When the Los Angeles Lakers traded for point guard Dennis Schroder, it was almost assumed that he would sign a long-term extension with the team rather than enter unrestricted free agency in the 2021 offseason. Then, as time passed, it became clear that Schroder — while he loved the Lakers — wanted to be a free agent and be courted by other teams.
All of this began circulating at the same time that his name was being mentioned as one of the pieces potentially going to the Toronto Raptors in a deal for Kyle Lowry. The Lakers reportedly offered the Raptors a package of Schroder and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, but ultimately backed out when the Raptors asked for Talen Horton-Tucker as well.
Many assumed that these trade talks signaled a divide in the relationship between Schroder and L.A. However, he confirmed that this wasn’t the case at all. “Let me make that clear first. I didn’t decline the extension because I was in trade talks. At the end of the day I own a team in Germany as well. I’m a guy that I try to run my organization in Germany as fair as possible but at the end of the day it’s still business.
“End of the day I still want to do what is best for the team but end of the day I still care about my players. That’s what Rob did as well. He told me the story. He said he listened to it, it wasn’t even right by the trade deadline but he talked to them to see, and at the end of the day I would have listened to offers as well. Because at the end of the day you don’t know what offers you can get and see what your options are.
“I’m a guy who does a lot of business on the side as well so I understand that. It’s no bad feelings, but at the end of the day that wasn’t the reason why I declined that option. Like I said before, I wanted to feel, after 8 years, I want to decide where I want to go and where I want to sign. I didn’t do that in 8 years. One option I had was to sign an extension in Atlanta but other than that I had no say, so that’s the reason why I didn’t sign the extension.”
According to Schroder, trade talks for Lowry did happen, but he was aware of it the whole time and was not out of the loop. One thing general manager Rob Pelinka is among the best at is keeping an open and honest approach with his players.
There are often organizational divides between players and teams because of the way that general managers and team governors handle their business. However, Pelinka and Jeanie Buss have made it a part of their mission to be honest with players and not do things behind their backs. If there are trade talks happening within the Lakers, odds are the player knows about it.
Now, Schroder will finally get his chance to be a free agent. It will be fascinating to see if he is able to find a new home that he is happier with, or if he simply returns to the Lakers.
Vogel anticipating tweaks to the roster
While the prevailing sentiment around the Lakers is a desire to “run it back,” basketball is still a business and teams — as well as players — are going to do what they feel is best for them.
Because of this, Frank Vogel is anticipating some roster changes between now and the 2021-22 season.
“Does that mean we’ll be back the same? Who knows. That’s going to be up to the front office to decide and where we end up landing with free agents and trades and whatnot, but we believe in the group that we have and if we have the core of Anthony Davis and LeBron James healthy, we’ll build the right supporting cast around those guys and we’ll have a chance to compete for a championship again next year.”
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