Montrezl Harrell Puts Washington Wizards on Blast; Is He Trying to Talk His Way out of DC?

Montrezl Harrell is a professional basketball player for the Washington Wizards. He has been in the league since 2011 and was drafted by the Clippers. He is currently on his second contract with the team, but he recently went public with a story that he thinks may have had something to do with him being traded from the Clips to the Wizards.

Montrezl Harrell Puts Washington Wizards on Blast; Is He Trying to Talk His Way out of DC?

The Washington Wizards, if nothing else, remind us that an NBA season is a marathon, not a sprint. In the rearview mirror, Washington’s gleaming 10–3 start is hardly apparent. The Wizards have lost seven of their previous eight games and are a game behind the Atlanta Hawks for the last play-in playoff position in the East after a listless 95–80 defeat at home to the Phoenix Suns on Feb. 5. After the last loss, backup center Montrezl Harrell reached his breaking point.

Washington has a record of 14–25 since the start of the season. Only the Indiana Pacers (13–26), Detroit Pistons (9–30), and Orlando Magic (9–31) have a worse record in the East since November 16. The Wizards, as one would expect, are among the poorest in the NBA in terms of offensive and defensive efficiency throughout that time period. Their offensive rating of 109.2 ranks them 23rd out of 30 teams in the league. They rank 27th in terms of defensive efficiency, allowing 114.4 points per 100 possessions.

Bradley Beal trade rumors have resurfaced. Spencer Dinwiddie is just as uninspiring off the court as he is on the court. Now Harrell is launching missiles in all directions.

The Washington Wizards have suffered as a result of their improved health.

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The return of Thomas Bryant and Rui Hachimura from season-long absences in January hasn’t provided the Washington Wizards the lift they were hoping for.

Bryant’s presence, on the other hand, slowed down the center rotation. Starting quarterback Daniel Gafford’s playing time has decreased from 22.9 minutes per game before Bryant returned after a protracted rehabilitation of an injured knee to 11.7 minutes per game since then, with one DNP-Decision Coach’s thrown in for good measure.

Montrezl Harrell was no exception. Coach Wes Unseld Jr. admits it’s been difficult to establish the rotation with Bryant back in uniform, albeit playing 21.5 minutes per game. Of course, it’s possible that this is by design.

Gafford signed an agreement with the Wizards in October, and they are unable to transfer him before the Feb. 10 deadline. Because the Wizards are said to be selling Bryant and Harrell, they’re receiving extra playing time.

After starting 105 games in his first two seasons, Hachimura is making his first appearance off the bench. While Hachimura was absent from the team, Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope took over as the starting wingers. Both players, as well as Harrell, were acquired in the transaction that sent Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers last summer.

After the most recent defeat, Montrezl Harrell let it all hang out.

“It stinks, dude,” Montrezl Harrell says. That’s the f***ing team’s attitude. It’s a pain… Right now, that’s the vibe in the room. It’s a f***ing disaster.”

— Chase Hughes (@ChaseHughesNBCS) February 6, 2022

After averaging 18.6 points in 27.8 minutes per game for the Los Angeles Clippers two seasons ago, Montrezl Harrell was named NBA Sixth Man of the Year. However, his sole free agency offer came from the Lakers, who offered him a two-year, $19 million contract with a non-guaranteed second season.

He scored 15 points with seven rebounds in the loss to Phoenix on Feb. 6 and was 5-of-12 from the floor. When asked about the mood of the Wizards, Harrell unloaded, per a tweet from Chase Hughes of NBC Sports Washington:

“It’s a pain, dude.” That’s the f***ing team’s attitude. It’s a pain. Right now, that’s the vibe in the room. It’s a f***ing disaster.”

The seventh-year veteran later said the team wasn’t ready to play. He’s also having none of the discussion about the team’s energy, per Kareem Copeland of The Washington Post.

“If you can’t excite yourself or fire yourself up to come here and play the game of basketball, which is your profession and you earn a lot of money doing it, brother,” Harrell added. “So, dude, I’m weary of hearing that.” That’s merely a pretext. It’s as simple as that.

“You need someone to energize and motivate you to go out here and play basketball, which you earn millions of dollars for, rather than going to a corporate job?” Hundreds of millions of dollars to play basketball? If that’s the case, you’re in the wrong line of work. “You’ve already been defeated.”

Harrell has played the game for a long time and is well-versed in it. So there might have been a strategy behind the eruption.

Montrezl Harrell is expected to be traded by the Washington Wizards.

Backup center Montrezl Harrell blasted the Washington Wizards after a Feb. 5 loss. Could it be a message that he wants out of DC?

Backup center Montrezl Harrell blasted the Washington Wizards after a Feb. 5 loss. Could it be a message that he wants out of DC? After a defeat on February 5, backup center Montrezl Harrell slammed the Washington Wizards. Is this a statement that he wants to leave DC? | Getty Images/Scott Taetsch

Montrezl Harrell is one of two players regarded most likely to be traded before the trade deadline, according to Hughes of NBC Sports Washington. Dvis Bertns, a struggling veteran, is the other, although the 29-year-old still has three years and $49 million left on his deal.

Bertns has a 32.2 percent 3-point shooting percentage this season and is restricted defensively. In essence, he’s a one-trick pony with a broken trick. To trade him, the Washington Wizards would have to provide something of worth (i.e. future draft selections).

Harrell, who is 28 years old, is an undersized center who can score with ease inside of 10 feet. The issue is that he is unable to accomplish much else. The 6-foot-7 center, who can be overmatched as a rim protector and rebounder at times, may fit in with a contender seeking for interior scoring on the second unit.

Moving Harrell might improve Washington’s locker-room chemistry. Part of the difficulty for the Wizards, according to Beal, is players who are playing for their next deal. Harrell matches that description, and he and Caldwell-Pope had a halftime brawl in January.

If Montrezl Harrell utilized his platform after the defeat to Phoenix to convey to the Washington Wizards that he wants out as much as they do, then mission accomplished. It’s also worth mentioning that Harrell’s agent, Rich Paul, recently paid a visit to Wizards GM Tommy Sheppard a day after meeting with 76ers executives. Keep an eye out for updates.

Basketball Reference and NBA.com provided the statistics. Spotrac provided contract details.

RELATED: NBA Trade Rumors: Whether Ben Simmons Is Involved or Not, Holding On to Bradley Beal Would Be a Colossal Mistake for the Wizards

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