LA Clippers: Evaluating players with 2020 expiring contracts

LA Clippers (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images)
LA Clippers (Photo by John McCoy/Getty Images) /
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Montrezl Harrell LA Clippers
Montrezl Harrell #5 of the LA Clippers(Photo by Katelyn Mulcahy/Getty Images) /

Montrezl Harrell

This one seems like a no-brainer, right?

Harrell is currently having his best statistical season with career highs in points-per-game (18.6), rebounds-per-game (7.1), and minutes-per-game (27.8). He is the anchor and the engine of the Clippers second unit, and would most likely be the favorite for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award if it wasn’t for competition from his own teammate Lou Williams.

But the 26-year-old will be entering his sixth NBA season next year and will be looking to get paid after over-performing on a very team-friendly contract for the majority of his career.

According to Spotrac, Harrell’s $6 million contract this year makes him the seventh most valuable forward in the NBA. He’s ranked just ahead of superstar LeBron James (whose top-of-the-line value at $38 million price tag speaks volumes to his true greatness.)

Forwards with similar production numbers as Harrell’s typically come with a much greater price tag. Tobias Harris, the player Spotrac ranks directly above Harrell in terms of production/games played is being paid $36 million by Philadelphia this season. Gordon Hayward, the player ranked just below Harrell is making just under $32 million in Boston.

The price to retain Harrell might not reach those heights, but the Clippers will certainly need to open up their wallets if they want the big man to return to Los Angeles. The question shouldn’t be if they can afford to keep him, but if they can afford not to.

The team certainly knows what a special player they have in Harrell. They recently released Monsta Trezz, a 22-minute player profile film on the fan-favorite via YouTube. Certainly a move to show him how much the team appreciates him and his contributions.

Ultimately, the Clippers are a team with a wide-open championship window right now and Montrezl Harrell is too important of a player to lose. He means too much to the team to let walk, at almost any price. Harrell’s tenacious play, leadership, durability, and versatility make him a must keep for the 2020-21 season and as long as the Clippers want to seriously contend for the NBA title.