The annual NBA trade deadline came and went on Thursday, and despite being linked to a number of players and potential deals, the Los Angeles Lakers ultimately did nothing.
The Lakers were either hoping to unload Russell Westbrook’s contract or package their young players like Talen Horton-Tucker and Kendrick Nunn for roster upgrades. All three of those players have seen their trade value decrease significantly this season for a variety of reasons though, and as a result, the Lakers couldn’t find a team willing to make a deal.
Outside of Westbrook, Horton-Tucker and Nunn, the Lakers’ roster is filled with minimum players, which makes matching salaries in a potential deal tough.
Even though the Lakers didn’t make any trades though, that doesn’t mean that they can’t make moves to upgrade the roster as they now shift their focus to the buyout market. The Lakers have made many buyout moves in recent years, bringing in players like Andre Drummond, Ben McLemore, Markieff Morris and Dion Waiters.
Now, it appears they could have interest in a reunion with Dennis Schroder, via Jovan Buha of The Athletic:
The buyout market is still to be determined as teams finalize their rest-of-season plans. But some of the top potential names that could make sense for the Lakers if they’re available include Goran Dragić (who’s expected to end up in Dallas), Gary Harris, Dennis Schröder, Eric Bledsoe, Paul Millsap, DeAndre’ Bembry, Mike Muscala, Tomáš Satoranský and Tristan Thompson.
The Lakers explored the possibility of trading for Schröder at the trade deadline, as The Athletic’s Bill Oram reported. While there remains some division internally among the Lakers’ decision-makers regarding Schröder after his uncomfortable departure last summer, there is interest in bringing him back as a backup point guard, according to league sources.
Schroder’s history with the Lakers is well-documented as he reportedly turned down a big extension last season and then his reputation soured around the league, forcing him to sign a one-year, $5 million deal with the Boston Celtics this season.
After Schroder didn’t work out in Boston either, they traded him to the Houston Rockets at the deadline, and now many presume he will be bought out.
While Schroder’s relationship with the Lakers may not be great, there’s no doubt he can help their struggling team this season as a point guard off the bench. Whether or not he would be interested in returning though remains to be seen.
Lakers would have to cut player, pay luxury tax
Considering the Lakers have a full roster, they would need to cut a player in order to sign a player off the buyout market. Cutting a minimum player and adding another will cost the Lakers around $7 million in luxury taxes, which Rob Pelinka indicated ownership would be OK with in order to upgrade the roster.
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