With just over a month left in the NBA regular season, the Los Angeles Lakers and Dennis Schröder haven’t been able to reach an agreement on a contract extension, and while there’s still technically time for them to work something out, Schröder has made it clear that he intends to test unrestricted free agency.
The Lakers will go into the summer as the perceived favorites to re-sign Schröder because of his comments about re-signing earlier in the season, and because they have his bird rights, meaning they can pay him more than any other team can. However, the Lakers aren’t the only big market team that can pay Schröder the money that he’s looking for.
The New York Knicks can open up as much as $70 million in cap space this summer, and according to Ian Begley of SNY, they’re planning on using some of that money to try and lure Schröder out of Los Angeles:
Schroder is among the players on New York’s radar as the club looks ahead to free agency, SNY has learned.
Schröder didn’t exactly nail his audition for the Knicks when the Lakers played them on Monday, but it comes as no surprise that they have interest in him. The Knicks have long searched for stability at point guard and Schröder, who will turn 28 in September, fits the timeline of their core group of players. New York also offers more stability for Schröder, at least in theory.
Unlike the Lakers, who have a glut of guards they don’t intend on parting with this summer, the Knicks have no shortage of minutes to offer Schröder. Upon arrival, he’d easily be the best point guard on their roster, if not their best guard period. Schröder is the best point guard on the Lakers right now, but will that be true when the younger, cheaper Talen Horton-Tucker is in his fourth year? That’s unclear.
Now, does that mean the Lakers should feel comfortable letting Schröder walk to the Knicks in free agency? No, they should absolutely be aggressive in trying to re-sign Schröder, a player they wouldn’t able to sign otherwise because of how much money they have committed through 2022.
But if the Knicks win the Schröder sweepstakes this summer, the Lakers will still be in a better position with their guard depth than the Knicks and, if we’re being honest, most teams in the NBA. I mean, how many other teams’ backup plans consist of just Talen Horton-Tucker and Alex Caruso?