Lakers Face Competition as Key Free Agent Linked to Knicks: Report

Lakers Rumors

Getty The Lakers were willing to let Alex Caruso walk in free agency.

The Los Angeles Lakers are headed for a battle this offseason as Dennis Schroder is expected to be a highly-coveted free agent. According to SNY.TV’s Ian Begley, the Knicks plan to use some of their projected $50 million in cap space to pursue Schroder this summer.

“The Knicks face the Pelicans in New Orleans on Wednesday. So you will probably hear and read plenty about the future of Pelicans point guard Lonzo Ball, a potential Knicks target in free agency,” Begley detailed. “But another lead guard on the Knicks’ schedule this week bears watching: Dennis Schroder. Schroder is among the players on New York’s radar as the club looks ahead to free agency, SNY has learned.”

The Knicks have identified the point guard position as a key area of focus this offseason with Schroder being a prime target. Not only can the Knicks offer Schroder a lucrative long-term deal, but New York would make the playoffs if the postseason started today. After spending years at the bottom of the NBA standings, the Knicks appear to be on an upward trajectory.

“Elite, consistent point guard play is one of the biggest pieces missing from the roster,” Begley added. “Maybe the Knicks fill that void this offseason. Will it be Schroder? Plenty can change between now and early August. But the seven-year veteran is one of the players under consideration at the moment.”

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Schroder Reportedly Turned Down the Maximum the Lakers Could Offer

The Lakers tried unsuccessfully to sign Schroder to a long-term contract extension, and the guard appears intent on testing the free-agent waters. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported Schroder turned down a four-year, $84 million deal from the Lakers which is the max the team can offer until free agency begins.

“So, what I have been told and this rumor is pretty widely out there so I doubt this is very surprising, is that the Lakers did indeed offer him that $84 million over four years,” Windhorst detailed on a recent episode of The Hoop Collective podcast. “Now, this is where we get into [a] grey area. Was it fully guaranteed? Was it partially guaranteed? Were there incentives blah blah blah? I don’t know, but I believe he was offered a contract in that realm, and he said no to it. He said no to that extension, and subsequently, the Lakers offered him in a trade for Kyle Lowry.”

Schroder is not the only key Lakers player set to hit free agency. Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker will also join Schroder on the free-agent market.

Lakers Appear ‘Uncertain’ About Schroder’s Fit, Says Insider

As Windhorst mentioned, Schroder’s uncertain future prompted the Lakers to consider trading the point guard for Kyle Lowry. In the end, the team’s reluctance to trade Talen Horton-Tucker is likely the reason Schroder is still with the Lakers instead of Lowry. The New York Times’ Marc Stein believes the Lakers are unsure about Schroder moving forward.

“The roster moves that looked so good in November, winning raves for the Lakers’ front office, haven’t panned out,” Stein noted. “Dennis Schröder and Montrezl Harrell have not proved capable of pinch-carrying the Lakers during the regular season when James and Davis are unavailable. I believed, as resolutely as the Lakers, that they would be, but Schröder and Harrell tend to be more concerned with their own scoring than anything else. When the Lakers explored the trade market for both last month, it seemed to confirm their own uncertainty about the fit.”

Despite the rumors, Schroder has become a favorite of Lakers head coach Frank Vogel who recently praised the team’s starting point guard for his “swag.” There is a difference between Vogel loving Schroder’s game, and the Lakers being willing to give Schroder a $100 million deal. The Knicks have emerged as one suitor for Schroder, but the Lakers are sure to have even more competition once free agency begins.

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