With over $109 million committed in salary for the 2021-22 season, the Los Angeles Lakers will prioritize retaining their own free agents next summer, and it seems they already have an inside track on one of them: Dennis Schröder.
In December, Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN reported that the Lakers offered Schröder a two-year, $33.4 million contract, which was the most they could offer him at the time. While Schröder reportedly turned that offer down, the 27-year-old point guard has said he’d “love” to stay in Los Angeles under the right circumstances, and he doubled down on that proclamation on Tuesday.
“From the first day, it felt like we have been together for like a month or two,” Schröder said. “The chemistry is amazing. That’s the reason why I think I want to be here long-term, but like I said before, it’s always got to be fair on both ends. If it’s fair, then I ain’t got no problem. It’s going to be great to be here long-term, for sure.”
Schröder is averaging the fewest point per game (14.3 PPG) that he’s averaged since the 2015-16 season and the lowest usage percentage (22.5%) he’s averaged since his rookie year while starting alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. However, he still views the Lakers as an ideal long-term fit because of the team’s cutlure.
“I’ve been on really, really good teams … but here, in L.A. — the organization, my teammates and especially coaches —everybody’s just having fun, and I’ve never experienced that,” Schröder said. “Like, we’re having fun, but at the same time, we’ve got to be serious and get to work. That’s what we’re doing and I’ve never been a part of it like that before.
“I’m glad and grateful that I’m on this team and this organization and I can go out every night and kick some ass and just play. I think right now, we’re still learning, we’re still in progress, but we can still get better … it can get better from here.”
The Lakers will be able to offer Schröder a more lucrative deal on Feb. 16. Unless things sour between the two parties between now and then, expect them to work something out fairly quickly.