The Kevin Durant sweepstakes are over for the Phoenix Suns. While some may think that the speculation surrounding the acquisition of KD hampered the Suns’ off-season, restricting their pursuit of other roster additions, it could be seen as a blessing in disguise. The free agent class of 2022 wasn’t stacked with uniquely talented players. The top free agent of the summer that moved teams? Jalen Brunson. Need I say more?
The trade market wasn’t spicy either. If you were going to sit out an offseason, 2022 was the one to do it. Malcolm Brogdon went from the Pacers to Boston, Rudy Gobert joined the Timberwolves in a trade with Utah, and Dejounte Murray will now be a Hawk instead of a Spur.
If you had to spend the entire offseason in pursuit of a player, KD is a good one to wait on. It was reasonable and prudent for the Suns to pursue Kevin Durant given the fact that he is a top 15 player. Of all time. You have to explore that option. Phoenix did. And didn’t get their man.
On to the next one.
As Phoenix begins looking inward in the aftermath of the KD Sweepstakes, there are some holes that they want to address. Arizona Sports 98.7 and Suns’ insider John Gambadoro noted last week that the Phoenix Suns are going to look to obtain a post up power forward.
Hearing the Suns will now turn their attention to try and obtain a post-up Power Forward. They have the cap-payer exception still available to them.— John Gambadoro (@Gambo987) August 23, 2022
Since that information was made known, we’ve been trying to connect the dots and solve the question: who could they be targeting?
If you know me, you know who I want.
I’m sorry. I just can’t quit the guy. I love his energy, tenacity, and aggressiveness. The Suns are a finesse team that lack some of these qualities and it’d be nice to change that narrative.
I get it. He’s bounced around the league a bit since winning the 2019-20 Sixth Man of the Year award. He was traded from the Los Angeles Clippers to the Washington Wizards in 2021 as a part of a massive five-team trade. He was then flipped mid-season to the Charlotte Hornets for Ish Smith and Vernon Carey, Jr. this past February.
In Charlotte he put up 11.4 points and 4.9 rebounds in 21 minutes played. Per B-Ball Index, Harrell is strong in the post, which aligns with the Suns’ need. He is in the 92%tile in total post frequency, 90%tile in post up impact per 75 possessions (points scored per 75 offensive possessions on court from post ups above/below what league average efficiency would yield), and 87%tile in post up draw foul rate. Okay, he’s only a 66.2% career shooter from the line, but at least he gets there.
Harrell is an absolute beast on the boards, rating out in the 92%tile in offensive rebounds per game (2.1), 99%tile in putback impact per 75 possessions, 80%tile in defensive rebounds per game (3.97). He fills a very specific role that aligns with the needs of the Suns. This is a team that was 19th in offensive rebound last season.
I can see the character fit point of view. He is currently an unrestricted free agent, and no team has taken a chance on him. Why? Oh, it might have something to do with the felony drug charges he is facing following being stopped in Kentucky with three pounds of vacuumed sealed marijuana.
No one wants to deal with that mess.
News was released on Wednesday, however, that this penalty will be reduced to a misdemeanor.
Yahoo Sources: A felony charge against free agent center Montrezl Harrell on trafficking marijuana has been reduced to possession of marijuana and a misdemeanor, a judge ruled this morning. If he’s in good legal standing for next 12 months, misdemeanor to be removed from record.— Chris Haynes (@ChrisBHaynes) August 31, 2022
This news makes him an appealing player who you know will be able to play for your team when the season starts. News has not been released if any NBA suspension will follow, but an appeal could happen if it does.
Harrell fills a need that Phoenix possesses and he is willing to fill the role of bench enforcer. It is who he has been his entire career. Now is the time to strike, to bring him in, and baptize him in Suns’ culture. In turn, you receive a player who can fortify your bench, snag those pesky offensive boards, and bring a heightened level of intensity.
Perhaps I am alone in my desire to bring Harrell to Phoenix, but I’ll continue to beat that drum until he arrives. Or until he’s 33. Which will be January 26, 2027.
Should the Suns sign Montrezl Harrell?
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