Dennis Schröder

Lakers Notes: Ham, Davis, LeBron, Westbrook, D. Jones

Last year’s disappointment for the Lakers began with an 0-6 preseason, and new coach Darvin Ham wants his team to be focused from the start, according to Jovan Buha of The Athletic. Anthony Davis agrees, citing the need to quickly build continuity after an offseason filled with change.

“I think our team got put together a little later than most teams,” Davis said. “New coach. New system. So we’re kind of behind the eight ball, and we’re trying to speed that process up by doing it the right way. Not by skipping steps. And we’ve been doing that. We’ve been having competitive practices, getting up and down. We’re locking in on our stations on offense and defense, and it’s been good.”

Although Ham wants to start winning right away, he hasn’t decided if Davis, LeBron James and Russell Westbrook will play against the Kings in Monday’s preseason opener.

“I mean, if possible, yeah,” Ham said when asked about their status. “We’re gonna sit down (Sunday) as a staff and talk about what the rotation is gonna look like on Monday. But definitely. Definitely.”

There’s more on the Lakers:

  • Free agent addition Damian Jones has only attempted 43 three-point shots in six NBA seasons, but Ham believes he can develop into a reliable long-range shooter, Buha states in the same piece. If Jones does pose an outside shooting threat, it would solve some of the spacing issues for L.A.’s potential starting lineup. “If I’m open and I’m in the corner and they pass it to me, I’m shooting it,” he said. “I’m comfortable shooting there. I’ve been getting a lot of reps in. Throughout the years, my percentages have been getting better as I’m shooting them. So, it’s good.”
  • Lonnie Walker, who has been dealing with an ankle issue, was a full participant in today’s practice, Buha adds. Troy Brown is expected to return to full contact in about a week, and newly signed Dennis Schröder will join the team in a few days.
  • Davis, James and Westbrook want to prove they can co-exist after playing just 21 games together last season, per Dave McMenamin of ESPN. Ham has installed a new approach to try to make their partnership work. “We have a three-man package, actually a play call, that they’re going thrive in and it involves all three of them,” he said. “I look forward to that being at a very, very high level. And there’s different nuances in it that they can play around with. … I trust all three of those guys.”

Lakers Notes: Westbrook, Beverley, Nunn, Brown, Walker, Schröder

New Lakers head coach Darvin Ham isn’t committing to having Russell Westbrook in his starting lineup to open the 2022/23 season, telling reporters on Monday that the team has a “variety of options to fill in our backcourt,” as Kyle Goon of The Southern California News Group tweets.

It might have made a bad situation in Los Angeles worse if Westbrook had been pulled from the team’s starting lineup last season, but the former MVP appears to be keeping an open mind as he prepares for the coming year. Prior to his Media Day session, Westbrook told ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski that it doesn’t matter whether or not he feels “wanted” by the Lakers and that he’s “all-in on whatever it takes for this team to win,” even if that means coming off the bench.

Westbrook – who told Wojnarowski that he thinks he, Anthony Davis, and LeBron James can be “unstoppable” – said to reporters on Monday that he has talked to Davis and James at length this summer about what worked and didn’t work last season, and has found those conversations “very beneficial” (Twitter link via Jovan Buha of The Athletic).

While there’s no guarantee that Westbrook – long considered a trade candidate – will spend the entire season in Los Angeles, Lakers head of basketball operations Rob Pelinka said today that the point guard is still one of the NBA’s great players, and expressed confidence that Ham will bring out “another level” in him this season (Twitter link via Goon).

Even Westbrook’s longtime nemesis Patrick Beverley had nothing but praise for his new teammate, suggesting that the rumored animus between the two guards has been overblown and telling Dave McMenamin of ESPN (Twitter link) that Westbrook has been his “best friend” on the team since he was traded to L.A. last month.

As we wait to see whether this season goes any smoother for Westbrook than his first season in Los Angeles did, here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Now that James has signed an extension with the team this offseason, the Lakers are willing to trade future draft assets to upgrade the roster, Pelinka confirmed today. However, Pelinka stressed that the team will only get one chance to trade those 2027 and 2029 first-round picks and said that any deal involving those draft assets must clearly improve the club’s title chances (Twitter links via ESPN’s Dave McMenamin).
  • Kendrick Nunn has been cleared for all contact work after missing the entire 2021/22 season with a knee injury, but new additions Troy Brown (back) and Lonnie Walker (ankle) are limited for the time being, Pelinka said today. Walker downplayed his ankle issue, telling reporters that he has been running, jumping, and cutting on it, and is pretty close to being fully healthy (Twitter links via Goon).
  • Dennis Schröder isn’t at training camp yet because he’s working through a visa issue, per Pelinka, but it shouldn’t be too long before he joins the team (Twitter link via Goon).
  • Neither Pelinka nor Ham is worried about the Lakers’ wing defense, tweets Buha. “We should be one of the elite defensive teams in the league,” Ham said. “… We have the personnel for it.”
  • In a full story for The Athletic, Buha poses 10 key questions facing the Lakers, starting with Westbrook’s role and future. Buha also considers the team’s starting lineup battles, where the shooting will come from, and what to realistically expect from LeBron in his 20th NBA season.

