The Los Angeles Lakers hold several critical roster decisions ahead to construct an NBA title contender. Big man Montrezl Harrell’s contract decision is one of the most crucial aspects that will impact the team’s offseason plans. As the deadline quickly approaches, the Lakers may have just made that choice easier for Harrell.
Lakers’ playoff shortcomings will lead to a busy offseason
The Lakers‘ early playoff exit sends the team barreling toward a pivotal offseason.
The front office is tasked with the sole job of rebuilding the roster around LeBron James and Anthony Davis. It’s already led to many rumors concerning significant roster changes to revamp the supporting cast.
Harrell’s pending contract decision is among the pressing situations that will help shape the Lakers’ offseason plans. However, it appears the organization will take his future in Los Angeles out of his hands.
Lakers may have already made Montrezl Harrell’s free-agency decision for him
As the offseason continues to ramp up, the Lakers will likely go through significant roster changes.
One of those scenarios involves Harrell, as he holds a roughly $9.7 million player option for next season that he must decide by July 31. It’s a decision that’s entirely in his control to determine whether he wants to remain in Los Angeles or explore free agency to find a new team.
However, Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype is reporting that despite Harrell being “50-50” on the contract situation, the Lakers may move him if he stays.
“Montrezl Harrell’s decision on his $9.7 million player option is considered a genuine “50-50” either way at this stage, multiple league sources told HoopsHype,” Scotto wrote.
“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.”
It’s becoming increasingly evident that the Lakers will go to any length to construct a strong core group around its star talent. If Harrell were to pick up the final year, it wouldn’t be surprising to see the front office attempt to move him.
The possibility of that scenario may lead him to decline the option to maintain complete control over his NBA future. Beyond that, what it suggests is that Harrell won’t have a say in how his tenure in Los Angeles unfolds.
Los Angeles holds several significant offseason roster decisions ahead
Harrell’s upcoming contract decision will play a part in how the Lakers navigate through the offseason.
His choice will provide Los Angeles more salary-cap space or a trade piece under an expiring deal. Either way, it’s a beneficial situation for the front office to shape the roster around its stars.
The Lakers currently hold only five players under contract: James, Davis, Kyle Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Marc Gasol. Beyond that, players such as Dennis Schroder, Andre Drummond, Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Wesley Matthews will enter free agency.
Los Angeles will keep a select few from that group as the decision-making process with Schroder and Drummond will provide the most clarity. The front office could head in a completely different direction with the backcourt behind a big splash move, attempting to acquire Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Spencer Dinwiddie, or Collin Sexton.
The Lakers will have plenty of options to improve the roster. The team’s decisions with its free agents will lay out the roster game plan ahead.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.