The Los Angeles Lakers fell well short of competing for a second straight NBA title. The Lakers‘ shortcomings push the franchise toward a pivotal offseason that could see some considerable roster changes. Among those may be Dennis Schroder, as he may have other teams attempting to pry him away from Los Angeles.
Dennis Schroder experiences rocky first season with the Lakers
Several weeks before the 2020-21 season, the Lakers acquired Schroder in a trade from the Oklahoma City Thunder.
The 27-year-old immediately replaced Rajon Rondo as the primary backcourt ball handler. Schroder quickly assumed a significant role as a key offensive piece, garnering the desired starting role from the get-go.
He experienced an up-and-down campaign that saw his production fluctuate while his health and safety protocol issues didn’t help. Schroder stepped up as a consistent offensive source with Anthony Davis, and LeBron James sidelined. Still, he struggled to find consistency after returning from his second stint on the health and safety protocol list.
With Davis becoming ineffective in the playoffs due to a groin injury, Schroder’s offensive production wavered. He posted 0 points on 0-for-9 shooting and held a -30 plus/minus in the Game 5 blowout loss to the Phoenix Suns. He notched 20 or more points three times in the series, but his performance contributed to the team’s early playoff exit.
Despite all that, Schroder may have several suitors lined up ahead.
Lakers may have stiff competition to keep Dennis Schroder
As the Lakers head into the offseason, Schroder sits near the top of the list of biggest roster decisions ahead.
The veteran guard will hit the free-agent market for the first time in his NBA career. Schroder has voiced a strong desire to return to Los Angeles, but that hasn’t overtaken his interest in exploring what other opportunities may unfold.
With that in mind, Shams Charania of The Athletic recently indicated Schroder will have many teams looking to land his services.
“They have Dennis Schroder, that’s going to be their biggest free agent piece that they have,” Charania said. “Either you bring him back or you use him in a sign and trade. I expect the Lakers to be open to either possibility. Those are open for discussion. You’ll have multiple teams, I’m told, involved in the Dennis Schroder sweepstakes. I’ll look at the Bulls, I’ll look at the Knicks, I’ll look at the Raptors, so that’s still a very fluid situation.”
The New York Knicks continues to remain linked to the 27-year-old as a potential landing spot. New York took a significant step forward, which Schroder may be more intrigued than any lucrative contract offer.
Meanwhile, the inclusion of the Toronto Raptors poses an interesting wrinkle. The Lakers nearly acquired All-Star guard Kyle Lowry before the trade deadline, with an offer that included Schroder. If there is mutual interest with Toronto, a sign-and-trade could quickly unfold, leading Lowry to land with Los Angeles.
Much can change this upcoming summer, but it’s clear Schroder will have several potential suitors vying to land aside from the Lakers.
The roster may look vastly different next season
Schroder’s future is one of several major roster decisions the Lakers must address this upcoming summer.
Los Angeles only has five players under contract through next season, pushing several other players such as Andre Drummond, Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, Wesley Matthews, and Markieff Morris into free agency. Montrezl Harrell may also elect to decline his $9.7 million player option for next season to play elsewhere.
The Lakers could likely explore trade scenarios for Kyle Kuzma to acquire another proven talent. There are many different avenues the front office will explore to help improve the roster to return to competing for another NBA title.
It all paints the picture that the offseason ahead will feature some considerable changes ahead in Los Angeles.