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Lakers Rumors: Dennis Schroder, Kyle Kuzma 'Feuded' Throughout 2020-21 Season

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured Columnist IVJuly 23, 2021

Adam Pantozzi/NBAE via Getty Images

Los Angeles Lakers role players Dennis Schroder and Kyle Kuzma reportedly "feuded throughout the season, with things going further south throughout the Lakers' first-round series loss to Phoenix," according to Jordan Schultz of ESPN. 

It's possible the two won't be teammates next season, with Schroder set to hit unrestricted free agency and Kuzma one of the team's only viable trade chips if it looks to upgrade the roster. 

Schroder, 27, didn't prove to be a natural fit alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis in his lone season with the team, averaging 15.4 points and 5.8 assists while shooting 43.7 percent from the field and a disappointing 33.5 percent from three. 

The Lakers already reportedly discussed trading Schroder ahead of the trade deadline during the season for Kyle Lowry, B/R's Jake Fischer reported on July 14, though those talks never panned out. 

Schroder reportedly is ready for a new opportunity as well, with Fischer writing that the veteran point guard "appears to be looking for a greater role and a bigger payday, neither of which the Lakers seem willing to provide."

It seems far more likely that the Lakers will move off Schroder in a potential sign-and-trade deal than re-signing him this summer, with Fischer noting that "league sources expect Chicago and New York to emerge as Schroder suitors, and both could be conducted via sign-and-trade—although Knicks certainly have the cap space to sign him outright."

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Kuzma, 25, has likewise never been a seamless fit with Davis and James, as his natural position at the 4 conflicts with AD's desire to play power forward. Were Kuzma a better catch-and-shoot option on the perimeter—his 36.1 percent shooting from three in the 2020-21 season was a career high—he might be a more natural role player behind Davis and James. 

He's clearly ready for a bigger role.

"My biggest thing is I just want to play within a consistent role," he told B/R's Tyler Conway. "If I have that ability, I'll be able to showcase what I can really do. There were parts of this year—and even anywhere else in my career—when I'm in a consistent space, I'm out there handling the ball, making teammates better, scoring, shooting, defending, rebounding. I think if I'm in that space, I'll be good."

It's certainly possible he'll return next season. He's a solid role player, and one who has shown he can contribute to a championship team. But if the Lakers are going to improve this roster, it will likely come via trade, and Kuzma is one of the only legitimate trade chips the Lakers possess. 

So the odds of Schroder and Kuzma being teammates next season seem low. Frankly, both are excellent candidates to find themselves in new cities before the 2021-22 campaign. 

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