It seems the Los Angeles Lakers are always looking for an upgrade at point guard. Even after trading for Dennis Schröder, who finished second in Sixth Man of the Year voting for the 2019-20 season, they tried to get better at the trade deadline by making a bid for Kyle Lowry.
Their bid ultimately didn’t meet the Toronto Raptors’ asking price and they finished the season with Schröder, who will be an unrestricted free agent this summer. Schröder has already said he wants to re-sign with the Lakers, but on the condition that everything is “fair.”
If the two sides can’t agree on a number, Rob Pelinka could try and work out a sign-and-trade involving Schröder, and there’s already a prime target for the Lakers in that scenario: Spencer Dinwiddie.
Dinwiddie, who’s spent the last five years with the Brooklyn Nets, is unlikely to return to Brooklyn next season, according to Kristian Winfield of the New York Daily News, because he has his heart set on playing in his hometown:
A source told The Daily News the combo guard wants to go home, or “wants the bag.”
“Home is the preferred destination,” the source told The Daily News. “But he wants to secure his financial future, too.”
Why should that be of particular interest to the Lakers, you might ask? He was born and raised in Los Angeles, CA. That’s the good news.
The bad news is that Dinwiddie is planning on opting out of his contract, per Winfield’s report, so it would take a rare double sign-and-trade for the Lakers to acquire Dinwiddie unless the 28-year-old guard is willing to take a massive discount in free agency.
The problem with a double sign-and-trade is that any team acquiring a player in a sign-and-trade becomes hard-capped, and we saw this past season, that makes it incredibly hard to fill out the rest of the roster.
Let’s just say Dinwiddie signs a contract for $15 million annually — the Lakers would have an excess of $105 million before signing Alex Caruso or Talen Horton-Tucker to new contracts. The luxury tax threshold for the 2021-22 season is expected to be set at $136.6 million, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. In layman’s terms, it wouldn’t be possible for the Lakers to run it back if they traded for Dinwiddie.
Perhaps Dinwiddie has a change of heart and opts in to the final year of his contract to orchestrate a sign-and-trade to the Lakers so that they can re-sign him using bird rights in 2022, but for now, Dinwiddie to the Lakers is looking like a no-go, and that’s okay. As talented as Dinwiddie is, Schröder is a comparable player and, generally speaking, you don’t want to hard cap yourself for a move that can be seen as lateral.
Again, things can change, but for now, Dinwiddie to the Lakers is looking like a long shot.