The Los Angeles Lakers have a number of interesting roster decisions to make this summer as they could potentially have as many as 10 key free agents.
One decision that isn’t theirs though is regarding Montrezl Harrell, who has a $9.7 million player option for the 2021-22 season and has until July 31 to decide if he wants to opt-in or out of it.
Harrell had an up-and-down first season with the team as the 2020 NBA Sixth Man of the Year found himself out of Frank Vogel’s rotation at times, most notably in the postseason. That led to him taking a bit of a shot at Vogel when responding to someone on social media.
“The most recent intel on [Montrezl] Harrell suggests he may be leaning toward opting in.”
This would make some sense for both sides as not many teams have cap space this summer, so what Harrell would command on the open market likely wouldn’t be more than the $9.7 million the Lakers would pay him.
Additionally, if Harrell opts out, the Lakers are already out of cap space so they would have no means of replacing the player or the salary outside of minimum contracts.
In 69 games last season, Harrell averaged 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds on 62.2% shooting, carrying a big load while many of the team’s key players missed time due to injury throughout the regular season.
Even if Harrell opts in though, the Lakers have other options than keeping him around for one more season if they want. They can also trade him and use that $9.7 million in salary to match in a potential deal, which gives them even more options on the trade market with L.A. already being linked to a number of big-name players.
While Harrell wouldn’t have to approve any deals, the Lakers’ relationship with him and his agency Klutch Sports is very strong, so there likely will be some sort of discussion between the two parties before any trade comes to fruition.
Lakers showing interest in Bullock
One thing the Lakers will prioritize in free agency this summer is shooting as that was a big weakness of theirs this past season.
A player they already have reported interest in is Reggie Bullock, who is coming off a solid season with the New York Knicks in which he shot 41% from deep.
Bullock is a player the Lakers are very familiar with after trading for him at the deadline in 2019, so perhaps a reunion is in the works once free agency begins in August.
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