Oh, how things can change in a year.
Veteran point guard Dennis Schröder is signing a one-year, $2.64 million deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, returning him to the same team that unceremoniously let him go last summer, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.
Schroder is coming off a season split between the Boston Celtics and Houston Rockets, in which he averaged 13.5 points and 4.6 assists per game while shooting 43.1% from the field (34.4% from deep). Before that, well, he was playing for the Lakers.
Dennis Schröder’s first stint with the Lakers was a disaster
Schröder first joined the Lakers in Nov. 2020, with high expectations for the then-defending champions. The German basically replaced Danny Green, a frequent target of Lakers fans’ ire, in the starting lineup after a career season with the Oklahoma City Thunder, in which he was runner-up for NBA Sixth Man of the Year honors.
There was enough hype around Schröder that the Lakers reportedly offered him a four-year, $80 million extension, which he rejected in favor of entering free agency the next season. Unfortunately for Schröder, he ended up becoming one of the faces of the Lakers’ struggles that season, to the point that franchise legend Magic Johnson was publicly calling out his competitiveness.
Schröder eventually hit free agency with significantly decreased value and signed a one-year, $5.9 million with the Celtics, much less than what the Lakers offered. Meanwhile, the Lakers decided to replace him with Russell Westbrook, whose own struggles in Los Angeles are well known at this point (almost like there’s a pattern here).
Schröder’s numbers didn’t change significantly with the Celtics and Rockets, who traded for him in midseason, though he did very well for himself at FIBA’s EuroBasket this month. Playing for Germany, the 29-year-old averaged 21.6 points and 7.3 assists per game, culminating with 30 points in an elimination loss to Spain on Friday.
The Lakers bringing back Schröder probably says more about the team than the player.
What does Dennis Schroder signing mean for Russell Westbrook?
As bad as Schröder’s time with the Lakers was, it has nothing on the abject disaster that was Westbrook’s first season with the Lakers.
What’s more, Westbrook is still under contract for $47 million for the Lakers next season, which is basically the only reason the team hasn’t traded him at this point. Finding a taker for Westbrook’s contract has undoubtedly been hard, but the Lakers’ addition of Schröder and other recent moves might indicate the team is finally making some progress.
The Lakers traded for Patrick Beverley, another veteran guard, last month, and the team’s backcourt is starting to look quite crowded. In addition to Westbrook, Schröder and Beverley, the team also has Lonnie Walker IV, Kendrick Nunn and Austin Reaves on board, not to mention the fact that LeBron James might be their best option at point guard anyway.
With all those players ready to take Westbrook’s minutes plus a reported assurance for James that the team is willing to trade its 2027 and 2029 first-round picks, the writing could be on the wall for the former MVP.