One of the biggest decisions the Los Angeles Lakers need to make during the upcoming offseason is the contract of Dennis Schroder. He is an unrestricted free agent, but the Lakers own his bird rights and can pay him any amount they want without worrying about the salary cap.
Contract negotiations during the regular season suggested that he wanted to be a free agent and see his options despite continually saying that he wanted to be a Laker long-term. While his words were inconsistent with his actions off the court, he also lacked consistency on the court.
At times, he was an imposing force with his ability to get to the rim and defend opposing point guards. However, in the playoffs, he went ice cold on some occasions. Not only did he miss shots, but he also turned the ball over and struggled on defense.
Reportedly, some within the Lakers organization are frustrated with how he handled negotiations with the team as well as his on-court production, according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN:
Schroder was supposed to be an age-appropriate complement to Davis, a playmaker and feisty defender who could ease some of the burden on James. But the relationship started off awkwardly with Schroder stating publicly he expected to start even though he’d had success off the bench with the Oklahoma City Thunder and finished as runner-up in Sixth Man of the Year voting last year. And it got worse with each long-term contract extension he turned down.
The Lakers acceded to his request to start, and continued negotiating with his representatives on a rich contract extension. But his play on the court frustrated some in the organization, according to sources. By the trade deadline, L.A. was including him in trade discussions for Toronto Raptors point guard Kyle Lowry.
Obviously, a report like this could be nothing more than unsubstantiated rumors. However, if there is truth to it, it could reflect negatively on the team’s negotiations with Schroder. Not only could it make Schroder less excited about returning, but it could also make him want to take less money just to be elsewhere.
It’s far from an ideal start to the offseason to have rumors circulating about the team’s biggest free agent. While Schroder is an imperfect player, it would be very difficult to let him walk for nothing as the Lakers don’t have the financial flexibility to replace him.
Hopefully, whatever is going on between the Lakers and Schroder can be figured out in time to get a deal done, as it appears to be what he wants for his future.
Schroder appreciative of Rob Pelinka
If members of the Lakers organization are frustrated with Schroder, Rob Pelinka likely isn’t a part of that equation. Schroder heavily praised Pelinka during his exit interview for the way he was treated during his first season in L.A.
“Me and Rob have had close contact throughout the whole season,” Schroder said. “He said every time when you need something, text me. If the family needs something, just holler at me and I’ll figure it out.
“Going through all of this COVID stuff, family can’t come to the games but I mean, he did everything for us and that’s all you can ask for. “It didn’t change for me. That he did everything for me, stayed in contact all the time when I needed something. Even in practices helping me out talking to me, what I can improve on, all that stuff. It was just a great experience for me to be here and you all know what comes next. I said it last night, and it’s unfinished business.”
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