The Los Angeles Lakers have a lot of moving parts in NBA free agency, with a number of their main rotation pieces being free agents this summer. The biggest name among those is point guard Dennis Schroder who refused a contract extension to experience free agency for the first time in his career.
Schroder reportedly will be looking to land a sizable new deal, and his time with the Lakers has almost surely come to an end. It was unclear whether the Lakers would bring him back after an up-and-down season with the team, but the acquisition of Russell Westbrook all but guaranteed his departure this offseason.
One team who is surely looking to make a splash is the New York Knicks, and according to Marc Berman of the New York Post, Schroder could be their most likely signing, and they were doing their homework on him all season:
The most likely Knicks catch would be Lakers point guard Dennis Schroder, a solid defender and playmaker who may be expendable now that the Lakers have landed Russell Westbrook. The Knicks scouted Schroder intensely this season to make sure the German native is a fit for coach Tom Thibodeau.
Landing spots for Schroder in free agency seem to be less than originally thought, and there are multiple reasons for that. First, this summer’s point guard class has numerous options that could be more desirable, such as Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry, Mike Conley, Spencer Dinwiddie, and Lonzo Ball. Additionally, the salary cap barely increased this year due to the pandemic season severely hurting league profits, so there are few teams with real cap room.
Because of this, there has been a lot of talk about a potential sign-and-trade with the Lakers sending Schroder to the team of his choice, which would also be ideal for the Lakers as it could land them a piece or two to help fill out their roster. But the Knicks have plenty of cap room and could sign Schroder outright, which could be their move as they look to build on last season’s playoff appearance.
Whether Schroder winds up joining the Knicks is anyone’s guess, but the pairing makes sense for both sides ultimately getting what they desire this summer.
Lakers’ Alex Caruso expected to meet with multiple teams in free agency
While Schroder’s departure is expected, Alex Caruso is someone whose return is much more in question. It is believed that the Lakers want to keep Caruso around as one of their most trusted role players, but financial constraints make that difficult, not to mention Caruso is expected to garner plenty of interest on the open market.
As it stands, Caruso is expected to meet with multiple teams once free agency begins, and the Lakers will have their hands full in keeping him around. In addition to being an outstanding perimeter defender, Caruso also improved his three-point shooting to 40.1% last season, making him a hot commodity for many contending teams.