The Los Angeles Lakers hold the tough challenge ahead in the play-in game against the Golden State Warriors to embark on their NBA title defense. The Lakers have worked through many hurdles to reach this point. However, the team may have another tough situation on their hands to deal with in the upcoming offseason involving Dennis Schroder.
Lakers fall into play-in game against the Warriors
The Lakers‘ second half of the season unfolded in a troubling manner due to injuries.
Los Angeles ventured much of that without James or Davis, which led them to tumble down the standings. After the four-time league MVP’s ankle injury, the Lakers went from the second seed to participating in the play-in game.
The Lakers will play Wednesday’s contest against the Warriors for the seventh playoff seed. A day before the pivotal matchup, a concerning report has emerged regarding one of their key players.
Lakers may have to say goodbye to Dennis Schroder next offseason
The 2020-21 season for the Lakers features several undercurrents beyond the court.
One of which centers on veteran point guard Dennis Schroder’s long-term future as he’s heading into free agency next offseason. With that in mind, Jake Fischer of Bleacher Report is reporting that the 27-year-old isn’t happy with his role and wants top-tier dollar for his next contract.
“Multiple league executives who have overlapped with Schroder told B/R they believe the ball-handler is looking to be paid like a top-tier point guard, and his role in Los Angeles may not satisfy his interest in being the leading playmaker for a marquee franchise,” Fischer wrote.
The latest development falls in line with the dialogue around Schroder. Shortly after the trade to the Lakers, Schroder initially voiced the strong desire to sign long-term.
Since then, the sentiment continues to drift toward the other direction. The Lakers wanted to ink him to a deal after becoming eligible for an extension, but Schroder tabled those talks due to his desire for a more lucrative contract.
He reportedly turned down a four-year, $84 million extension in March. Things took another sharp turn as Schroder was nearly traded to the Toronto Raptors in exchange for All-Star Kyle Lowry.
Schroder’s inclusion in trade talks only further complicated matters, leading him to voice that he will explore his free agency options. All that makes it clear that he may be on his way out in the coming months.
Focused on second straight NBA title run
Regardless of what the Lakers or Schroder’s plans are for the upcoming offseason, the focus remains solely on competing for an NBA title.
Los Angeles fell into the play-in game, but the team controls their fate moving forward. The Warriors present a challenging task on Wednesday, but the Lakers hold the talent capable of another title run.
If Los Angeles can secure one of the final two playoff spots, it will lead to a matchup against either the second-seeded Phoenix Suns or top-seeded Utah Jazz.
There isn’t clarity on LeBron James’ health, but his play alongside Anthony Davis will be critical in their championship chances. Meanwhile, Davis has finally looked healthy, as evident by his strong finish to the regular season.
Nonetheless, the Lakers know the path ahead that they need to work through to compete for another NBA championship.