The Los Angeles Lakers hoped the addition of Montrezl Harrell would further fortify the bench. Instead, Harrell struggled to find his footing with the Lakers, never seeing his role hit a consistent point. All that may have guided him to indicate his imminent departure this summer.
Montrezl Harrell experiences shaky first season with the Lakers
Among the notable moves last offseason, the Lakers brought aboard the reigning Sixth Man of the Year.
Harrell’s first campaign featured a rollercoaster ride with his playing time. He finished the season averaging 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds on 62.2% shooting from the floor.
The 27-year-old received more playing time after Anthony Davis suffered an Achilles-related calf injury in February that forced him to miss two months. Harrell’s most productive stretch occurred in March, as he averaged 19.5 points and 7.8 rebounds while shooting 64.6% from the floor. It included notching at least 20 points seven times while reaching double-digit scoring all but twice in 13 games played.
Harrell’s playing time decreased as the regular season rolled along as he garnered a diminished role off the bench. It led to him playing in only four playoff games averaging 5.8 points and 2.5 rebounds on 57.1% shooting from the field in 9.8 minutes per contest.
He failed to record double-digit scoring three times, including going scoreless in five minutes played in Game 4 of the first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns.
With the 2020-21 season wrapped up, Harrell took another subtle shot at the Lakers that may have signaled his departure.
Montrezl Harrell may have signaled his Lakers departure
Since the Lakers experienced an early playoff exit, Harrell continues to fire indirect shots at the franchise through social media.
The veteran big man went that route again this past weekend after a strong performance in a Drew League game, where he recorded 38 points and nine rebounds. It didn’t take long for Harrell to fire a verbal lashing directed toward Los Angeles regarding his playing time.
“Finally got some run in LA,” Harrell commented on his Instagram story via Lakers Daily..
Harrell holds much reason for the lasting disdain as his role with the Lakers never settled toward a consistent point. Instead, he played in less than 20 minutes 21 times. He also averaged 18.1 minutes in April and hit fewer than 20 minutes in five out of his seven appearances in May.
His lack of playing time all fizzled out in the playoffs with two healthy did not play-coach’s decision designations, and he didn’t top 15 minutes of action in any of the four postseason contests he played. He simply fell out of favor with the coaching staff as the season wore along, as his struggles defensively likely played a pivotal factor.
Ultimately, Harrell holds the final say concerning his status with the Lakers next season due to having a $9.7 million player option. If he believes he can land in a more favorable situation elsewhere, expect him to decline the option to enter the free-agent market.
Los Angeles holds busy offseason ahead
Beyond Harrell’s pending contract decision, the Lakers have several other roster matters to address.
Los Angeles has a few key players hitting free agency, such as Andre Drummond, Dennis Schroder, Talen Horton-Tucker, Wesley Matthews, and Alex Caruso. The front office must decide which players can be critical pieces toward constructing a championship-contending roster.
The Lakers may already expect Harrell to leave, freeing nearly $10 million to reconfigure the roster. The trade market may also be where the team can add bonafide talents like Kyle Lowry or Spencer Dinwiddie. It may see the franchise explore gauging the league interest in Kyle Kuzma after struggling again in the playoffs.
All of these factors paint the picture of a busy summer ahead in Los Angeles.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.