A new report suggests that Los Angeles Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell could be among the players who, due to the financial impact of the coronavirus pandemic, could receive a substantially less lucrative paycheck when they enter free agency in the 2020 offseason.
As reported by ESPN's Tim Bontemps on Monday, the pressure may be on several "top players" in the free-agent class of 2020 to perform well during the resumption of the currently-suspended 2019-20 season in order to ensure that they receive satisfactory contract offers during the offseason. While a good playoff performance could lead to someone receiving a massive paycheck, one unnamed Eastern Conference executive was quoted as telling Bontemps that Harrell, in particular, could be paid about one-third less than what he's currently making when he signs a new contract as a free agent.
"Everybody has done their work. So you can only go down. Harrell could go from [being] an $18 million guy to a $12 million guy. They can only get worse.""Maybe some third-tier guy plays well and moves up a tier, but the top-tier guys can only get worse," the executive continued. "That work is already done."
Although Harrell posted big numbers (18.6 points, 7.1 rebounds per game) as an off-the-bench player for the Clippers prior to the league's suspension in March, Bleacher Report wrote that the 26-year-old has a number of things that could work against him when it comes to his impending free agency.The outlet wrote that he is severely undersized for the power forward and center positions at 6-foot-7-inches and 240 pounds and doesn't have the outside shooting ability that many other modern-day big men possess. Per Basketball-Reference, he is shooting 58 percent from the field but has missed all 18 of his three-point shot attempts this season. Furthermore, it was pointed out that the former second-round pick produced most of his stats while playing against opposing teams' reserve big men.
Additionally, Bleacher Report wrote that beyond the expected revenue losses due to the pandemic, Harrell's free-agent value could also be compromised by the possibility he might not be as valuable to the Clippers in the playoffs as he has been in the regular season. As such, there's a chance even fewer teams might take a chance on him as they save their salary-cap space for the summer of 2021 and that year's much more talented free-agent class.
Although there was no mention of teams that might be interested in Harrell in the 2020 offseason, previous reports have suggested teams such as the Detroit Pistons, who traded away star big man Andre Drummond to the Cleveland Cavaliers prior to the February trade deadline.