Lakers Big Man ‘50-50’ About Returning to Team

Getty Images Montrezl Harrell of the Los Angeles Lakers.

Montrezl Harrell is weighing his NBA future and is reportedly on the fence about returning to the Los Angeles Lakers next season on a $9.7 million player option.

Harrell had an uneven first season with the Lakers that did not go as planned. He averaged 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds on 62.2% shooting, but failed to make an impact down the stretch, not even getting on the court for some of the Lakers playoff games.

The Lakers have been looking to improve the roster, and even if Harrell does decide to opt-in, the team could decide to move him, with his salary being an important part of making the money work. The Lakers have reportedly been discussing a trade with the Kings and Harrell was mentioned in “variations” of the deal, per Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype, who also noted Harrell is 50-50 about exercising his player option.

Harrell could exercise his player option and be traded. The Lakers and Kings have discussed a deal centered on Kyle Kuzma and Buddy Hield, as The Athletic’s Shams Charania reported. Multiple league sources told HoopsHype that Harrell and the Lakers’ 22nd overall pick were also discussed in variations of the trade talks centered around Kuzma and Hield.

Harrell’s insertion into trade talks with the Kings is noteworthy as Richaun Holmes enters unrestricted free agency this summer.

Harrell Was Not Happy With How Role Shook Out

Harrell signed with the Lakers fresh off winning Sixth Man of the Year with the Clippers and was expected to be a difference-maker at the center position. That never truly panned out and his role became even more muddled after Andre Drummond arrived in LA.

“I came in every day, I did my job, I did what they asked me to do,” Harrell said in his exit interview. “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.

“… far as my future with being a Lakers basketball player, we’ll worry about that later when free agency time rolls around, brother.”

He’s also been fairly critical about his role on social media, calling matchups excuses.

“Match up situations are excuses lmao,” Harrell said on Instagram. “That s–t isn’t real.”

Lakers Have Promised Drummond Starting Role

When the Lakers signed Drummond they reportedly promised him a starting role, making either Harrell or veteran Marc Gasol the odd man out on most nights. And it sounds like the Lakers are open to having Drummond back, although he’ll be a free agent next season. Head coach Frank Vogel said he’d like to see how Drummond performs with more time to work with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, who were banged up for most of his tenure in LA>

“Dre was great for us,” Vogel said during his exit interview. “Let me start by saying that. We’re hopeful that he’s a Laker for a long time. He played well for us, and was a good culture fit. He fit in well with the guys and was very well-liked. We just … We said it all along: We were concerned about how much time we would have to build the cohesion necessary for the playoffs, and with AD being out and Bron really only getting two games with Drum before the playoffs began, we just didn’t have that time to build the cohesiveness that we wanted.”

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