Dennis Schroder signs one-year contract with the Lakers

The Lakers are reuniting with another former member of the team, this time point guard Dennis Schroder on Friday. Schroder’s one-year deal with the team is for the veteran’s minimum, a person with knowledge of the deal who is not authorized to speak publicly told The Times.

Schroder, 28, turned down a lucrative contract extension with the Lakers in the 2020-21 season before leaving the organization on a free hand the following summer. Of course, during the same period, the Lakers traded for Russell Westbrook. After stints in Boston and Houston, he is now back with the Lakers.

“The past year hasn’t felt right,” Schroder wrote in an Instagram post. “I felt misunderstood and nobody really knew the story! I’m coming back to the biggest organization to (expletively) get it right!”

The Lakers acquired Schroder for Danny Green and a first-round pick in 2020 and held serious talks over a contract extension before Schroder turned down a deal worth more than $80 million. He signed a one-year contract with Boston for $5.9 million before being traded to Houston.

He left the Lakers as the team’s starting point guard, only to return to a very different situation.

Despite a crowded backcourt that now includes Westbrook, Patrick Beverley, Kendrick Nunn, Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV, Schroder offers the Lakers a more natural playmaker that the group doesn’t really have except for Westbrook. And while Westbrook deals are still being discussed, people with knowledge of the situation who are not authorized to speak publicly told the Times that Schroder’s signing does not necessarily herald a further move.

The Utah Jazz, which plays a significant role in near-term deals, seems like the most logical place for the team to look for a trade, though the Lakers remain reluctant to sacrifice significant draft capital for minor improvements while staying at as high a cap as possible to hold onto space as possible next summer.

Sources familiar with the decision to add Schroder said his hiring this summer when he played for the Germany national team at the European Championships, where he averaged more than 21 points and seven assists, made the Lakers comfortable to bring him back into the organization. Multiple sources cited the success Dwight Howard had with the 2019-20 Championship team as an example of a player’s successful return to the organization with a new approach that they hope can be mirrored with Schroder.

Schroder has a previous relationship with Darvin Ham, who was an assistant with the Atlanta Hawks when Schroder began his NBA career. He also played alongside Westbrook in Oklahoma City.

While the organization’s desire to make a big move this summer to try and maximize their chances when LeBron James enters his 20th season is strong in their fan base, the team has been more conservative in handling the offseason than many had expected. Aside from briefly exploring an attempt to land Kyrie Irving — a possibility that has dried up for now with Kevin Durant’s reconciliation with the Nets organization — the Lakers have held firm to first-round picks in 2027 and 2029, the two primary means by which they’ve got to improve the squad.

Sources said the Lakers are hoping to use Beverley as a defender against high-profile wings while using a player like Schroder to hunt down moving point guards like Ja Morant and Stephen Curry. However, the team will undoubtedly need to use small lineups as they are currently set up.

Despite the impression that the team had to deal with Westbrook this offseason, the Lakers have done their best to provide some level of comfort by keeping him with the organization for a second season. With Westbrook owing more than $47 million that season and coming off a season in which he and the Lakers struggled, interest in the trade for the former MVP was very limited, with teams demanding additional draft picks in compensation picks

The addition of Schroder, one of the most talented remaining free agents, gives the Lakers an extra layer of security whether the team trades Westbrook or is forced to confront the very real health issues that exist with Beverley and Nunn, who has been missing out lately have season with a knee injury. And if the team is able to pull off a Westbrook trade, they don’t necessarily need to add playmaking due to Schroder’s presence on the squad.

The team will gather for a player-organized mini-camp in San Diego next week before training camp opens in the last week of September.

https://www.latimes.com/sports/lakers/story/2022-09-16/dennis-schroder-signs-contract-lakers-nba Dennis Schroder signs one-year contract with the Lakers

Emma Bowman

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