Los Angeles Lakers vice president of basketball operations Rob Pelinka made it clear the organization would not be complacent with winning the championship, and that was immediately evident with a trade to acquire Dennis Schroder from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
That kicked off a busy stretch for the Lakers, as they went on to retool the roster by signing Marc Gasol, Montrezl Harrell and Wesley Matthews. L.A. additionally re-signed Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Markieff Morris and of course Anthony Davis.
Each of the new additions will play a key role, but trading for Schroder was particularly imperative as Rajon Rondo was expected — and ultimately did — move in free agency.
Schroder was an integral part of the Thunder’s success last season and helped lead them to a surprising playoff berth where they nearly upset the Houston Rockets in the first round.
According to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN, it appears Los Angeles is intent on keeping Schroder past this season:
Schroder has one year and $15.5 million left on his contract and would be acquired with the intention of eventually signing him to a new contract to remain with the defending NBA champions, sources said.
Schroder is only 27 years old and fits the team’s timeline with Anthony Davis. Particularly with Davis committing to the team on a five-year contract. LeBron James also is in the fold through the 2022-23 season after signing a two-year extension, and he’s already raved about Schroder.
Schroder was the runner up for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year Award last season and is someone who is capable of orchestrating the offense and scoring on his own when James is off the floor.
It remains to be seen what kind of contract the Lakers may offer Schroder, who acknowledged he would be open to remaining with the team long term but for now is focused on the 2020-21 season.
Lakers not committed to Schroder starting
Aside from Schroder being on track to become a free agent next offseason, another interesting wrinkle to the trade is role. Schroder has openly stated he expects to be the Lakers’ starting point guard, but head coach Frank Vogel recently was non-committal to that.
Vogel explained he will have to evaluate how pieces fit together before deciding on a lineup and rotations.
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