Final 12 months, when the Lakers used their full mid-level exception to provide Montrezl Harrell a two-year, $19 million take care of a $9.7 million participant possibility within the second season, the extensively held expectation was that the then-reigning Sixth Man of the Yr could be a one-season spark plug off the bench, contribute to a title contender, after which receives a commission on his subsequent deal in free company this summer season.
That… shouldn’t be precisely how issues went throughout Harrell’s time in Los Angeles. The previous Clippers heart completed sixth in Sixth Man of the Yr voting this season, averaging 13.5 factors and 6.2 rebounds on 62.2% capturing whereas coming off the bench in all however considered one of his 69 video games. He was a sturdy energizer bunny who offered scoring for a Lakers roster that was at occasions starved for it, and helped the staff steal some common season video games they wouldn’t have received with out his juice.
Then the playoffs occurred, and head coach Frank Vogel did what he did final 12 months when on the lookout for solutions to the issues an opponent introduced: Put extra protection on the ground. After the Lakers misplaced Sport 1 to the Phoenix Suns, Harrell was a DNP-CD in Video games 2 and three (each wins) as Vogel went with Marc Gasol and Andre Drummond earlier than going again to Harrell for brief minutes within the staff’s three losses in Video games 4, 5 and 6. These losses weren’t solely Harrell’s fault by any means, however he struggled defensively because the Suns hunted and picked on him. And after two straight playoff runs during which he struggled, it’s truthful to wonder if or not he’d lose cash by opting out and testing free company.
At exit interviews on Friday, Harrell batted away repeated questions on his future.
“I got here in each day, I did my job, I did what they requested me to do,” Harrell mentioned. “I performed my position. It’s so simple as that. So far as my future, I don’t know that holds proper now. We simply completed enjoying final night time, so I can’t offer you that reply proper now brother, however I got here in, I did my job and every time my quantity was referred to as I went on the market, performed to the perfect of my talents and left all of it on the ground.”
When Harrell was requested how the midseason addition of Drummond and presence of Marc Gasol within the postseason affected his position, he additionally sidestepped.
“Brother, you’re asking questions which might be mainly proven on paper. It exhibits the variety of minutes I performed, the period of time I performed, all the things is true there in your hand. So so far as your query that you really want the reply to, I don’t understand how you really need me to reply that,” Harrell mentioned. “Like I simply advised you, I performed my position man, and when my quantity was referred to as, I did what the staff requested me to do.
“So far as how that position performed out within the rotation, you’re asking the unsuitable man sitting in entrance of you brother man,” Harrell mentioned, laughing.
You’ll be able to watch the entire thing right here:
The change didn’t precisely provide an amazing diploma of confidence that Harrell was thrilled about how his time in Los Angeles went, and after coping with an up-and-down position and being shopped on the commerce deadline, it’s laborious accountable him for a minimum of fascinated about his choices. Harrell additionally wouldn’t verify or deny if the staff advised him throughout his exit interview that he was of their future plans.
“Brother man, you’re digging a bit bit too deep into what I don’t have solutions to. Good attempt, however like I advised you man, the sport simply ended final night time. I’m about to go dwelling and be a dad. You need to find out about that, you may ask questions on that,” Harrell mentioned.
“However so far as my future with being a Lakers basketball participant, we’ll fear about that later when free company time rolls round, brother.”
Free company received’t happen till Aug. 2, and along with giving the Lakers lots of time to consider how they need to construct their staff transferring ahead, their early exit can even give Harrell lots of time without work to ponder his personal subsequent steps. However throughout a solution about whether or not or not the staff gave him something to work on over the summer season, Harrell could have given a sign about the place his expectations for the long run lie.
“I simply completed 12 months six, so I’m a bit bit additional superior, so I sort of know what my recreation is a bit bit on this league, and I do know what I need to work on as a participant,” Harrell mentioned. “On the finish of the day, you’re auditioning for each staff on this league. Like, that’s simply what it’s. There’s not lots of guys who simply have a say of the place they will choose and play, and everyone knows that.”
Harrell may choose enjoying for the Lakers, however given his rollercoaster of a job this season and the way the marketing campaign ended each for him personally and for the staff as an entire, it’s truthful for his or her to be vital doubt over whether or not both facet will actually need a reunion. We’ll see over the subsequent couple of months the way it all shakes out.
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