Even by the Lakers’ standards of bringing back former players, the timing of the team signing Dennis Schröder late this offseason felt odd. The deal wasn’t reached until the middle of September, only a few weeks before the start of training camp and to a roster that didn’t particularly have a need at point guard.
The reason it all may have felt a bit rushed is that it was not the plan the Lakers reportedly had in place originally. According to a recent article from Dave McMenamin of ESPN, the Lakers had eyes on signing Schröder, but only after completing a trade of Russell Westbrook.
The Lakers originally planned to have found a trade partner for Westbrook before signing Schroder, sources said. But after the point guard’s strong showing for Germany in the FIBA EuroBasket tournament generated interest around the league, L.A. signed him before another team could.
Schröder did have a particularly great run in EuroBasket that would have absolutely gotten him signed by an NBA team prior to training camp. Longtime NBA insider Marc Stein reported that the Mavericks were scouting the German point guard during the tournament. The Lakers had clearly laid the groundwork for a potential deal with Schröder and then had to expedite their timeline.
But this report does offer some rationale behind a deal that felt odd at the time. Although it’s still a bit weird the team hasn’t dealt Westbrook, especially around the time of the Schröder signing when it felt inevitable, the likelihood still remains that Westbrook does not finish this season in purple and gold.
In that sense, Schröder would be a great player to have to fill that void. Unfortunately, he’s hardly had the best start to his second stint in Los Angeles with an injury that will sideline him for the first month of the season.
Perhaps by then, he’ll rejoin a Lakers team that won’t have Westbrook and his role will be a bit more clear because, for now, he’s part of a crowded backcourt with lots of overlap. But considering how well he played this summer and his overall play last time in Los Angeles, it could still be a gamble that pays off for the Lakers down the road.
Even if it seems it clearly wasn’t Plan A.