Pacific Notes: Crowder, Wall, Lakers, Kings

Suns forward Jae Crowder tweeted and deleted “99 won’t be there!” in reply to a Duane Rankin article about training camp questions, notes Gerald Bourguet of PHNX Sports (Twitter link). The Suns are rumored to be exploring the trade market for the veteran, with Crowder said to be interested in a return to the Heat, though that would be tricky, at least for now, due to salary-matching rules.

In 67 games (28.1 MPG) with the Suns last season, all starts, the 32-year-old averaged 9.4 PPG, 5.3 RPG, 1.9 APG and 1.4 SPG on .399/.348/.789 shooting. While his long-range shooting is inconsistent, Crowder remains a solid defender and smart passer on a reasonable $10.2MM expiring deal.

Here’s more from the Pacific:

  • Clippers guard John Wall recently opened up about his personal struggles the past few years in an article for The Players Tribune. Wall contemplated suicide after a series of traumatic events, including tearing his Achilles tendon, an infection from the subsequent surgeries that nearly caused his foot to be amputated, and losing his mother to breast cancer. Wall details how close he was to his mother, whom he calls his “best friend in the whole world.”
  • Every member of the Lakers‘ roster except for Dennis Schröder attended a players-led minicamp in San Diego on Friday, sources tell ESPN’s Dave McMenamin (Twitter links). Schröder was unable to attend due to logistical reasons — he’s still organizing a move back to L.A., per McMenamin. The veteran point guard has been quite busy recently. He signed a one-year deal to return to the Lakers last week and finished competing for Germany at EuroBasket last weekend.
  • James Ham of The Kings Beat breaks down the Kings‘ depth at center entering training camp. Domantas Sabonis and Richaun Holmes figure to see the majority of the minutes at the five, and new head coach Mike Brown might experiment with playing them together at times, Ham writes.

And-Ones: Rondo, Season Questions, EuroBasket

Veteran guard Rajon Rondo has agreed to a settlement with the woman who accused him and his girlfriend of assault and battery in 2020, according to TMZ.

As the report notes, Rondo was allegedly upset at the plaintiff for parking too close to his car. The altercation happened in a parking lot outside of an apartment complex. Rondo’s girlfriend was seen punching and causing injuries, while Rondo appeared to nudge the woman with his elbow.

The 36-year-old is currently a free agent. He played parts of 39 games with the Lakers and Cavaliers last season, averaging 4.8 points and 4.4 assists in 17.9 minutes per game on 39% shooting from the floor.

Here are some other odds and ends from around the basketball world:

Pacific Notes: Iguodala, Schröder, Westbrook, Sarver

The Warriors anticipate that longtime veteran leader Andre Iguodala will announce his return to the club, writes Marc Stein on Substack. Iguodala has previously suggested he will publicly reveal his decision during an upcoming episode of his podcast Point Forward, co-hosted by his former Sixers teammate Evan Turner.

Stein reports that Golden State expects Iguodala, who has won four titles with the team, will be back for his 19th NBA season in 2022/23 rather than opting to retire, but is prepared for either outcome. The Warriors top off their 2022 training camp earlier than most other teams, as they will be playing exhibition games abroad.

There’s more out of the Pacific Division:

