Former Sixth Man of Year Reveals He Chose Sixers Over Rival Team in Free Agency

Montrezl Harrell

Getty Blake Griffin #91 of the Boston Celtics and Montrezl Harrell #5 of the Philadelphia 76ers battle for a rebound during the first half at TD Garden on October 18, 2022, in Boston, Massachusetts.

The Philadelphia 76ers made a late addition in the offseason by adding Montrezl Harrell in free agency. The former Sixth Man of the Year had some legal troubles this offseason which limited his potential market.

After initially seeming like one of the more notable free agent options, Harrell was arrested and charged with felony possession of marijuana in Kentucky after police say they found three pounds of the drug in his car during a June traffic stop, according to Yahoo Sports. The felony charges were reduced to a misdemeanor on August 31, the outlet reported, paving the way for him to get back to the game. It also allowed the Sixers to sign him on a reduced deal, and the two sides agreed to a 2-year, $5.2 million deal with the second season as a player option.

In an October 19 article from MassLive, Harrell revealed the Louisville product considered signing a contract with the Boston Celtics before deciding to come to Philadelphia.

“We had talks,” he told the outlet. “Honestly, it didn’t work out. Their mindset, where they wanted me to play was not ideal. The situation I was in or going to be in wasn’t going to work out.”

The Celtics were in need of additional big man depth with Robert Williams missing the beginning of the season due to knee surgery. The franchise ultimately signed Blake Griffin and Noah Vonleh to fill this role.

Harrell’s Role on Sixers

It should not be a major surprise to see Harrell land on the Sixers considering the connections he has within the organization. The big man was initially drafted by Daryl Morey with the Rockets and spent two seasons playing alongside James Harden in Houston. He saw a great deal of success during this time and ranked in the 87th and 89th percentiles for pick-and-roll possessions. He also had his best years under Doc Rivers with the Clippers.

Harrell won Sixth Man of the Year under Rivers during the 2019-20 season. He averaged 18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds and 1.7 assists per game. He played a vital role in the Clippers’ success and will be looking to rekindle this in Philadelphia. Harrell did not get off to the best start in the opening night matchup and tallied just two points without a rebound or assists in his 11 minutes of play.

Importance of Playing Time

It is clear that the role that was expected of him was extremely important to him when choosing a landing spot in free agency.

He told MassLive the conversations with Boston happened “after I finished up everything I had going on this summer. 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.”

There is still plenty of time left in the season, but it will be interesting to see if his role remains to Harrell’s satisfaction. Paul Reed has made his presence felt and will be in the mix for minutes throughout the season. His defensive-minded approach will be an asset in many matchups and Coach Rivers has stated that the fight for minutes remains “fluid.” Regardless, the Sixers are thrilled to have both guys ready to contribute in what has been a major position of weakness for them in recent years. Harrell flashed his energy and toughness in the preseason and will have a chance to put it on display in front of the home crowd during the regular season for the first time tonight.

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