Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Dennis Schroder, Russell Westbrook Trade and More

Kristopher Knox@@kris_knoxFeatured ColumnistAugust 11, 2021

Lakers Rumors: Latest Buzz on Dennis Schroder, Russell Westbrook Trade and More

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    Ashley Landis/Associated Press

    The Los Angeles Lakers haven't been shy about retooling their roster this offseason. After falling in the opening round of the postseason, it became clear that the team's depth and supporting cast around LeBron James and Anthony Davis weren't enough, so the team moved quickly to make changes.

    The first move was to set up a trade to acquire Washington Wizards point guard Russell Westbrook. That agreement was put in place on draft day, and over the next week, Los Angeles also set up deals with the likes of Carmelo Anthony, Kendrick Nunn, Dwight Howard and Wayne Ellington.

    James and Davis will remain the centerpieces of the roster, but the team is going to look a lot different than it did a year ago.

    What's interesting is that L.A. may have gone in a few other directions had things unfolded differently before the Westbrook trade. He was not the team's only trade target and may not have even been considered if point guard Dennis Schroder hadn't turned down the Lakers' extension offer during the regular season.

    Now that Schroder has reportedly agreed to join the Boston Celtics, let's dig into the latest buzz surrounding his situation, the Westbrook trade and more.

Schroder in 'State of Shock' over Free Agency Fallout

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    Ross D. Franklin/Associated Press

    Schroder is joining the Celtics on a one-year, $5.9 million deal, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. That's a far cry from the four-year, $84 million offer that he turned down from Los Angeles during the season.

    Clearly, Schroder overestimated his free-agency market, as teams did not move quickly to sign him. According to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald, the disparity between L.A.'s offer and Schroder's free-agent prospects took him by surprise.

    "He needs time—I think he's in a state of shock because of what he's done," the source said of Schroder turning down a four-year, $84 million offer last season from the Lakers, who responded by trading for Russell Westbrook."

    While it's unclear whether Schroder believed he would get more on the open market than what L.A. offered or if he simply wanted to weigh his options, it is apparent that his decision was a financial disaster.

    Schroder is now looking at a payday roughly $78 million less than he would have gotten from the Lakers. The good news for him is that Boston's short-term deal will allow him to test the market again next offseason.

LeBron Made a Push for Westbrook

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    Kyusung Gong/Associated Press

    Had the Lakers kept Schroder, they may have gone after Sacramento Kings shooter Buddy Hield instead of Westbrook. Even with Schroder entering free agency, Los Angeles was remarkably close to landing Hield in a trade.

    "A deal to send Hield to the Lakers for [Montrezl] Harrell and [Kyle] Kuzma seemed all but certain, until it wasn't," The Athletic's Jason Jones wrote. " ... League sources said all the players involved in the much-discussed Lakers-Kings deal expected that trade to happen."

    James, though, reportedly made it clear that he preferred Westbrook over Hield.

    "My reporting (is) that certainly LeBron James was in favor of this Russ move over the Buddy Hield move," Dave McMenamin told The Lowe Post podcast (h/t Jacob Rude of Silver Screen and Roll).

    While Westbrook doesn't provide the outside shooting acumen that Hield would have, he provides the Lakers with legitimate superstar potential at the point-guard position. In a way, Los Angeles may now be glad that Schroder turned down its offer.

Lakers Had Interest in Lou Williams

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    John Bazemore/Associated Press

    The Lakers were also interested in guard Lou Williams. Signing him would have returned Williams to Los Angeles mere months after he was traded away—the Los Angeles Clippers dealt Williams to the Atlanta Hawks in March.

    Williams instead re-signed with Atlanta, though he had several other suitors, including the Lakers.

    "Williams had significant interest from several contenders, including the Los Angeles Lakers, Golden State Warriors, and Milwaukee Bucks, league sources told HoopsHype," Michael Scotto wrote.

    Signing Williams would have also meant a Lakers return, as he played for the franchise from 2015-2017. He likely would have been a valuable addition after averaging 11.3 points, 3.4 assists and 2.1 rebounds this past season.

    At the end of his Lakers tenure, Williams was dealt to the Houston Rockets for Corey Brewer and a 2017 first-round pick.