Hornets acquire Montrezl Harrell in trade with Wizards

Charlotte GM Mitch Kupchak traded away Ish Smith and Vernon Carey

Washington Wizards' Montrezl Harrell moves the ball during a game against Phoenix on Feb. 5 in Washington. The Hornets acquired Harrell ahead of the NBA's trade deadline. (Luis M. Alvarez / AP Photo)

CHARLOTTE — A native of Tarboro will be returning to his home state to play for the Charlotte Hornets.

Seventh-year power forward/center Montrezl Harrell has reportedly been traded to the Hornets (28-28) from the Washington Wizards (24-29) in exchange for Ish Smith, Vernon Carey and a future second-round draft pick, according to multiple reports Thursday afternoon.

Going into the day’s looming NBA trade deadline, many were wondering if Hornets general manager Mitch Kupchak had plans to target a player who could shore up a Hornets frontcourt that has lacked aggressiveness and experience at times this season. It appears that the former North Edgecombe High star is the man Kupchak had his eye on. 

Harrell — a former teammate of Terry Rozier during their Louisville days — has averaged 14.1 points and 6.7 rebounds this season while shooting 64.5% from the field. 

Slightly undersized in the paint from a glance, the 6-foot-7 power forward/center hybrid has used his 7-foot-4 wingspan to his advantage during his time with Houston, the L.A. Lakers, the L.A. Clippers and Washington, with a career average of 13 points and 5.3 rebounds.

During the 2019-20 season, Harrell won the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award after posting a career-high 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.

Charlotte will be saying goodbye to Smith, a journeyman who has played for 12 teams in his 12-season career. The former Wake Forest star posted 4.5 points and 2.6 assists per game in his only season with the Hornets, averaging 13.8 minutes on the court. 

The Hornets are also parting with Carey, the No. 32 overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft. The former Duke star has only played in 23 games with a career average of 2.3 points, 1.4 rebounds in 5.7 minutes per game.

Time will tell what kind of impact Harrell will have in Charlotte, but the 28-year-old immediately gives the Hornets a dependable center with a strong interior presence.