Speaking to reporters for the first time on Monday afternoon since inking a two-year, $19 million deal to join the Los Angeles Lakers, power forward Montrezl Harrell was straight forward when asked why he moved on from the Los Angeles Clippers in free agency to join the crosstown rivals in L.A.
“Honestly, it’s a business decision,” Harrell said. “I felt like it’s the right decision for me. I talked to my family, and this is where we decided we wanted to go – as simple as that. There’s no more thought process to it. I’m definitely going to be with a team that wanted me, with a group of guys I felt like I’m going to gravitate well to and build chemistry with fast.”
Harrell said the deal with the Lakers happened fairly quickly at the start of free agency on Friday, and that the Lakers were the team that showed the most interest in acquiring his services, with both general manager Rob Pelinka and head coach Frank Vogel giving him a hard recruiting pitch to get him to sign the deal.
“For them to feel that type of way and have that much praise and excitement in talking to me fresh into free agency, that just feels pretty good,” Harrell said.
As far as his old teammates with the Clippers like Patrick Beverley and Lou Williams, Harrell said that they understand his decision is business and not personal.
“Honestly, I learned the business from those guys,” Harrell said. “Guys like Lou who got traded multiple times in one season. A guy like Pat who I played the majority of my career with -- who I ended up being in a trade with -- they basically taught me that this is a business. If you’re not one of the top tier players in our league, and we all know who those players are, everybody is expendable.”
Harrell said the fact that Klutch Sports clients LeBron James, Anthony Davis and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope already were on the roster had no bearing on his decision.
As far as his role on the team, Harrell said he’ll fit in wherever the Lakers need him to help win another NBA title.
“I’ll play a role of whatever it takes, whatever needs to be done,” Harrell said. “I’ve been in that sixth-man role. I was blessed to be able to win it. So I know how it feels not to start. I was called on and asked to start before. So it’s all about what it takes to win.
“I’ve led and tied for the lead in charges over the years, so I’ve laid my body on the line. So it just goes to show you, whatever it takes to win. That’s literally what I see my role as.”