  • Elsewhere in his latest Substack piece, Stein suggests that the Lakers consider Russell Westbrook and new addition Dennis Schröder to be their top two point guards. Sources inform Stein that the Lakers see the 6’1″ Patrick Beverley, who started as a point guard alongside shooting guard D’Angelo Russell last season with the Timberwolves, as a swingman who can defend and shoot from long range, rather than a point guard, heading into his 11th NBA season. Stein writes that L.A. intends to use Kendrick Nunn, Austin Reaves, and Lonnie Walker at the shooting guard or small forward position instead of point guard.
  • Earlier today, Schröder led his native Germany to a win over Poland to secure a bronze medal in this year’s EuroBasket contest, per Eurohoops. The 6’3″ Lakers point guard scored 26 points on 7-of-10 shooting. “That was the goal of the federation, of coach Herbert and for the team and it’s an unbelievable feeling to win a medal in a Eurobasket,” Schröder said after the game. Schröder’s performance in tournament play this summer reportedly helped his cause in free agency.
  • NBA commissioner Adam Silver seemed uncomfortable at being forced to defend the misbehavior of temporarily suspended Suns team owner Robert Sarver in a Wednesday press conference, writes Gary Washburn of the Boston Globe. Sarver has been banned from having any role with either Phoenix basketball club he owns, the Suns or the WNBA’s Phoenix Mercury, for the 2022/23 season.

Lakers Rumors: Westbrook, Role, Ham, Trade Talks, Schröder

Despite the recent additions of Patrick Beverley and Dennis Schröder, Russell Westbrook is increasingly likely to remain on the Lakers‘ roster, according to Jovan Buha and Sam Amick of The Athletic.

However, sources tell The Athletic that Westbrook’s role might change, with the team “strongly” considering having the former league MVP come off the bench in 2022/23. New head coach Darvin Ham has the “full backing” of the organization to determine lineups for the upcoming season, and Westbrook will have to outperform his new teammates during minicamp, training camp and the preseason to remain the Lakers’ starting point guard, Buha and Amick write.

Unless the Lakers can find a trade that they believe makes them a legitimate title contender, Westbrook is “highly likely” to stay on the roster, sources tell The Athletic.

A major part of that line of thinking is the Lakers want to keep their financial and trade options open for ’23/24, when they project to have $30MM+ in cap room for free agency, per Buha and Amick. Westbrook is on an expiring contract worth $47.1MM, and the Lakers have been reluctant to trade their 2027 and/or 2029 first-round picks to offload him.

Here’s more on the Lakers:

  • Los Angeles is banking on Ham being able to optimize Westbrook’s talent — and get through to him in a way that Frank Vogel couldn’t — as well as a return to health for Anthony Davis in order for the ’22/23 season to be successful, sources tell Buha and Amick.
  • According to Buha and Amick, the Lakers discussed a four-team trade with the Jazz, Knicks and Hornets prior to Donovan Mitchell being dealt to Cleveland, with an early framework sending Bojan Bogdanovic and Terry Rozier to L.A.
  • Los Angeles continues to show interest in Bogdanovic, with The Athletic’s duo reporting that Jordan Clarkson and Malik Beasley have been included in recent talks with Utah for Westbrook. However, a deal is considered unlikely because of the aforementioned reasons — the Lakers don’t want to part with first-rounders and Clarkson has a $14.3MM player option for ’23/24 that would eat into the team’s potential cap room.
  • Along the same lines, Buha and Amick write that dealing Westbrook to the Pacers for Buddy Hield and Myles Turner, which has been rumored multiple times, is also “not expected” — Hield has a $19.3MM cap hit in ’23/24.
  • Schröder made an Instagram post expressing his excitement about returning to the Lakers, saying that he wanted to “make s–t right!” Schröder’s agent, Mark Bartelstein, tells Mark Medina of (Twitter link) that the team informed Schröder that “there will be a lot of minutes for everybody” despite a crowded backcourt.

Dennis Schröder Signs One-Year Deal With Lakers

7:57pm: Schröder’s deal with the Lakers is now official, the team announced in a press release.

We are extremely pleased to welcome Dennis Schröder back to the Lakers,” said GM Rob Pelinka. “Not only do Dennis and Coach Ham share a player-coach history together, but they also reflect one another’s mentality of toughness with an extremely competitive edge. Dennis will add both depth and an on-ball defensive presence to our core at the guard position. He is also a proven scorer and playmaker. We are really excited for Dennis to get to camp and get back to work in L.A. after his highly successful run with his national team this offseason.”

4:35pm: Free agent point guard Dennis Schröder is signing a one-year contract with the Lakers, his agent Mark Bartelstein tells Marc Stein (via Twitter).

The Lakers don’t have any cap space available and used their taxpayer mid-level exception to sign Lonnie Walker, so Schröder will receive a minimum-salary deal, as Shams Charania of The Athletic confirms (Twitter link). Schröder will earn $2.64MM for the upcoming season as a nine-year veteran, while the Lakers’ cap hit will be $1.84MM.

It will be a reunion for the two sides, as Schröder spent the 2020/21 season with Los Angeles. Stein reported last month that the Lakers were giving “legit consideration” to bringing Schröder back, and now that has come to fruition.

