-7 forward spent three seasons with the Clippers and averaged 15.2 points and 5.8 rebounds. Harrell won the 2019-20 Sixth Man of the Year Award after averaging 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds.

Following the 2019-20 season, Harrell entered unrestricted free agency and signed a two-year, $18.9 million contract with the Lakers. He appeared in 69 games during the 2020-21 season and averaged 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds. The Lakers won 42 games and lost to the Phoenix Suns in the first round of the 2021 playoffs in six games.

Harrell only played one season for the Lakers. He was traded to the Washington Wizards in the summer of 2021 in the blockbuster Russell Westbrook trade. Harrell suited up for two teams in 2021-22. He appeared in 46 games with the Wizards before getting traded to the Hornets. The seven-year pro finished the 2021-22 campaign with averages of 13.1 points and 6.1 rebounds in 71 games with Washington and Charlotte.

Once the free-agency negotiation period opens on June 30, Harrell will become an unrestricted free agent. He made $9.7 million in 2021-22 and holds career averages of 12.9 points and 5.3 rebounds in 458 regular-season games with the Rockets, Clippers, Lakers, Wizards and Hornets.

According to ESPN, it was not immediately evident whether Harrell had an attorney who could comment on his behalf.