KEY POINTS

  • Montrezl Harrell opting in may be part of a trade the Lakers are trying to put together this summer
  • Harrell is unlikely to get more playing time with the Lakers next season if he stays
  • He may agree to a sign-and-trade deal involving a big name that has yet to be identified

Montrezl Harrell is someone who could earn more if he opts out of his current deal with the Los Angeles Lakers. Given that he hardly made an impact with the team last season, all signs appear to point to that move.

Harrell has a player option in his contract with the Lakers that guarantees him $9.7 million next season. But the word going around is that the former NBA Sixth Man of the Year awardee may be leaning toward opting in, according to the "most recent intel" of the Bleacher Report's Eric Pincus.

But even if he opts in, it is no assurance that the 27-year-old will continue to be a Lakers player next season. His name has been mentioned as part of a potential large-scale trade – notably one that may involve Chris Paul. The Lakers would need to raise roughly $44 million, assuming Paul opts in with the Phoenix Suns this summer.

That potential deal would be huge. Aside from Harrell, the names of Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope have been mentioned as part of the deal. But most are now questioning if it would be wise to invest that heavily in Paul, who is already 36 years old.

Despite his age, Paul has proven that he can still lead a team to success. He did that with the Oklahoma City Thunder during the 2019-20 season, leading the Thunder to the NBA playoffs despite a rag-tag team.

The 11-time All-Star took that up a notch when the Suns made it to the NBA Finals. Paul figured prominently, but the Giannis Antetokounmpo-led Bucks were simply too much to overcome.

Meanwhile, the latest on Harrell appeared to contradict a previous report that suggested he would be better off joining a team where he could be utilized more.

Harrell hardly got to see much time on the floor in the postseason, averaging just 9 minutes for the purple and gold. He averaged an atrocious 5.8 points and 2.5 rebounds, with head coach Frank Vogel opting to use bigger players like Anthony Davis, Andre Drummond and Marc Gasol.

Should Harrel opt in, it may be part of a bigger scenario. It could be part of a sign-and-trade scenario that may snag Paul in exchange. Aside from the 36-year-old cager, Russell Westbrook of the Washington Wizards is another target for the Lakers, according to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated.

Montrezl Harrell #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers Montrezl Harrell #15 of the Los Angeles Lakers Photo: Getty Images | Meg Oliphant