Despite leading the Western Conference with a 6-2 win-loss record, the Los Angeles Lakers are seen as a team that might need to make some adjustments in order to address their remaining weaknesses and improve their chances of repeating as NBA champions. As suggested in a new list of trade ideas, one such move would involve trading one of their top acquisitions of the 2020 offseason — 2019-20 Sixth Man of the Year awardee Montrezl Harrell.
On Wednesday, Bleacher Report’s Zach Buckley wrote in his entry for the Lakers that Harrell has not disappointed since leaving the Los Angeles Clippers to join their crosstown rivals. At the moment, he is averaging 18.5 points and 10.9 rebounds per 36 minutes, providing strong interior play and a lot of scoring off the bench. However, Buckley stressed that there are still “unanswered questions” about Harrell and starting center Marc Gasol when it comes to how useful they may be as clutch players in the postseason.
Given that the Lakers might need to have a more versatile group of supporting frontcourt players to suit up alongside superstar Anthony Davis, the Bleacher Report writer suggested that the team could send Harrell to the Sacramento Kings in exchange for backup forward Nemanja Bjelica, and possibly reserve wingman Glenn Robinson III as well. This hypothetical deal, as speculated, could give Los Angeles a “cleaner fit” due to the Serbian big man’s skills as a “superior spacer and ball-mover.”
As further noted by Buckley, the deal could also help Sacramento if the organization is “worried” about the development of former No. 2 overall choice Marvin Bagley III, who is starting ahead of Bjelica at power forward. He hinted that the Kings might benefit from Harrell’s presence in the event Bagley fails to live up to expectations in his third season in the league.
Although he is seeing only 15.7 minutes per game in the 2020-21 campaign thus far, Bjelica spent the previous two seasons as the club’s starter at the power forward position. In 2019-20, the 32-year-old averaged 11.5 points, 6.4 rebounds, and 2.8 assists while shooting 48.1 percent from the field and 41.9 percent beyond the arc, per Basketball-Reference.
Likewise, Robinson has seen rather limited minutes for the Kings in 2020-21 but enjoyed a productive 2019-20 season. According to his Basketball-Reference page, the seven-year veteran recorded averages of 11.7 points, 4.4 rebounds, and 1.5 assists and converted on 48.6 percent of his field-goal attempts while splitting time between the Golden State Warriors and Philadelphia 76ers.
This isn’t the first time Bleacher Report has recommended that the Lakers could part ways with Harrell at some point in the future. Earlier this month, the outlet wrote that the reserve big man might be the “most sensible” player to move prior to the March trade deadline, owing to how his subpar defense and lack of shooting range might hold the Lakers back in the playoffs.