The Los Angeles Lakers have made two big trades since LeBron James signed with them in 2018: the Anthony Davis trade in 2019 and the Dennis Schröder trade that they agreed to on Monday. Obviously the former was a lot bigger than the latter — literally and figuratively — but they were both big nonetheless, which means James had to sign off on both of them. In fact, he might have even facilitated both of them.
We know that to be true of the Davis trade because James and Davis share the same agent— and because James has outright said he recruited Davis to Los Angeles — but with Schröder, a 27-year-old, German-born point guard, the dots are harder to connect. That doesn’t mean they’re not there, though.
“They almost traded for him at the deadline in 2019 and they didn’t. There’s been a lot of interest there for a while. The Lakers have wanted, for a while, to get — and I know they’re very different players — but Rob Pelinka has been very interested in Dennis Schröder and very interested in Derrick Rose ...
“LeBron really likes his game. LeBron’s wanted to play with him for a while. Like I said, they almost traded for him before.”
It’s not hard to see why James likes Schröder’s game; there’s a lot to like. Last season with the Thunder, Schröder averaged 18.9 points per game off of the bench while shooting 46.9 percent from the field, including 38.5 percent from behind the arc. He’s the textbook definition of a spark plug.
Schröder will be the most helpful to James when James is resting on the bench, but Schröder’s improvement as a spot up shooter will make it easier for him to play with James. Additionally, Schröder’s ability to play with the ball in his hands and run the offense will allow James to play off of the ball, not unlike James did with Rajon Rondo last season.
Now, liking someone’s game is different from liking someone, but James’ respect for Schröder’s game should bode well for their relationship on the court.