After a disappointing early playoff exit, the Los Angeles Lakers are moving toward a busy offseason. One of the many roster decisions concerns former Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell‘s future. With that in mind, Harrell may have again indicated he’s leaving Los Angeles after his latest social media move.
Montrezl Harrell experiences a roller-coaster first year with the Lakers
Harrell‘s arrival last offseason through free agency was among the Lakers’ notable roster additions.
The 27-year-old quickly latched onto a sizable role off the bench as one of the key offensive factors. However, Harrell’s playing time fluctuated as the 2020-21 season rolled along as he averaged 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds on 62.2% shooting in 22.9 minutes per game over 69 appearances.
Harrell’s role steadily decreased near the tail end of the regular season, leading him to fall into a significantly diminished position. He became a complete non-factor in the first-round playoff series against the Phoenix Suns, averaging 5.8 points and 2.5 rebounds on 57.1%, shooting in 9.8 minutes per contest over four games.
As Harrell moves toward a tough contract decision, he may have signaled again that he’s done in Los Angeles.
Montrezl Harrell may have just stamped his Lakers’ departure
Since the Lakers‘ playoff departure, Harrell has continued to drop strong hints that his time with the team will soon end.
The 27-year-old added to that growing notion after taking another shot at head coach Frank Vogel via social media. The former Sixth Man of the Year responded to a fan’s comment on Instagram, stating he didn’t play due to matchup situations.
“Match up situation are excuses lmao,” Harrell said. “That s— isn’t real.”
Harrell’s remarks signal it may have been something deeper than Vogel believing another lineup on the floor without him was more effective. However, it’s hard to argue against the fan’s presumption given that the big man struggled at times defensively due to his size.
Harrell demonstrated instances in which he was a highly effective offensive factor but struggled in stretches to provide a dependable defensive presence. Whatever the case may be, his playing time significantly dropped over the last few weeks of the regular season, and he became a non-factor in the playoffs.
All of the continued verbal bashings toward the Lakers only suggest his time with the franchise is nearing a close. He holds a $9.7 million player option for next season, but it’s hard to envision him exercising it due to his decreased role.
Lakers will explore other options this upcoming offseason
Beyond Harrell’s future with the Lakers, the front office holds several other critical roster decisions ahead.
Los Angeles possesses several key players such as Dennis Schroder, Andre Drummond, Talen Horton-Tucker, Alex Caruso, and Wesley Matthews hitting the free-agent market. The team will likely retain a select few from the group due to the growing notion concerning significant roster changes.
The Lakers want a supporting cast around LeBron James and Anthony Davis that can compete for an NBA title. Although injuries played a considerable factor this past season, it’s evident the franchise needs to shake up the roster.
Los Angeles may explore the sign-and-trade market to add bonafide talents such as Kyle Lowry or Spencer Dinwiddie. Kyle Kuzma could become a key piece in any trade offer due to his $13 million salary in the first year of his three-year, $39 million deal. Kuzma’s struggles with consistency, especially in the playoffs, hurt his value, but he’s a young player who could excel in the right situation.
Ultimately, the front office may not have plenty of options, but there is an opportunity to revamp the roster.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.