When the Los Angeles Lakers signed Montrezl Harrell last offseason, it was one of the big surprises of free agency. Not only was it a surprise that he signed with the team, but it was also a surprise that they would want him considering they won a championship last season in large part due to their excellent size. At 6-foot-7, Harrell is undersized at center, to say the least.
Needless to say, the experiment didn’t work out very well in the end. In the playoffs, Harrell had almost no role while Andre Drummond and Marc Gasol got most of the playing time at center. Considering he’s the reigning Sixth Man of the Year, it seemed odd that he wouldn’t at least get a decent chunk of playing time. Many chalked it up to Harrell just being a bad matchup against the Phoenix Suns but he doesn’t believe that was the case.
In a recent Instagram post, the big man started replying to comments. One comment he replied to was a fan suggesting that Harrell didn’t play because of the matchup. He called out that notion with an NSFW reply.
“lmaoo y’all N**** keep things match up situation are excuses lmao that s*** isn’t real.”
The reply from Harrell is obviously a dig at head coach Frank Vogel. It’s clear that the center doesn’t believe his coach knew how to use him properly. As of now, Harrell is still under contract with the team.
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What Will Harrell Do This Offseason?
With how Harrell has been talking since the Lakers’ season ended, it’s hard to imagine he returns to the team. It’s obvious that he didn’t enjoy his role. However, he’s still got a big decision to make. He holds a player option on his contract that he could decline, which would make him a free agent.
Harrell is coming off a down year and the willingness to throw his own team under the bus could be a major red flag for other teams. It’s possible that he won’t get an offer equal to the $9.7 million that the Lakers owe him if he accepts his player option.
What Will Lakers Do if Harrell Accepts Player Option?
Regardless of what Harrell does with his contract this offseason, both sides are better off if he plays elsewhere. However, he could become a trade piece for the Lakers should he choose to accept his player option. The team doesn’t have many great assets but Harrell should be appealing to a number of teams.
Though he is undersized as a center, he can be a very good scorer when he’s given playing time. He does become a defensive liability against teams with good size but that doesn’t mean he’s not valuable at all. The Lakers aren’t likely to run it back with him and he’d probably prefer not to. Accepting his player option could mean he’s getting more money but Harrell won’t be able to dictate where he’ll play.