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Montrezl Harrell picks up player option, paving way for Lakers trade

Lakers, montrezl harrell, Buddy Hield, Kings

Montrezl Harrell has picked up his $9.7 million player option, clearing the way for him to be included in a blockbuster trade that could bring Russell Westbrook to the Los Angeles Lakers.

ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski first reported Harrell’s decision — which, crucially, comes two days before the official Aug. 1 deadline to opt-in, allowing Harrell to be included in a trade package with the No. 22 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft.

Kyle Kuzma ($13 million in 2021-22), Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and the Lakers’ first-round pick could head to Washington in exchange for Westbrook.

Harrell is represented by Rich Paul of Klutch Sports, who surely worked hand-in-hand with the Lakers on the decision.

Earlier in the day, Kuzma had been linked to the San Antonio Spurs in a deal for DeMar DeRozan, while Harrell’s opt-in was seen as a key step towards a potential trade with the Sacramento Kings centered around Buddy Hield. At the moment, nothing is official, and talks remain ongoing between Sacramento and Los Angeles.

Either way, it looks like Trezz may be on the move.

Harrell averaged 13.5 points and 6.2 rebounds in his first season with the Lakers. He was a valuable energy man in the regular season, but his role was greatly diminished in the playoffs. After the season, Harrell hinted at displeasure with the Lakers’ coaching staff following his reduced postseason role.

Many more teams are projected to be armed with cap space in 2022, which could make opting-in for one season appealing — and profitable — to the 27-year old big.