Schröder reportedly turned down a four-year extension from the Lakers worth $80MM+ during the 2020/21 season, then had to settle last summer for a one-year, $5.9MM deal with the Celtics, who eventually traded him to the Rockets in February. Now he’ll return to L.A. on a minimum contract.

In 64 games (28.7 MPG) split between Boston and Houston during the ’21/22 season, Schröder averaged 13.5 PPG, 3.3 RPG and 4.6 APG on .431/.344/.853 shooting.

Schröder, who turned 29 years old yesterday, is coming off a strong performance at EuroBasket, where he led Germany to the semifinals before falling to Spain earlier today. He averaged 26.0 points and 8.0 assists in the three elimination games, including a game-high 30 points on 11-of-17 shooting against Spain.

According to Stein (Twitter link), Schröder’s international performance raised his free agent stock, and now he’ll get the reunion he desired. ESPN’s Ramona Shelburne reports (via Twitter) that Schröder had been talking to the Lakers “for months” about a possible return, noting that the veteran guard played under new head coach Darvin Ham while the two were with the Hawks.

As John Hollinger of The Athletic observes (via Twitter), the team’s backcourt is looking pretty crowded with Schröder’s addition, but he was the best unrestricted free agent available on the market and the Lakers need to add talent wherever they can find it after missing the playoffs with a 33-49 record last season. Sources tell Stein (Twitter link) that Ham will be in charge of the team’s lineup, but L.A. reportedly views Russell Westbrook and Schröder as point guards, Patrick Beverley and Kendrick Nunn as shooting guards, and Austin Reaves as a small forward behind LeBron James.

In addition to the players Stein mentioned, the Lakers also have Walker, second-round pick Max Christie, Juan Toscano-Anderson, and Troy Brown on the wing, though Toscano-Anderson is versatile enough to play in the frontcourt at times as well.

Once Schröder’s deal is official, the Lakers will have 12 players on guaranteed contracts, two on non-guaranteed deals (Reaves and Wenyen Gabriel) and both two-way slots filled. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets, adding a 15th player to the standard roster would cost the Lakers $7MM due to the luxury tax.

Poll: Dennis Schröder’s Next Team

Veteran point guard Dennis Schröder, currently playing for the German national team in EuroBasket action, is the only unrestricted free agent left on our list of the top 50 NBA free agents of 2022.

It’s hard to believe we’re only a year-and-a-half removed from Schröder reportedly turning down an extension from the Lakers worth $80MM+. Last summer he had to settle for a one-year, $5.9MM deal with the Celtics, who eventually traded him to the Rockets in February.

In 64 games (28.7 MPG) split between Boston and Houston during the 2021/22 season, Schröder averaged 13.5 PPG, 3.3 RPG and 4.6 APG on .431/.344/.853 shooting — solid production. Still, when a team trades you away in the middle of an extended hot streak and goes on to make the NBA Finals, that raises some red flags.

Schröder, who turns 29 next week, remains a talented scorer and is a plus ball-handler who can set up both himself and teammates. His ability to create shots is a valuable skill. And it’s not as though he’s past his peak physically — he’s still one of the quickest players in the league.

He’s not without flaws, however, as he’s an inconsistent outside shooter whose defensive effort often fluctuates. He also skews a little on the selfish side, preferring to look for his own shot, even though he’s a good passer when he’s so inclined.

More than two months into free agency, there aren’t many teams with roster openings, so the odds of Schröder landing a deal for more than the veteran’s minimum seem remote. Having said that, I’d be shocked if he doesn’t find a team before training camps start later this month.

Things have been pretty quiet on the rumors front. Marc Stein reported that the Lakers were giving “legit consideration” to signing Schröder a couple of weeks ago, but then they traded for Patrick Beverley, making a reunion more uncertain. A couple of high-ranking Mavericks executives recently watched Schröder compete, and Stein subsequently wrote the Mavs have considered adding a veteran ball-handler, but Dallas might not want to carry a 15th roster spot right away due to the luxury tax. All the other rumors about Schröder are months old.

Even though they haven’t been linked in any way that I’m aware of, the Hornets might make the most sense as a potential match. They only have 13 players on guaranteed deals and don’t have a backup point guard behind LaMelo Ball at the moment.

The Suns and Hawks could also be a fit. Both teams only have 13 players on guaranteed deals. Phoenix has Chris Paul and Cameron Payne at the point, but Paul is one of the oldest players in the league and Payne is coming off a down season. Schröder spent his first five seasons with the Hawks, but they already have Trae Young, Dejounte Murray and Aaron Holiday, so minutes might be harder to come by there.

