Charlotte Hornets center Montrezl Harrell — the former standout from Louisville and 2020 NBA Sixth Man of the Year — was arrested in Kentucky after a state trooper discovered three pounds of marijuana during a traffic stop.
In seven seasons in the NBA, Harrell averaged 12.9 points and 5.3 rebounds per game while shooting 62% from the field.
Several mainstream news outlets, including the Charlotte Observer, reported the story Monday night even though Harrell had been arrested a month earlier in early May.
According to court records, a state trooper pulled Harrell over in Richmond, Kentucky, just 27 miles south of Lexington off I-75. The trooper thought Harrell was driving too close to the vehicle in front of him, and smelled marijuana in the vehicle during the initial stop. The trooper found three pounds of vacuum-sealed marijuana inside a backpack.
Harrell, 28, now faces a felony marijuana charge for trafficking less than five pounds of marijuana. Marijuana is legal in 19 states and Washington, DC, but not in Kentucky.
According to amateur legal experts on gambling Twitter, Harrell could face up to five years in prison with a minimum sentence of one year if convicted. There’s also a potential fine between $1,000 and $10,000.
The NBA doesn’t drug test its players for marijuana.
Will the Hornets keep Harrell?
Harrell completed his seventh season in the NBA, but split time between the Washington Wizards and Charlotte Hornets. The Hornets acquired Harrell in a trade shortly before the trade deadline. With both teams, Harrell averaged 13.1 points and 6.1 rebounds per game last season.
In 2015, the Houston Rockets selected Harrell with a late first-round draft pick. He struggled with the Rockets during his first two seasons in the NBA before they traded him to the Los Angeles Clippers. During his tenure with the Clippers, Harrell finally found his footing as an important role player off the bench in their second unit. He earned the moniker “Trez” and was named the NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2020 after averaging 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds per game.
Harrell decided to remain in Los Angeles, but switched teams when he signed a two-year deal with the Lakers before the start of the 2020-21 season. He lasted just one season with the Lakers, averaging only 13.5 ppg and 6.2 rebounds per game. He didn’t have the same impact he had with the Clippers and didn’t vibe well with LeBron. Harrell saw his playing time drastically cut by head coach Frank Vogel.
In last year’s offseason, the Lakers included Harrell and other role players in a blockbuster trade with the Washington Wizards for Russell Westbrook. Harrell played 46 games with the Wizards, averaging 14.1 ppg and 6.7 rebounds off the bench before the trade to the Hornets. He appeared in 25 games with the Hornets, averaging just 11.4 ppg in a limited role off the bench.
Harrell becomes an unrestricted free agent next month, but it’s unknown if the Hornets considered re-signing him before his marijuana bust.