Veteran point guard Dennis Schroder is gearing up to head into the first free agency experience of his NBA career. He’s coming off a productive first campaign with the Los Angeles Lakers, with the opportunity to cash in with a lucrative contract. However, Schroder sounds prepared to make a massive risk that could put the most pivotal moment of his NBA career in jeopardy.
Dennis Schroder finishes first season with the Lakers
Before the 2020-21 season, Schroder was among the Lakers’ notable roster moves.
The 27-year-old’s arrival marked the end of Rajon Rondo’s brief tenure in Los Angeles, opening the door to a significant backcourt role. Schroder quickly clung to a considerable offensive responsibility as one of the primary scorers and ball handlers.
He experienced his fair share of ups and downs as he adjusted to the new scenery. Schroder averaged 15.4 points and 5.8 assists on 43.7% shooting from the floor and 33.5% from 3-point range. His role fluctuated throughout the season due to injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Schroder excelled at times in a more significant offensive role with James and Davis sidelined. However, he landed on the health and safety protocol list that kept him off the floor for nearly the last two weeks of the regular season.
Schroder returned in time for the playoffs, but his play suffered as he struggled to find his footing. In the postseason, he averaged 14.3 points on 40.3% shooting from the floor and 31.9% from 3-point range. It included him going scoreless in the Game 5 blowout loss to the Phoenix Suns.
As he heads toward his first trip into free agency, Schroder may take a considerable risk that could impact his next NBA contract.
Dennis Schroder wants to take a seismic risk ahead of the biggest moment of his NBA career
Since the Lakers‘ early playoff exit, Schroder’s focus has quickly shifted toward the offseason in preparation for his first free agency experience.
The 27-year-old reportedly hopes to secure a lucrative deal ranging between $100 million to $120 million. It initially guided him to pass on playing for the German Men’s National Basketball Team in the 2021 Toyko Olympics.
However, Schroder has since changed his tone as he recently told German media outlet Zeit Online that he’s become inspired to play for the national team.
“I’m always available, but my situation is not that easy. But I hope we can sort that out by then. My agent has to do his job now. The German national team has done its job, let’s see,” said Schröder via Silver Screen and Roll.
Schroder seeing the German national team in person likely fueled the internal fire to play. The issue remains regarding the medical insurance he can receive if he were to get hurt playing. Reports indicated Germany could only offer around $10 million in Euros.
It’s nowhere near enough to give Schroder peace of mind on the court, especially if he’s eyeing an NBA contract worth at least $100 million. Although Schroder is reconsidering playing for the German national team, he can only join the squad through an injury replacement.
Nonetheless, it’s likely best for him to sit out as an injury could cause him to fall short of receiving the deal he wants in free agency.
Los Angeles may explore other backcourt options this offseason
Schroder’s offseason plans aside, the Lakers could head another route at the point guard position.
At this point, it’s unclear if the Lakers want to dish out a lucrative deal to retain the 27-year-old, but if not, there will have other options. The team may look to re-engage in efforts toward landing All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry.
The organization failed to land him before this past season’s trade deadline due to reluctance to include Talen Horton-Tucker in any offer.
The front office may also explore signing Spencer Dinwiddie, who is reportedly looking to play in his hometown of Los Angeles. Ultimately, the Lakers will have their options this offseason even if Schroder elects to sign elsewhere in free agency.