The Los Angeles Lakers made one of the surprise moves of the 2020 offseason when they brought in former L.A. Clippers center Montrezl Harrell. The Lakers replaced Dwight Howard and JaVale McGee with Harrell and Marc Gasol, signaling a sharp departure from the 2020 identity that won them a championship in the hopes of getting onto Anthony Davis’ timeline.
The results with Harrell were a mixed bag. At times, he looked like a dominant small-ball center, capable of taking people off the dribble and getting to the paint at will. Other times, he struggled to match the size and physicality of opposing centers, eventually being iced out of the rotation by the time the playoffs came around.
Now, with the Lakers out of the playoffs, Harrell has a big decision ahead. He spoke about his role with the team and what the future could look like. “You know, I came in every day and did my job, I did what they asked me to do, and I played my role, simple as that. As far as my future, I don’t know what that holds right now, we just finished playing last night. So, I can’t give you that answer right now.
“But I came in and did my job, and whenever my number was called I went out there and played to the best of my abilities and left it all on the floor. As far as what my future holds with the organization and things like that, like I said, the game just ended last night, so my next focus is going home and being a dad to the kids.”
Harrell perhaps hinted at his underlying frustration, however, when asked what the acquisition of Andre Drummond did for his role with the Lakers. “I mean you’re asking questions that are basically shown on paper. It shows you the number of minutes I played, the amount of time I played, shows you everything right in your hands.
“So, as far as your question, I don’t really know how you want me to answer that, brother man. Like I just told you, I played my role and when my number was called I was utilized and did what the team asked me to do. As far as how that role played out in the rotation, you’re asking the wrong guy sitting in front of you.”
Unlike other Lakers players who appeared adamant about running things back, Harrell took a much different approach. Perhaps, he was and still is upset about not being given a significant role with the team, especially after the addition of Drummond.
Harrell has a player option for the 2021-22 season, meaning he can either pick it up and stay with the team one more year or he can decline it and enter unrestricted free agency this offseason. All indications are pointing towards the latter, and it feels unlikely that he is back with the team next season.
Lakers never discussed future plans with Harrell
When asked if the Lakers ever clued him into what his role with the team might be in the future, Harrell made it clear those conversations did not take place. “Brother man, you’re thinking a little bit too deep into what I don’t have the answer to. Nice try, but I told you man, the game just ended last night.
“I’m about to go home and be a dad. If you want to know about that you can ask questions about that. But as far as my future with being a Lakers basketball player, we’ll worry about that later when free agency time rolls around.”
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