It seems like a lifetime ago since the NBA world was in awe of Montrezl Harrel putting up starter’s numbers while coming off the bench consistently, ultimately leading to him winning NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2020. The undersized big man was a force on the glass and played with a toughness that resembled the likes of Dennis Rodman from back in the 90s. That toughness is precisely what the Lakers were hoping to unleash when they signed Harrel to a two-year deal last offseason.
One disappointing season later, it seems as if the relationship between the two parties has gone sour as Trez failed to play significant minutes late in the season and the Playoffs, a surprising adjustment by the coaching staff given Harrel’s contributions to the team while Anthony Davis missed several games due to an injury during the regular season. The former Sixth man of the Year took to Instagram to engage with fans, addressing the topic of his benching.
“Lmaoo y’all keep things match up situation are ex users lmao… that s**t isn’t real.”Montrezl Harrell, Instagram
The comments do not exactly come as a surprise, as Trez has been making his true feelings regarding his lack of playing time well-known on social media. The prevailing notion is that Trez will likely decline his player option and look to become a free agent this offseason; his recent comments make it seem like it’s a foregone conclusion. After all, if Vogel is still at the helm, it does not seem like Trez will just magically fit into what Vogel and his staff are trying to defensively.
Should Trez leave, this opens up the mid-level exception for the Lakers to use this summer to address some glaring roster concerns. Similar to the Andre Drummond situation, are the Lakers going to use a significant part of their salary cap to fill a position they only use to keep Anthony Davis happy at the four spot? The answer should be no, and the priority should be focusing on how to keep AD’s usage and workload down in ways that benefit the team as a whole for both the regular season and playoffs.
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