The Los Angeles Lakers hold several significant roster decisions this upcoming season. Dennis Schroder’s future is among them as he barrels toward free agency. Before Schroder embarks on that path, there is not so promising rumblings around his status in Los Angeles.
Dennis Schroder experiences a bumpy first campaign with the Lakers
Weeks before the Lakers began the 2020-21 season, the franchise shook up the backcourt by acquiring Schroder.
The 27-year-old quickly engrained himself into a prominent role as the starting point guard. He finished averaging 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 year due to injuries to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.
Schroder picked up the slack with the two stars sideline, averaging 15.8 points and 8.3 assists in March. However, he landed on the health and safety protocol list for nearly the last two weeks of the regular season. After returning, 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.
With his first trip into free agency on the horizon, Schroder may not like the chatter around the Lakers.
Dennis Schroder won’t like the latest rumblings concerning his future with the Lakers
As the Lakers head into the offseason, Schroder sits near the top of the list as he will hit free agency.
The 27-year-old has repeatedly voiced his desire to return to Los Angeles, especially after a first-round playoff exit. However, the sentiment doesn’t sound mutual as New York Times’ Marc Stein recently stated on Chad Ford’s NBA Big Board podcast that the Lakers prefer to move on from the veteran point guard.
“The easiest thing would be re-signing Dennis Schroder, but Dennis Schroder wants crazy money. Dennis Schroder thinks he’s a $100 million player,” Stein said, per Silver Screen and Roll. “He’s already turned down an extension in the $80 millions, and the vibe from the Lakers really is, I think they’d rather move on from Schroder. I don’t think they see Schroder as a starter. I think they like him as a Sixth Man, but they want something more out of their main backcourt guy.”
It falls in line with reports earlier this offseason that Schroder is looking to garner a $100 million to $120 million contract in his first trip in free agency. The Lakers don’t hold the same view of him, especially after turning down a four-year, $84 million extension back in February.
Schroder’s experience with the Lakers featured him pushing hard publicly for the starting job despite coming off a Sixth Man of the Year-worthy campaign with the Thunder. Ultimately, if he remains stern on his asking price, he’s likely played his last game with Los Angeles.
Los Angeles will likely explore other options
The Lakers could certainly retain Schroder, but that pathway looks marked with a strong desire to upgrade the backcourt.
Los Angeles has been linked to several other players, such as All-Star Kyle Lowry, DeMar DeRozan, Chris Paul, Russell Westbrook, Spencer Dinwiddie, Lonzo Ball, and Collin Sexton. Each of those routes will require a sign-and-trade, which the front office will likely involve Kyle Kuzma to help balance out the incoming salary.
Kuzma is stepping into the first year of his three-year, $39 million deal, paying him a $13 million salary for the 2021-22 season. The Lakers want to build a championship roster around James and Davis, which makes further stabilizing the backcourt a priority.
The front office will explore all avenues to improve the backcourt that will push the team away from Schroder. In other words, the pieces are in place for the Lakers to make some considerable roster changes.
Contract figures courtesy of Spotrac.