The Los Angeles Lakers face a critical offseason with several key players set to hit the free-agent market including Dennis Schroder, Talen Horton-Tucker, Andre Drummond and Alex Caruso. During a recent episode of The Woj Pod, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski explained why the Lakers are in a difficult position with Schroder.
Even if the Lakers let Schroder walk in free agency, the team will not have the cap space to be able to replace him with a similar player but can exceed the cap to re-sign the point guard since they have his Bird Rights.
“You’re going to pay Dennis Schroder, if you want to keep him, you’re probably going to pay him anywhere from $22 to $24 million a year,” Wojnarowski explained. “That’s how it’s going to be. That’s what you signed up for here. Like I said, they can’t replace him [with] a player of his [caliber]. So, they’re going to have to pay him, and there’s going to be interest in him in free agency. Teams that are looking at point guards, whether it’s Chicago, New York. Pretty good point guard class out there in free agency. Some interesting players and some teams with some needs.”
Schroder Believes He Can Get More Than the Lakers’ 4-Year, $84 Million Offer
Wojnarowski believes Schroder turned down the Lakers’ four year, $84 million extension offer because the point guard “knows he can get better” from teams this offseason. This will be put to the test with Schroder’s recent postseason struggles.
“That’s going to be a tough one for them,” Wojnarowski added. “They knew it when Schroder turned down the four years for $84 million that he could have done during the season. Tells you he knows he can get better, get more somewhere else. Lakers will be able to pay him more in the offseason, and he’ll be offered more than that by teams with cap space.”
A Good Portion of the Lakers’ Salary Cap Is Tied to 4 Players
Former NBA general manager Bobby Marks also offered his thoughts about the Lakers’ offseason on The Woj Pod. As Marks points out, the majority of the Lakers’ cap space is tied to four players making it more than challenging to significantly upgrade the roster this offseason.
“Well and here’s a team that’s got eight free agents, too,” Marks detailed. “That’s the big thing is that you basically have committed over $100 million to four players with LeBron, A.D., Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma. And now you have a decision to make on Dennis Schroder, Alex Caruso, Talen Horton-Tucker, all your role players going from Andre Drummond to Markieff Morris, that group here. It’s not like you can say, you know what, we don’t want ’em. It’s not like you can go out and say, you know what, Dennis Schroder you scored zero points in Game 5, you’re not good enough anymore. We’re going to go out and find a suitable replacement, doesn’t work that way.”
Yet, for the Lakers to even keep their roster intact they are likely looking at a steep luxury tax bill next season. ESPN’s Brian Windhorst reported in March 2021 that it could cost the Lakers more than $100 million in luxury tax money just to keep their core intact. This bill becomes even more concerning if the Lakers fail to advance past the first round with its current roster.