Even though the Los Angeles Lakers were coming off an NBA Championship in 2020, vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka decided the roster could use more scoring and ballhandling outside of LeBron James. In order to address those needs, Pelinka was able to trade away Danny Green and the team’s 2020 first-round pick in exchange for Dennis Schroder.
Schroder started in all 61 games he appeared in, averaging 15.4 points, 5.8 assists, 3.5 rebounds while also shooting a great 84.8 percent from the free-throw line. He was also one of the Lakers’ best defenders, routinely picking up opposing point guards full court and battling with bigger wing players that he was switched on.
The point guard was one of the team’s more reliable players as his competitive spirit showed every night he was out on the floor, and his speed with the basketball in his hands was a nice change of pace both in transition and in the half-court.
However, Schroder was forced to miss time early in the season after being placed in the NBA’s health and safety protocols, adding to the rash of injuries Los Angeles was already dealing with.
The Lakers’ fortunes looked like they were turning toward the end of the 2020-21 season, but Schroder was once again placed in health and safety protocols right before the Play-In Tournament and playoffs. Even though he was able to return in time, Schroder did not look like the same player as his conditioning was not up to par and his scoring had taken a noticeable dip.
In their first-round series against the Phoenix Suns, Schroder largely struggled on both ends, especially in Game 5 when he failed to score. The performance left a bad taste in fans’ mouths, and although Schroder expressed his desire to come back next season, it remains to be seen whether or not he will actually re-sign.
Head coach Frank Vogel is known for his defensive acumen and he had to love what he saw from Schroder in their comeback home win against the Denver Nuggets. Schroder knocked a pass intended for Jamal Murray into the backcourt and dove for the loose ball. However, while Murray tried to track it down Schroder dove a second time for the ball and forced a 24-second violation.
Schroder is an unrestricted free agent this summer and the Lakers have no options to replace him should they let him walk. His postseason showing left much to be desired, but Pelinka and the rest of the front office know they need to keep Schroder because of their salary cap situation. A sign-and-trade scenario is possible, but it is more likely than not that Schroder is back in Purple and Gold.
Recent reports indicate that Schroder is looking for $100-120 million, which should make for some interesting negotiations.
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