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Season Review: Shaq Harrison

Signed on the final day of the regular season, Shaq Harrison didn’t have much of a role on the Lakers this season, but can that change moving forward?

2023 NBA Playoffs - Golden State Warriors v Los Angeles Lakers Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The Lakers moves on the final day of the regular season saw the team sign Tristan Thompson and Shaq Harrison. The former eventually made an on-court impact along with an off-court role as a veteran voice in the locker room.

In Harrison, the Lakers brought in some point guard depth and signed him to a non-guaranteed deal for next season. As a veteran journeyman, Harrison has some value around the league, but is it enough to keep him in Los Angeles?

How was their season?

Basically, write this one off as an incomplete grade. He played only six games across the regular season in the NBA and G League, five of those with the Blazers and one with the South Bay Lakers. Technically, he played eight games in the postseason but all of it was in garbage time.

There was never a moment where he played meaningful minutes for the Lakers this season, so it’s rather hard to give him any meaningful grade.

Should the Lakers bring them back?

There are a couple of ways to look at this, but it has basically nothing to do with his on-court production. Ultimately, Harrison is a player who will be 30 years old when next season starts, has only once played more than 45 games in a season and has just seven regular season games played the last two seasons.

The arguments for keeping him are more or less based on the contract he has and the flexibility it brings. His deal for next season is $2.4 million but is fully non-guaranteed until Jan. 10, 2024.

For one, that makes him very useful trade bait whether during the upcoming offseason or into the regular season. Deals like that are always great trade fodder and make them valuable.

The other route for keeping him is if the Lakers do go after a Kyrie Irving trade/signing and need as many useful, minimum-salary players as they can get. Having Harrison around on a non-guaranteed deal means they can give him a chance and cut bait if it doesn’t work out without risk.

Will he return?

Ultimately, he likely will not return. This becomes a matter of roster math. If the Lakers do bring back their young core next season, then you’re going to run out of spots at the end of the roster right now.

Suppose the team brings back Thompson, plus has two rookies with the No. 17 and No. 47 picks. That’s three spots dedicated to players who may have limited or reduced roles, though the No. 17 pick could certainly be an impactful player next year.

Also, to be blunt, if the Lakers are going to give minutes to a point guard down the roster, it probably shouldn’t be to a 30-year-old journeyman. Harrison might have value elsewhere in the league, but he didn’t do much with the Lakers this year and any argument for keeping him is based not on what he can do on the court.

There are better, higher-ceiling options to find this summer no matter how intriguing his contract may be.

You can follow Jacob on Twitter at @JacobRude.

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