Dennis Schroder’s first run with the Los Angeles Lakers three years ago left a lot to be desired.
He often clashed with his teammates, and one of the team’s biggest stars hated playing with him.
On his second go-round, Schroder did a full 180. He proved to be a tremendous contributor to the team, particularly on defense, and rebuilt his stock in a way nobody saw coming.
Now, with free agency looming, many have wondered what the future holds for Schroder.
According to Jovan Buha of The Athletic, L.A. wants to retain him.
“Los Angeles would like to keep Schroder, but they have his non-Bird rights,” he wrote.
“Meaning the most they can offer him in free agency is a projected $3.8 million in his first year unless they’re willing to use one of their midlevel exceptions (most likely the taxpayer midlevel exception, which is projected to be about $5 million annually for a maximum of three years).”
The big question is how much it will take for Schroder to stay with the Lakers. Part of the reason he accepted less money to come back was because he felt like his first run with the organization left something to be desired.
This time around, however, he felt like he made things right.
“Like I said before I tried to make it right and I think we sure did,” Schroder said during his exit interviews.
“We had a helluva season. Like I mentioned yesterday, a 0.3% chance to make the playoffs. Rob made a deal, trade deadline, brought 3-4 guys in here who played great basketball, competed on the highest level and we turned a corner.”
With his so-called “debt” paid, Schroder is now free in all regards to do what is best for him. And if the Lakers don’t come with the best possible offer, they face the very real prospect of losing him.
At the moment, two teams seem like the likeliest to steal him away.
The first squad to watch is the Chicago Bulls. Alex Caruso trade rumors are intensifying, with three NBA teams vying to acquire him this summer. Schroder isn’t quite the All-Defensive First Team stalwart that Caruso has turned into, but he is very good on that side of the ball nevertheless.
As the team continues to build around Zach LaVine, the Bulls will need people who can guard effectively on the perimeter. Lonzo Ball was supposed to be that – but he may never play again. Schroder fits that need like a glove.
If not Chicago, the Dallas Mavericks are also a team to watch. Obviously at the moment all parties are pretending like a Kyrie Irving trade is off the table. But where there is this much smoke, there’s usually fire.
Should circumstances change, and if Irving decides suddenly he does want to go to L.A. and play alongside LeBron James, Schroder would almost certainly need to be part of that deal.
The Mavericks were terrible defensively last season. Luka Doncic outwardly admitted this was the case. Schroder would at least help the squad somewhat shore things up on the perimeter, especially if they also brought in D’Angelo Russell who isn’t great on that side of the ball.
The Detroit Lions continue to be surprisingly impressive. https://t.co/QYllVA42fq
— Game 7 (@game7__) June 6, 2023
One way or the other, it is inarguable that Schroder did a great job rebuilding his value this past year.
He is now a prized commodity around the league.
Where will Schroder be playing come the beginning of next season? Time will tell.