The Los Angeles Lakers made some big additions to their roster through free agency on Friday and LeBron James couldn’t be more excited.
— ESPN (@espn) November 21, 2020
James is obviously excited to see his supporting cast get bulked up with some key pieces. Schroder was the first to land in purple and gold, coming over via trade. Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was able to talk about the deal on Thursday.
“Dennis is a player that other teams hate to play against but his teammates love to play with because he has that kind of nasty tenacity, grit, and that’s really at the center of how we play and we win. And so he really folds in perfectly to that,” Pelinka told reporters.
So far from Pelinka & Front Office…
-Schroder (19pts & 4ast)…Clear upgrade and needed playmaker
-Montrezl (18.6pts & 7rebs)..6th man of year, energy guy & key loss for Clippers
-Wes Matthews…Perfect player to replace Green at fraction of cost
Lakers in good shape… https://t.co/ZVoEq67Xqu
— Allen Sliwa (@AllenSliwa) November 21, 2020
Schroder averaged 18.9 points, 4.0 assists and 3.6 rebounds in 65 games for Oklahoma City last season. Additionally, he led the league in points scored off the bench and finished second in NBA Sixth Man Award voting, while shooting career highs in field goal percentage (.469) and three-point percentage (.385).
Schroder owns career averages of 14.1 points, 4.6 assists and 2.8 rebounds in seven seasons with Atlanta and Oklahoma City.
Montrezl Harrell Stays Put in LA, But With Lakers
One of the most surprising moves of free agency on Friday was Harrell signing with the Lakers and jumping ship from the Clippers, where he had played the last three seasons.
Harrell is the reigning Sixth Man of the Year in the NBA — Schroder was second — averaging career-highs of 18.6 points and 7.1 rebounds last season. The Lakers saw Dwight Howard move on to Philadelphia, so bringing in Harrell to hold down the center spot for at least a chunk of his minutes was key. The Lakers deal with Harrell is for two years
Free agent Montrezl Harrell has agreed to a two-year deal with the Los Angeles Lakers, agent Rich Paul of @KlutchSports tells ESPN.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 21, 2020
The move caught the Clippers off guard, including his former teammate Patrick Beverley.
— Patrick Beverley (@patbev21) November 21, 2020
Lakers Add Wes Matthews, Don’t Get Complacent
The Lakers also added veteran wing Wes Matthews, snatching him from the Bucks to replace Danny Green’s contributions. And he comes at a discount, signing for $3.6 million bi-annual exception — a far cry from the $15 million Green was owed.
Being the defending champs, Pelinka acknowledged that it’d be easy to get complacent. But the Lakers were determined to get better this offseason, which they have done in spades.
“I think it’s easy to fall into complacency when you win a title and to just say, ‘Hey, let’s just run it back,’” Pelinka told reporters. “But at the same time, I think my school of thinking is always, let’s find ways we can become even better, every offseason let’s get better. I think we never want to just settle.”
The Lakers are trying to take advantage of the championship window for the 35-year-old James, but feel like the moves are setting them up for the future as well.
“I do think keeping our ability to add great young players to our core for the future is something that makes a lot of sense because we don’t just look at this at all as a one- or two-year window,” Pelinka said. “We want to stay competitive for the long term and make decisions that allow us to do just that and not just shoot all of our bullets to try and defend for one year. We want to be in a position of being a sustainable contender.”