The next week is going to shape the short-term and long-term future of the Los Angeles Lakers as the draft and free agency gives them the opportunity to improve the roster in hopes of getting back into championship contention.
One of the biggest question marks surrounding the Lakers is the future of Montrezl Harrell as the big man has a $9.7 million player option for the 2021-22 season and has until July 31 to decide if he wants to pick it up or test free agency.
Harrell’s first season with the Lakers was filled with ups and downs as at times he was a key offensive force while others he was relegated to the bench due to concerns with his defense.
It was recently reported Harrell was leaning towards opting into the final year of his contract, which would make some sense for both sides. After the season Harrell had, it’s uncertain if he would get more than $9.7 million on the open market, and for the Lakers, they would have no means of replacing his salary if he opts out since they are already over the salary cap.
Even if Harrell opts in, that doesn’t mean that he would stay with the Lakers though as they would then be able to use him in trade packages. It appears that is what’s happening although Harrell is still not sure what he’s going to do, per Michael Scotto of Hoops Hype:
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.
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.
The Buddy Hield trade involving Kyle Kuzma going to the Sacramento Kings is something that was reported within the last week. Harrell’s inclusion would help match salaries and give the Kings a big man to replace Richaun Holmes, who could walk in free agency.
If Harrell has no desire to play in Sacramento though, then it’s possible he chooses to opt out. So his course of action could determine a lot of the moves the Lakers make this summer.
Lakers offering Kuzma & Caldwell-Pope to almost every team
The Lakers have had reported trade talks with a number of different teams and according to reports, the two players they are shopping the most are Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.
That isn’t shocking considering they are two of the only players on the roster currently under contract. It remains to be seen what value either player has though, which makes it hard to predict what deal the Lakers will actually make if any.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!