In a recently published article, Bleacher Report suggested that 2019-20 Sixth Man of the Year awardee Montrezl Harrell could be the player the Los Angeles Lakers would trade before the March 25 deadline, should they decide to make further adjustments to their lineup.
As explained on Friday by the publication’s Dan Favale in his list of players on each NBA team that might need to be traded, Harrell is arguably the “most sensible” player for the Lakers to move. Although he has lived up to expectations as a great finisher with a solid inside game, he has struggled on the defensive end, with opposing teams “exploiting” this weakness. Harrell’s limited shooting range was mentioned as another drawback that could make him less useful to the Lakers if and when they qualify for the playoffs.
With those limitations in mind, the Bleacher Report writer speculated that the Lakers might not have bothered with Harrell if they knew beforehand that they could beef up their frontcourt by signing Marc Gasol, which they ultimately did.
According to Favale, Harrell’s status as the most likely Laker to be traded before the deadline becomes a “no-brainer” if one is to consider the rest of LeBron James and Anthony Davis’ supporting cast. He opined that backup forward Kyle Kuzma is far less likely to be moved due to the fact recently signed a contract extension and added that Los Angeles is reportedly “interested in locking down” starting point guard Dennis Schroder.
“Parting with Harrell’s contract ($9.7 million player option for next season) gives the Lakers a chance to make a moderate splash beyond the buyout market,” Favale added. “Attaching him to another smaller salary or two significantly increases what they can take back in potential deals, and his offensive production is bound to catch the eye of any squad on the hunt for upgrades at center.”
As shown on his Basketball-Reference page, Harrell is currently averaging 12.3 points, 7.3 rebounds, and 1.7 assists off the bench, with an excellent 63 percent clip from the field. The 27-year-old had spent the last three seasons with the Los Angeles Clippers, where he posted averages of 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds and shot 58 percent from the field in the 2019-20 season.
Aside from potentially shipping Harrell to another team, a few other hypothetical moves have been recommended in recent days as the Lakers push forward with their goal to repeat as NBA champions. As reported by The Inquisitr, it was proposed earlier this week that the organization could acquire Chicago Bulls shooting guard Zach LaVine for a package featuring Kuzma and veteran wingman Kentavious Caldwell-Pope.