After failing to sign Dennis Schröder to a contract extension during the 2020/21 season, the Lakers will get another chance to sign the veteran to a new deal in free agency this summer. However, it sounds like the team is considering contingency plans to address the point guard spot.
According to Marc J. Spears of The Undefeated, the Lakers “have been on the hunt” for a veteran point guard. Chris Paul of the Suns and Russell Westbrook of the Wizards are among the players on Los Angeles’ list as possible targets, says Spears.
While those names will raise some eyebrows, they come with several caveats. For one, the capped-out Lakers don’t have a clear path to acquiring an impact player in free agency — if Paul turns down his player option with Phoenix, L.A. wouldn’t be able to sign him outright unless he were willing to take a massive discount.
A sign-and-trade is a possibility for CP3. And if he were to pick up his option, he could be acquired via a standard trade. But the Lakers surrendered multiple future draft picks in the Anthony Davis blockbuster and aren’t in position to put together an especially tantalizing trade package for a star. It seems unlikely that Phoenix would want to send Paul to the division-rival Lakers unless the return was significant.
Westbrook is under contract for two more seasons, so he’d also require a trade and there has been no indication so far that the Wizards are looking to move him.
Spears suggests that “there have been talks” about the Lakers acquiring Westbrook in a deal that includes Schröder, Talen Horton-Tucker, and Kyle Kuzma. However, it’s unclear which parties have been involved in those “talks” — the wording could indicate internal Lakers conversations or even just speculation amongst league sources. Schröder and Horton-Tucker would both have to agree to be signed-and-traded to D.C. in such a move, further complicating matters.
Paul and Westbrook both have strong ties to Los Angeles – Paul and his family live in the L.A. area, while Westbrook was born and raised in Southern California – but a number of obstacles would have to be overcome for either player to end up with the Lakers this offseason . Still, the fact that the Lakers are considering such options suggests that the team is willing to get creative and isn’t resigned to simply meeting Schröder’s asking price in order to address the point guard position.