Dennis Schroder is working through a bumpy first season with the Los Angeles Lakers. The veteran guard’s future remains a mystery as the offseason nears closer. However, Schroder may have indicated what he plans to do in free agency.
Dennis Schroder’s rocky first season with the Lakers
Weeks before the 2020-21 season, the Lakers acquired Schroder in a blockbuster trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
Los Angeles’ decision to land the veteran guard effectively replaced Rajon Rondo. Schroder immediately snagged a significant role, placing him in the starting lineup as a primary ball-handler and scoring option.
The 27-year-old’s production shifted throughout the regular season as he finished averaging 15.4 points, 5.8 assists, and 3.5 rebounds on 43.7% shooting from the floor and 33.5% from beyond the arc. His offensive role fluctuated due to injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Schroder became the primary scoring option with James and Davis out, while he also missed a long stretch near the end of the season due to health and safety protocol measures. Despite that, he brought stability to the Lakers that helped carry the team through tough times without their stars.
As the campaign inches closer to the offseason, Schroder may have already decided on his future in Los Angeles.
Dennis Schroder subtly hints at his Lakers future
Schroder’s first season with the Lakers has featured plenty of ups and downs.
The rollercoaster ride impacted the veteran guard enough to potentially indicate his upcoming free agency plans. Before he finishes the final year of his four-year, $70 million deal, Schroder recently took to Instagram to remove “PG for the Los Angeles Lakers” out of his bio.
Although it’s a minor change, it may suggest that Schroder has other plans in free agency. The signs have been there throughout this season as he first chose to decline a reported four-year, $84 million extension in February.
A few weeks later, the Lakers included him in a trade package to acquire All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry. Los Angeles didn’t acquire Lowry due to its unwillingness to make second-year swingman Talen Horton-Tucker part of any offer.
After the trade deadline, Schroder voiced that he will explore his free agency options.
“I mean, it’s a crazy business,” Schröder said via NBC Sports LA. “At the end of the day, I want to play my season out. I said that I want to see my options. I for sure want to be a Laker, but I still want to see my options.”
Schroder’s recent actions suggest that he intends to see what other offers he has available. The Miami Heat and New York Knicks reportedly may make a run at landing him.
The Lakers would welcome him back, but his asking price may be out of the team’s desired range. It all seemingly leads to the belief that Schroder is nearing the end of his tenure in Los Angeles.
Ultimately, Time will tell, but the optics are certainly not boding well for a return ahead.
Other point guard options will emerge
Schroder may have one foot out the door, but it doesn’t mean the front office hasn’t already visited alternative scenarios.
The Lakers will likely hold limited financial flexibility, but intriguing options will be available. The team could again pursue Lowry, but that route will probably only be feasible in a sign-and-trade.
Meanwhile, recent reports indicate Chris Paul is leaning toward declining his $44.4 million player option for the 2021-22 campaign. Last offseason, the Lakers expressed interest in pairing Paul alongside James and Davis.
The star guard may hit free agency, but he will likely re-sign with the Suns on a three-year deal worth around $100 million. Los Angeles may instead explore other cheaper options in free agency and trades to address the backcourt.
Regardless of the Lakers’ playoff fate, the team is headed toward notable roster changes.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.