Tuesday, September 27, 2022

Dennis Schroder breaks silence on Lakers’ return after humiliating year

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He’s back, and this time, he says, he’s on a mission.

Former Lakers guard Dennis Schroder became current Lakers guard Dennis Schroder on Friday, agreeing to an NBA contract to return to the team after spending a downright turbulent 2020-21 season in purple and gold. An even more tumultuous split of the 2021-22 season between Boston and Houston followed, which seemingly left him out of a job — he was among the top two or three biggest free-agent names still around here as of mid-September.

Schroder was handed a one-year deal worth at least $2.6 million, according to The Athletic’s Shams Charania.

The news came after Schroder and the Germany national team were eliminated from the 2022 EuroBasket competition with a semi-final defeat by Spain. Despite the pain of that loss, Schroder took a moment to break his silence on his new deal with LA

He posted on Instagram: “The past year hasn’t felt right. I felt misunderstood and nobody knew the story! I’m coming back to the biggest organization to get shit right! I hope LakerNation will support me every day! I will give everything I have every day!”

Even a casual Lakers fan — or NBA fan — knows the saga Schroder referenced in his post, one that began when he made the 2020 offseason after the team’s championship run in the league’s Orlando bubble Lakers was traded. The Lakers made Schroder a $33 million offer for a two-year extension before the season, but he turned it down.

The Lakers offered Schroder $84 million over four years later in the season, which he declined, and while some reports saw him seeking a more than $100 million four-year contract, he later said he turned down the deal because he was not “comfortable” with his situation in Los Angeles.

But the Lakers and Schroder flared up late in the season and in the playoffs, and Schroder’s value plummeted despite decent numbers (15.4 points, 5.8 assists) in the regular season. Unable to find a lucrative contract, he signed a one-year, $5.9 million deal with Boston that eventually saw him join the humble Houston Rockets.

As a result, Schröder’s value plummeted even further and he was unable to find a job for most of that summer. Its value only recovered last month as Schroder proved to be one of the top stars of the EuroBasket tournament, leading Germany (which is expected to finish in the No. 9-10 bracket) to a possible top-three result. Schroder carried a considerable burden, averaging 21.6 points (sixth in the tournament) and 7.3 assists (fourth in the tournament).

The addition of Schroder to the roster gives the Lakers what can only be described as an odd mix of players, especially in the backcourt. Russell Westbrook, who filled in for Schroder as the Lakers’ top outcast last season, is still on the job and new coach Darvin Ham has promised to use him differently. Westbrook’s one-time nemesis Patrick Beverley is also on the depth chart.

Adding Schroder to the group of point guards gives the Lakers three strong and sometimes chafing personalities at the position.

That has led to some speculation that Westbrook could be on his way out soon. He’s been at the top of the trade rumor charts all summer and while anyone from Westbrook, Beverley and Schroder can play off guard, Schroder’s signing could very well portend an impending move at Westbrook as well.

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