One of the biggest decisions the Los Angeles Lakers will have to make this summer is regarding point guard Dennis Schroder, who is a free agent after an up-and-down first season with the team.
The Lakers acquired Schroder last offseason in a trade for Danny Green and their first-round pick in hopes of adding another playmaking ball-handler alongside LeBron James.
Schroder was coming off a career year in which he finished second in the NBA Sixth Man of the Year voting. Things immediately got off to a rocky start in L.A. though when he essentially demanded to be in the starting lineup.
The 27-year-old played in 61 games in the regular season, missing a handful due to two separate stints in the NBA’s health and safety protocols. He averaged 15.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 5.8 assists, which isn’t horrible by any means.
The inconsistency was the issue as there were games, specifically in the postseason, that Schroder didn’t show up and it cost the Lakers.
Now that he’s a free agent, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report is reporting that the Lakers will explore sign-and-trade possibilities so they don’t lose Schroder for nothing and the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks could be his biggest suitors:
With Schroder notably declining the Lakers’ four-year, $84 million offer earlier this year, sources confirmed to Bleacher Report, it has opened the door for Los Angeles to explore sign-and-trade opportunities this summer. The point guard appears to be looking for a greater role and a bigger payday, neither of which the Lakers seem willing to provide. Schroder also happens to be the best trade chip Los Angeles holds to upgrade its roster.
League sources expect Chicago and New York to emerge as Schroder suitors, and both could be conducted via sign-and-trade—although Knicks certainly have the cap space to sign him outright. New York will likely have north of $50 million to spend this summer.
As Fischer alluded to, Schroder notably turned down a four-year extension with the Lakers in the middle of the season, stating his desire to test free agency for the first time in his career.
He is now reportedly seeking a contract in the range of $100-$120 million, which may be a bit too much for the Lakers’ liking given his inconsistent play and inability to raise his level in the postseason when Anthony Davis went down.
Schroder states desire to return to Lakers
Even though Schroder made it clear he wants to test free agency, he also stated his desire to return to the Lakers shortly after they were eliminated from the 2021 postseason.
“You got to go through the bullshit to get to the good shit, that’s how I take it. We went through a lot of stuff this year, starting early with injuries, whatever. We’re gonna be back and I’m gonna work my ass off to come back here, to give everything because we own them fans one. I want to win a championship and I’m gonna work my ass off this summer and come back and be me.”
While Schroder may want to return to the Lakers, it doesn’t appear that he will be willing to take a pay cut to do so. That may leave the two sides at an impasse, so it will be interesting to see if he’s at least willing to work with the Lakers on a sign-and-trade so they don’t lose him for nothing.
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