The Los Angeles Lakers are clearly interested in adding a bit more scoring to their backcourt, with the latest evidence coming via a leak that the team had interest in DeMar DeRozan. But he’s not the guard on an expiring contract that the team has been most persistently linked to. That honor might go to Dennis Schroder.
As we recapped yesterday, the Lakers called about Schroder at the February trade deadline, and he fits the profile to potentially be the mystery guard they were linked to by ESPN insider Brian Windhorst two weeks ago.
The only problem? At the trade deadline, Schroder reportedly didn’t want to go to Los Angeles, telling German outlet Sport 1 “yes, I have received offers. But I never wanted to go to the Lakers, the Clippers or all the names that may have called my agents... In the end, I’m good with the GM (Sam Presti – the OKC General Manager) and that was my decision. I said that I like the organization here better.”
Now, Schroder does not have the power to reject a trade outright under the NBA’s Collective Bargaining Agreement, so if the Thunder wanted to trade him — or if he’s come around to the idea of a new destination now that Oklahoma City is fully entering a rebuild — the Lakers could make a deal for $15.5 million expiring contract. And according to Ramona Shelburne of ESPN during an appearance on the “Sedano and LZ Show,” the Lakers are still interested in him (emphasis mine):
“The Lakers called about Schroder at the trade deadline, so they have interest in him. I think they’ve called now. You can’t make any trades now, or yet, that’s going to come next week. Yeah, they definitely have interest in him. It’s just, what does Sam Presti think he can get for him, and what is the maximum value? Do they have the best offer? ... 28 (the 28th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft) and Danny Green? Does that work? Pick No. 28 and Danny Green? Maybe. I think there are better offers, but we’ll see what Sam Presti thinks.”
That is the exact deal I theorized about yesterday, and salary-match wise, Green’s $15 million deal does make the most sense. Is that enough for the Thunder to part with a player who had a compelling case to win Sixth Man of the Year last season? It’s not totally clear, but the Thunder might value a steady vet like Green to help mentor their growing platoon of young players, as well as another bite at the draft apple for Presti that the Lakers could provide.
Green’s help defense would certainly be missed if this still theoretical deal — and to be clear, Shelburne isn’t reporting that Green would be in the offer, just speculating — but Schroder was an active part of the Thunder’s defense last season, capably guarding bigger players and showing some toughness in the process.
Last season’s version of Schroder would also help the Lakers offensively by giving them another creator and capable shooter, probably far more so than Green did during a down (but still okay) year for the veteran wing. This could be a deal that would really improve the Lakers, and so it’s easy to see why they’d be interested.
Now, will they get it done? We’ll see, but at this point we can’t ignore all the Schroder smoke. There have been persistent whispers that general manager Rob Pelinka really likes what he’d bring to the Lakers, and this is just the latest confirmation of such rumors. Don’t be surprised to see this get done if the Lakers do ultimately make a deal when the window to do so opens up later this week or next.