Lakers center Montrezl Harrell is opting into his player option for next season, with the opt-in possibly facilitating a trade for Sacramento Kings star Buddy Hield … until the door slammed shut.
The Los Angeles Lakers are reportedly working to bring another star to LA, and Montrezl Harrell may help them do it.
Harrell is opting into his $9.7 million player option for 2021-22, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. However, that doesn’t mean he’s going to play in Los Angeles next season.
“With Harrell opt-in, Lakers are able to move toward complete a deal to acquire Kings guard Buddy Hield for forward Kyle Kuzma and Harrell,” Wojnarowski tweeted.
Montrezl Harrell’s opt-in almost brought Buddy Hield to the Lakers
Harrell played last season for the Lakers after spending three years in Los Angeles with the LA Clippers. He averaged 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds per game in 2020-21 coming off the bench.
Once the season ended, he had to decide whether to opt-in or decline his option and hit the free agent market.
It’s now a question of whether or not the Lakers will use him as a makeweight in potential trade options. Kuzma has been the subject of trade rumors for a while. His production dropped after a role change, giving way for Anthony Davis and LeBron James.
The early playoff exit for Los Angeles has incentivized the team to make additional moves in hopes of grabbing another championship with their star duo. However, this Buddy Hield-Lakers union was short-lived, as news soon broke that the Lakers were working on a deal to send Harrell, Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope to the Washington Wizards for Russell Westbrook.
The New York Times‘ Marc Stein had previously referenced Hield as a target for the Lakers. The intrigue didn’t end there. The San Antonio Spurs were reportedly the mix for Kuzma with DeMar DeRozan potentially factoring into an alternate deal.