Montrezl Harrell is exercising the 2021/22 player option

Lakers center Montrezl Harrell is picking up his $ 9.72 million option for the 2021/22 season, according to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (Twitter link).

Harrell signed a two-year contract with the Lakers last offseason, which was worth the mean exception. This deal included a guaranteed first year and a player option in the second year.

The 27-year-old had a season of ups and downs in Los Angeles when his averages dropped to 13.5 PPG and 6.2 RPG after a 2019/20 campaign that put up 18.6 PPG and 7.1 RPG and the sixth man in the world won annual honors for the Clippers.

Harrell’s fit on the Lakers wasn’t quite as smooth as the Clippers. He felt practically out of rotation during the playoffs, recording just 39 total minutes in the team’s six-game series against Phoenix.

With no guarantee that he would match or exceed his option salary in the open market, Harrell settles for 2021/22, but he may not be a Laker long.

The Kings and Lakers reportedly made headway on a deal that would send Buddy hero to LA in a package that includes Harrell, the # 22 Pick, and both Kyle Kuzma or Kentavious Caldwell Pope. That deal has not yet been finalized, but Harrell’s opt-in is paving the way for its closure and there has been a momentum, Woj reports (via Twitter).

If Harrell is sold to Sacramento, he would likely take on the role of the rim running center that Richaun Holmes played last season. The Kings are interested in re-signing Holmes but have limited flexibility to do so and will compete for him in the free agent market.

Sacramento isn’t the only possible destination for Harrell, however. According to reports, the Lakers have also made a deal with the Wizards for Russell Westbrook. If LA moves in that direction instead, Harrell could join Thomas Bryan in Washington’s forecourt.