Dennis Schröder’s market this offseason will go a long way in determining much of the Lakers’ plans themselves. With reports indicating the franchise is not necessarily eager to run it back with Schröder, the teams that will be interested in him could open up sign-and-trade options.
One of the few teams that could throw a wrench in those plans is the Chicago Bulls. As one of the few teams with cap space available to outright sign Schröder to a contract and with a need at the point guard position, the Bulls are one of the most realistic non-Lakers options for Schröder.
But aside from roster needs and financial flexibility, perhaps the biggest advantage the Bulls will have is on the sideline. Brian Windhorst of ESPN recently reported that former Thunder and current Bulls coach Billy Donovan could be interested in a reunion with Schröder, a fellow former Thunder.
Beyond those veterans, there’s a deep list of guards who are seeking big paydays. Dennis Schroder turned down a four-year, $84 million extension from the Lakers this winter and is an unrestricted free agent. And he could have options. Bulls coach Billy Donovan had success with Schroder in Oklahoma City and is believed to be interested in a possible reunion.
Schröder spent two seasons in Oklahoma City under Donovan, experiencing arguably the best season of his career in the latter of those seasons. In 2019-20, Schröder averaged 18.9 points — the second-most in his career — on 46.9% shooting from the field and 38.5% shooting from the 3-point line, both the highest marks of his career.
With Schröder alongside Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, the Thunder were one of the surprise teams of the league, making the playoffs with a roster most expected would lead to a lottery pick.
Like Schröder, Donovan left Oklahoma City last offseason, immediately landing in Chicago with the Bulls. Despite making a trade for Nikola Vucevic, the Bulls did not make the playoffs. With a hole at point guard and non-guaranteed contracts that could clear over $20 million in cap space, Chicago could create enough room to offer a salary in the range of what Schröder could be looking for.
Lauri Markkanen, a restricted free agent, could be a potential target in a double sign-and-trade for the Lakers, but the Finnish forward has never matched his rookie form due to injuries and inconsistencies and likely would not entice Los Angeles.
Schröder’s salary alone could be one of the most important pieces the Lakers have if they are eyeing a trade for a big name, which makes Chicago’s potential pursuit of him particularly interesting for the Lakers offseason plans.