The Los Angeles Lakers turned to a familiar face to boost their backcourt depth ahead of the start of training camp.
Dennis Schröder signed with the team on Friday.
Per Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium, it's a one-year, $2.64 million deal for the veteran guard.
Schröder was one of the last notable players still waiting to find a home in free agency. He becomes the second acquisition for the Lakers' backcourt in the past month. They added Patrick Beverley in a trade with the Utah Jazz on Aug. 25.
Lakers Betting on New-and-Improved Schröder
The last time Schröder played for the Lakers was during the 2020-21 season. He was acquired in an offseason trade for Danny Green and Jaden McDaniels.
Their marriage only lasted one season, with the Lakers deciding to move on after Schröder reportedly turned down a four-year extension worth around $80 million.
Schröder's decision to bet on himself backfired. He signed a one-year deal for the taxpayer midlevel with the Boston Celtics in August 2021. Things didn't work out, and Boston traded him to the Houston Rockets midway through the season.
The Celtics wound up catching fire down the stretch, reaching the NBA Finals. Schröder had another extended free agency before winding up back with the Lakers.
Dan Woike of the Los Angeles Times did note the Lakers have heard praise of Schröder's attitude:
The willingness to play more of a complimentary role will likely be key for Schröder. He doesn't figure to see a lot of time in the starting or closing lineups for the Lakers.
But if Schröder can make a positive impact on the franchise and they are able to contend for a playoff spot, it will likely increase his value for a contract next offseason.
Russ Trade Watch Continues
All eyes were on Russell Westbrook after the Lakers added Beverley because of the longstanding rivalry between the two players.
Both men seemed like they put those issues behind them earlier this month during Beverley's introductory press conference.
"Super excited," Beverley told reporters when asked about the fit with Westbrook. "... I was asked this question two, three years ago, [about] someone I always wanted to play with and [Westbrook] was the first name. I have [known] Bron since I was a baby, a rookie in this league, so obviously I want to play with him."
It seems less likely there will be any movement on a Westbrook trade before the start of the season.
The Athletic's Sam Amick and Jovan Buha reported on Friday there are "strong indications" Westbrook won't be traded anytime soon in part because they don't want to take on long-term money and/or part with future draft picks that would limit what they can do in the future.
New head coach Darvin Ham has been very supportive of Westbrook being a positive contributor to the Lakers in 2022-23.
"I love Russell Westbrook, man. Just his mentality, his approach," Ham told Andscape's Marc J. Spears in July. "Just to see him, a guy of that magnitude and everything he's done in the league to get hated on. But being me, I got a wholehearted plan, a clear plan on how I'm going to use him."
The additions of Schröder and Beverley do give the Lakers multiple options at point guard if they want to trade Westbrook. But it's difficult to find a team willing to add Westbrook's $47.1 million salary this season without also receiving a significant asset—say, a 2027 or 2029 first-round draft pick—in return.
Darvin Ham Will Need to Hit the Ground Running
It's hard to say any head coach with LeBron James and Anthony Davis is in a bad spot, but Ham is going to have his work cut out for him in a high-pressure situation. He is also in a place now where the Lakers have a backcourt with Westbrook, Schröder, Beverley, Austin Reaves and Lonnie Walker IV.
Mark Medina @MarkG_Medina
Mark Bartelstein, Dennis Schröder's agent, said he wanted to rectify how last stint w/ Lakers ended and had strong relationship w/ Darvin Ham in Atlanta. But what about the Lakers' crowded backcourt? Bartelstein said the Lakers relayed "there will a lot of minutes for everybody."
Assuming a Westbrook trade doesn't happen before the season, Lakers management has tasked the first-time head coach with figuring out a situation that keeps the strong-willed former MVP happy and does what's in the best interest of the team.
According to Buha, the Lakers will give Ham "more power" to bench Westbrook at the end of games as he sees fit.
Previous head coach Frank Vogel attempted to sit Westbrook in the closing stretch of games last season, but the nine-time All-Star publicly voiced his displeasure in a passive-aggressive manner.
Westbrook blamed back issues he was having in the middle of the 2021-22 season for how much time he was sitting on the bench.
Schröder has been criticized in the past for his attitude and commitment to winning games. If history is any indication, James hasn't always been the easiest player to coach. Davis has been one of the league's best players for most of his career, but injuries have limited him to 76 regular-season games over the past two seasons.
Very little about the Lakers roster as it is presently constructed makes sense. Ham's job will be to figure out if there is a way to make the puzzle pieces fit in such a way that they can at least compete for a playoff spot.