Throughout large portions of last season, Dennis Schröder looked like someone who had established himself as the Lakers’ point guard for years to come. But a poorly-timed stint in health and safety protocols, and an even worse-timed shooting slump in the playoffs has left the Lakers second-guessing about his future heading into free agency.
Through the opening 63 games of the season, Schröder’s only absence from the court came when he found himself in health and safety protocols the first time around the All-Star break, causing him to miss four games. Outside of that, he was one of the few consistent faces on the floor each night for a Lakers team that shuffled through lineups throughout the year.
Then came an ending to the season that saw him spend nearly two more weeks in health and safety protocols and then shoot just 40% in the playoffs from the field and 30.8% from 3-point range as the Lakers bowed out in six games in the first round. The end result has left the Lakers not only reconsidering their original extension offers, but reportedly leaning towards not wanting him back at all next season.
On Chad Ford’s NBA Big Board podcast, veteran NBA insider Marc Stein — formerly of the New York Times and ESPN, now with Substack — revealed that the Lakers appear set to move on from Schröder this offseason in lieu of giving him the hefty contract he desires:
“The easiest thing would be re-signing Dennis Schröder, but Dennis Schröder wants crazy money. Dennis Schröder thinks he’s a $100 million player. He’s already turned down an extension in the $80 millions, and the vibe from the Lakers really is, I think they’d rather move on from Schröder. I don’t think they see Schröder as a starter. I think they like him as a Sixth Man, but they want something more out of their main backcourt guy.”
Anyone reading between the lines in recent days and weeks would have drawn similar conclusions, as the Lakers have been linked to basically every free agent point guard on the market. At some point over the last two weeks, the Lakers have been reported to have various levels of interest in Lonzo Ball, Chris Paul and Kyle Lowry and playmakers like Spencer Dinwiddie and DeMar DeRozan. The only rumors about Schröder have been concerning who the Lakers could sign-and-trade him for, not about keeping him.
And while Schröder’s play was impressive at times this season, his inconsistency hurt the Lakers on nights as well, particularly in the playoffs. After shooting 19-34 from the field and 4-10 from the 3-point line in the first three games, he closed the series by shooting 9-36 overall and 4-16 from the arc. With those latter performances coming in games that ended the team’s season, Schroder was always going to have a finger pointed at him.
Even setting aside Schroder’s play, a $100 million contract would be a hefty investment into any player. That figure is also substantially more than what Schroder already turned down in extension talks this season as well.
It all adds up to a player valuing himself more than the team does, which could very well lead to an exit. Mix in a frustrating conclusion to the season and plenty of rumors of the Lakers eyeing other point guards, and it seems like Schroder could be a one-and-done in purple in gold. If that’s indeed where things are heading, we just have to wait and see if the Lakers can get anything back for him in a sign-and-trade.