Dennis Schroder is a few weeks removed from completing his first season with the Los Angeles Lakers. He experienced a rollercoaster ride campaign that has created an uncertain future ahead. As Schroder heads toward his first trip into free agency, he could play a big part in the Lakers’ offseason plans.
Dennis Schroder experiences rollercoaster first campaign with the Lakers
Schroder‘s first year with the Lakers unfolded with plenty of highs and lows.
He averaged 15.4 points and 5.8 assists on 43.7% shooting from the floor and 33.5% from 3-point range. Schroder played a fluctuating role through the season due to injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
The 27-year-old excelled as the primary offensive factor with James and Davis sidelined, averaging 15.8 points and 8.3 assists in March. However, he landed on the health and safety protocol list that sidelined him for nearly the last two weeks of the regular season. After Schroder returned, he struggled to find his rhythm, averaging 14.3 points on 40.3% shooting from the floor and 31.9% from 3-point range in the playoffs.
As he heads into his first free agency experience, Schroder could help the Lakers in more ways than one.
Dennis Schroder can help the Lakers even if he doesn’t return
As the Lakers near closer to the offseason, Schroder’s future remains a prevalent discussion.
The 27-year-old will enter free agency for the first time, further underlining the importance of his decision ahead. Schroder previously voiced he wants to return to the Lakers but will explore all his options through the entire process.
The veteran point guard holds complete control regarding his future, but he could help Los Angeles in a sign-and-trade scenario. According to Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report, the Chicago Bulls and New York Knicks will emerge as suitors.
“With Schroder notably declining the Lakers’ four-year, $84 million offer earlier this year, sources confirmed to Bleacher Report, it has opened the door for Los Angeles to explore sign-and-trade opportunities this summer,” Fischer wrote. “The point guard appears to be looking for a greater role and a bigger payday, neither of which the Lakers seem willing to provide. Schroder also happens to be the best trade chip Los Angeles holds to upgrade its roster.
“League sources expect Chicago and New York to emerge as Schroder suitors, and both could be conducted via sign-and-trade—although Knicks certainly have the cap space to sign him outright. New York will likely have north of $50 million to spend this summer.”
The Knicks may be the more appealing destination for Schroder, given the franchise is coming off its first playoff appearance in nearly a decade. New York possesses a young roster, which the Lakers may want to acquire Mitchell Robinson in a sign-and-trade as the team’s held interest in him for few seasons.
The Knicks possess a $1.8 million player option with Robinson for next season. The 23-year-old could quickly slide into the frontcourt in a prominent role, effectively replacing Andre Drummond. Although this may be putting the cart in front of the horse, the Lakers may have a promising opportunity ahead.
Plenty of point guard options will be available this offseason
Schroder sits atop the board as the Lakers’ most significant offseason roster decision.
However, the Lakers will have other backcourt options available to fill the dynamic playmaker the front office wants to pair alongside James and Davis. All-Star Kyle Lowry remains the most prominent name on the sign-and-trade front due to the team’s previous attempt to land him before last season’s trade deadline.
Meanwhile, Spencer Dinwiddie and Lonzo Ball recently cropped up as possible targets to solidify the Lakers’ backcourt situation. Los Angeles will also keep an eye on Portland Trail Blazers star Damian Lillard as he could become available.
With the start of free agency only a few weeks away, several more players should arise as potential roster additions. Expect the Lakers to be among the most active teams behind the front office’s attempt to construct a championship-contending team.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.