Despite a tumultuous offseason, disgruntled Los Angeles Lakers big man Montrezl Harrell is leaning towards returning to the team next season.
Harrell has until July 31 to weigh his player option for next season, which is worth $9.7 million. According to Eric Pincus of Bleacher Report, Harrell is “leaning towards” opting in. Here’s what Pincus had to say on The Lakerside Chats podcast.
Schroder will decide his fate as an unrestricted free agent, regardless of what L.A. might prefer. The Lakers could try to executive a similar move with Caruso or Horton-Tucker, or one for Paul without a sign-and-trade built around Montrezl Harrell, Kuzma and Caldwell-Pope. That would require Harrell to pick up his $9.7 million player option, which might not be an issue. The most recent intel on Harrell suggests he may be leaning toward opting in.
Harrell averaged 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds on 62.2% shooting. However, he never seemed to fit in with the Lakers, especially when the games mattered most in the postseason.
As many have pointed out, just because Harrell opts in, it doesn’t mean he’ll be suiting up for the Lakers next season. His salary could be useful in a trade or the team could try to find him a better fit while getting an asset back.
Harrell Has Complained About Lack of Role
The center rotation got muddied once Andre Drummond arrived via a buyout deal in March and Harrel was affected along with veteran Marc Gasol. The reigning Sixth Man of the Year could provide a big spark off the bench, but logged a handful of coach’s decision DNPs down the stretch.
Harrell hasn’t talked openly about his future with the Lakers but it’s obvious his uneven role with the team pissed him off.
“I came in every day, I did my job, I did what they asked me to do,” Harrell said. “I played my role. It’s as simple as that. As far as my future, I don’t know that holds right now. We just finished playing last night, so I can’t give you that answer right now brother, but I came in, I did my job and whenever my number was called I went out there, played to the best of my abilities and left it all on the floor.
“As far as my future with being a Lakers basketball player, we’ll worry about that later when free agency time rolls around, brother.”
Harrell was a little more direct with some of his social media comments.
“Match up situations are excuses lmao,” Harrell commented on Instagram post critical of Frank Vogel. “That s–t isn’t real.”
Andre Drummond Stars in Hilarious Late Night Skit
The Lakers will also have to negotiate with Drummond, who is an unrestricted free agent.
Drummond averaged 11.9 points and 10.2 rebounds after joining the Lakers in March following a buyout agreement with the Cleveland Cavaliers. He started all but one game he played with the Lakers — a coach’s decision DNP in the decisive Game 6 of LA’s first-round playoff series against Phoenix.
But Drummond does not seem too worried about what free agency holds, starring in a hilarious Jimmy Kimmel Live skit.
Drummond caused some drama of his own on social media earlier this offseason, but revealed it was all for his NFT release, which went much worse than anyone could have imagined. But at least the “Big Penguin” still has his sense of humor.