When the Los Angeles Lakers won the 2019-20 NBA Championship, the prevailing hope on the roster was that they wanted to run it back with the same core. However, Rob Pelinka and the Lakers front office knew they needed to get younger and surround more true talent around LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The results were the additions of Dennis Schroder, Montrezl Harrell and eventually Andre Drummond. What looked like the pieces of a repeat championship team never came to fruition. Injuries and inconsistency battered L.A. and forced them out of the playoffs in the first round, leaving many to wonder what the 2021-22 iteration of the team will look like.
Davis, who is one of just five Lakers players under a guaranteed contract for next season, is hopeful they bring back as many players as possible. “Hopefully, but that’s each guy’s decision,” Davis said. “We wanted the same thing last year. It don’t work that way. Guys look out for themselves and their families and do what they think is best for them and you can do nothing but respect it.
“Like I said, the most important thing I want everybody to get healthy. A lot of guys played through a lot of injuries this year and I played through it. We just want everyone to be healthy and if guys feel like this season was a fluke I say for us because of the injuries we didn’t get a chance to really reach our potential because of the injuries then let’s do it, but at the end of the day, I know that guys have a lot to think about
“It’s all still fresh, too. Still fresh. Guys are not thinking about anything other than getting it right and how we could’ve won this series and moved onto the next series and then the Western Conference finals and the [NBA] Finals. Guys are going to be thinking about that for a while and when it’s time to think about their future and the future of our team, they’ll make that decision. We’ll reach out. We’ll have conversations about it and we’ll go from there.”
Schroder, Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, Montrezl Harrell and Andre Drummond are all most likely going to be free agents, meaning next year’s core could look very different. Beyond the Lakers having big decisions to make, those players will all have to decide if they even want to be in L.A.
There is a chance the Lakers run it back, of course, just as that was a legitimate option in 2020. However, the NBA offseason is one of the most chaotic times in any sport during the calendar year and things can change at any moment.
Davis and James will, as always, get some input into the construction of the roster. So if Davis does want to run it back, he may be able to have the conversations necessary to make it happen.
Schroder hoping to re-sign in L.A.
While there have been mixed messages all season long, Schroder did not mince words after the Lakers were eliminated from the playoffs. In fact, he made it abundantly clear that he wants to be a Laker. “Everybody in the locker room is great so at the end of the day, like I said, I want to be here and win a championship. That’s not even a question.
“And it wasn’t about money because everybody who knows me, it’s not about money either. Of course you want to be fair, but at the end of the day, not everything is about money for me and my family. End of the day, if everything is good, we’re gonna come back and win a championship next year.”
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