The Los Angeles Lakers have a lot of decisions to make this offseason as numerous players who were a big part of their playoff run are free agents. While a couple of those players feel like foregone conclusions to return, others are a little bit more unclear such as point guard Dennis Schroder.
The Lakers brought Schroder back to the team on a minimum contract and he would turn in a very strong season, providing a scoring spark and tenacious defense whether he was starting or coming off the bench. By the end of the postseason, Schroder was the more trusted point guard option over the much higher-paid D’Angelo Russell.
Now with free agency set to begin, the Lakers must decide whether they want to bring back Schroder and at what cost. According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, the Lakers want to bring him back, and could use their taxpayer midlevel exception to do so:
Los Angeles would like to keep Schröder, but they have his non-Bird rights, meaning the most they can offer him in free agency is a projected $3.8 million in his first year unless they’re willing to use one of their midlevel exceptions (most likely the taxpayer midlevel exception, which is projected to be about $5 million annually for a maximum of three years).
Bringing Schroder back at that number makes a lot of sense and wouldn’t eat too much into the Lakers salary cap. Schroder has proven to be effective in many roles and fits the type of player head coach Darvin Ham loves with his defensive intensity and fearlessness on the court overall.
With both Austin Reaves and Rui Hachimura likely to command huge numbers in order to retain them, keeping someone like Schroder around for $5 million would be a steal. Depending on what other moves the Lakers make this summer, he could wind up as the starting point guard or as one of the first options off the bench.
There has been a lot of discussion about bringing the core players back and giving them a full season to really grow together and it looks as if the Lakers are serious about doing just that.
Dennis Schroder believes he made things right in second stint with Lakers
Of course for Schroder, this season was also about redemption. The point guard’s first run with the Lakers ended about as badly as possible and the franchise would move on after one year. But Schroder believes he made things right this time around.
“Like I said before I tried to make it right and I think we sure did. We had a helluva season,” Schroder said at his exit interview. “Like I mentioned yesterday, a 0.3% chance to make the playoffs. Rob made a deal, trade deadline, brought 3-4 guys in here who played great basketball, competed on the highest level and we turned a corner.
“Beat Memphis in the playoffs, Golden State, and then lose against Denver. But Denver is a pretty good team. But we gave everything we had, I gave everything I had, and I think it was a great, great season.”
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