With training camps less than three weeks away, we should learn pretty soon where Schröder will be headed — assuming he finds a team. In the meantime, we want to know what you think. Which team will sign Schröder in the coming weeks?

Vote in our poll, then head to the comment section below to share your two cents!

Mavs Have Considered Adding Veteran Ball-Handler

The Mavericks have mulled the possibility of adding one more ball-handling veteran to their roster before the start of the season, Marc Stein writes in his latest Substack article.

Currently, the Mavs have 14 players on guaranteed standard contracts and one (Tyler Dorsey) on a two-way deal, so there would be room to add another player to the 15-man regular season roster and/or via a two-way contract.

According to Stein, Dallas believes there’s a good argument for leaving that 15th roster spot open for now, since it would allow the team to maintain some roster flexibility and wouldn’t further increase its projected luxury tax bill. It’s possible the Mavs will stand pat for now and allow players like Frank Ntilikina, Josh Green, and Dorsey to vie for a regular ball-handling role in training camp and the preseason, Stein writes.

The Mavs already have two strong options to handle the ball, with superstar Luka Doncic and veteran guard Spencer Dinwiddie both expected to play major roles. But the team did lose Jalen Brunson in free agency this offseason and hasn’t acquired an obvious replacement for him.

As we outlined over the weekend, a pair of high-ranking Mavericks executives – president of basketball operations Nico Harrison and VP of basketball ops Michael Finley – were in attendance on Saturday to watch Dennis Schröder and the Germans defeat the Bosnian national team at EuroBasket. Schröder is one veteran free agent who could be on Dallas’ radar. Eric Bledsoe, Facundo Campazzo, Elfrid Payton, and Dennis Smith Jr. are among the others available, Stein notes.

One option for the Mavs if they don’t want to lock a player into that 15th roster spot for the entire season would be to carry a point guard on a non-guaranteed contract this fall, giving the club the flexibility to make a change without having to eat that 15th man’s full salary. However, it’s unclear how many of the top veteran free agents left on the market would accept non-guaranteed deals.

International Notes: Schröder, Bogdanovic, Lithuania, Bosnia

Veteran point guard Dennis Schröder, still a free agent, served as the primary force behind the German national team beating the Bosnian national team in EuroBasket play on Saturday, tweets Tim MacMahon of ESPN.

MacMahon notes that two high-ranking Mavericks front office executives, team president Nico Harrison and vice president Michael Finley, watched Schröder’s performance from court side seats. MacMahon adds that Harrison and Finley are present at EuroBasket to cheer on Dallas All-Star guard Luka Doncic, playing for Slovenia.

The 6’3″ Schroder, still just 28, split his time between the Celtics and Rockets last season on a one-year, $5.9MM deal. Cumulatively, he averaged 13.5 PPG, 4.6 APG, 3.3 RPG and 0.8 SPG across 64 games, including 29 starts.

The Mavericks currently have 14 players signed to their 15-man standard roster, as well as four training camp invitees and one two-way player.

Here are more notes from around the international basketball scene:

  • Following the conclusion of this year’s EuroBasket competition, 33-year-old veteran Jazz forward Bojan Bogdanovic will retire from playing for the Croatian national team, per“I would like to leave something behind me,” Bogdanovic said of his hopes to medal this year. “So this EuroBasket is a perfect chance for me and my teammates to do something special… It’s going to be pretty hard. I’m trying to help my young teammates to grow pretty quickly – and to make an impact on the game, right here, at this tournament.”
  • After officials penalized German national team head coach Gordon Herbert with a technical foul in the final minutes of the third quarter of their EuroBasket game against the Lithuanian national team on Sunday, those referees failed to award a free throw to the Lithuanian national team. Germany would go on to win the game, 109-107, in double overtime, and Lithuania has opted to file a protest, per Donatas Urbonas of BasketNews“I don’t know, we should’ve won the game before [the overtime] just like the last two,” [Lithuanian team forward Mindaugas Kuzminskas] told BasketNews. “It’s tough. That one shot that we weren’t given cost us in the overtime. There’s nothing you can do now. Maybe we paid too much attention to it.”
  • In a surprising upset, Doncic, Goran Dragic and the Slovenian national team fell to Bosnia 97-93 today in EuroBasket play, per Eurohoops. The loss moves Slovenia into a tie with Bosnia due to an identical 2-1 record. Doncic had won all 11 of his prior EuroBasket contests.