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#pounditTuesday, December 1, 2020

Articles tagged: Los Angeles Lakers

Dennis Schroder does not want to come off bench for Lakers

Dennis Schroder

Dennis Schroder was an elite NBA sixth man last season, but now he has his eyes on a bigger prize with his new team.

The Los Angeles Lakers guard told reporters on Monday that he would like to start for the team next season, not come off the bench.

“I did this off the bench stuff already the last two years in OKC,” Schroder said, per Bill Oram of The Athletic. “I think with LeBron [James] and AD [Anthony Davis], I can be helpful as a starter in the PG position.”

The Lakers acquired Schroder in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder earlier this month. He averaged 18.9 points and 4.0 assists per game off the bench last season, finishing in second place for Sixth Man of the Year.

While LeBron James is the de facto point guard, the Lakers lost both halves of their starting backcourt last regular season in Avery Bradley and Danny Green. Schroder can thrive as a complementary ball-handler though, often sharing the floor in three-guard lineups with Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander for the Thunder. That being said, Schroder may not be the only new addition in the Lakers’ starting five next season.

Lakers fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt. It makes a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Grading the Lakers’ trade for Dennis Schroder from the Thunder

Dennis Schroder

The Los Angeles Lakers took a massive stride forward in their quest to repeat as NBA champions after agreeing to acquire Dennis Schroder from the Oklahoma City Thunder. A lightning-quick point-guard with the ability to stop on a dime and effortlessly elevate into his vastly improved jumper, Schroder has become one of the premier sparkplug scoring options in the NBA.

As Sam Presti and the Thunder look to stockpile future first-round picks, the return package of the 28th pick in this year’s notoriously weak draft class (Jaden McDaniels) plus the shell of Danny Green could be considered light for one of the best sixth men in the NBA. For Oklahoma City, the trade represents the seemingly long-overdue start to the rebuild many felt was inevitable after trading Russell Westbrook and Paul George last offseason. With just one year remaining on his contract, Green is an obvious candidate to be a part of a future deal as the Thunder continue to amass future assets.

Biggest Winner: Dennis Schroder

After playing the best basketball of his life this season with the Thunder, Schroder now has the chance to continue to redefine his narrative while playing on the biggest stage of his career. Once perceived as a player capable of putting up gaudy individual statistics without enhancing his team’s chance at winning, Schroder rounded out his game and became a far more balanced player this year. This improvement was due to his commitment to the defensive end of the court, while also exercising better judgment on his shot selection offensively.

Despite mid-range shots falling out of vogue around the league due to the rise of the analytic movement, Schroder and the Thunder proved there’s still tremendous value to be had in such shots. As a team, Oklahoma City shot the highest percentage on mid-range jumpers this season at 46.9 percent. Their 464 made representing the fifth-highest total in the league. Schroder finished in the 97th percentile for guards on long mid-range jumpers attempted (jump shots taken past the free-throw line but in front of the 3-point line) while converting on a very efficient 46.8 percent of them.

For as good as Schroder was offensively this season, his improvements as a defender were arguably more paramount for his progression as a player. Despite only standing 6-foot-1, Schroder was frequently utilized to guard larger players thanks to his 6-foot-8 wingspan. One of the best plays from Schroder’s season perfectly highlights that newfound defensive intensity.

Schroder started that play on Marcus Smart, but once he saw Kemba Walker turn back towards his own baseline, he immediately brought the double team. In an instant, Walker found himself in a position no ball-handler wants to be in, trapped between Schroder and Chris Paul. Schroder then relied on his long-reach to cleanly swipe the ball from Walker and glide in for the easy game-sealing lay-up.

Oklahoma City displayed an uncanny ability to win seemingly impossible games all season, with Schroder’s fingerprints all over some of the team’s most memorable plays. With a sixth-man extraordinaire capable of delivering moments like the play below, the defending champs are going to be even tougher next season.

Trade Grades:
Los Angeles Lakers: A
Oklahoma City Thunder: C

Lakers trade JaVale McGee to create space for Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol

The Toronto Raptors are losing all their big men to Los Angeles teams.

On Saturday, Serge Ibaka agreed to a deal with the Los Angeles Clippers. And on Sunday, it was Marc Gasol agreeing to sign with the Lakers.

The Lakers made a move in order to create room for Gasol, as they traded center JaVale McGee to Cleveland. That allowed them to sign Gasol. The signing comes as no surprise given reports tied Gasol to the Lakers.

Gasol was originally drafted by the Lakers but was traded to Memphis as part of a trade involving his brother. Now 35 and towards the end of his career, Gasol averaged 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for Toronto last season.

The Lakers continue to have a strong offseason after winning the championship. They lost Dwight Howard, McGee, Danny Green, Rajon Rondo and Avery Bradley. But they brought in Dennis Schroder, Gasol and Wes Matthews, while re-signing Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and trying to bring back Markieff Morris.

Lakers fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt. It makes a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Photo: Chensiyuan/Wikimedia via cc-by-sa 4.0

Report: Lakers a ‘serious suitor’ for Marc Gasol

Marc Gasol

The Los Angeles Lakers have already shown this offseason that they want to significantly improve their roster even after winning a title, and Marc Gasol is another big-name veteran they have their eye on.

The Lakers have emerged as a “serious suitor” for Gasol, according to Shams Charania of The Athletic. Gasol, a three-time All-Star, wants to contend for another title and is intrigued by the possibility of playing in Los Angeles.

Gasol was traded to the Toronto Raptors midway through the 2018-19 season, and he helped the team win a championship with Kawhi Leonard leading the way. The 35-year-old was then a big reason why Toronto remain competitive and won 53 games last season despite losing Leonard, though his offensive numbers were down a bit. Gasol averaged 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game.

The Lakers made a huge move on Friday when they stole reigning NBA Sixth Man of the Year Montrezl Harrell away from the Los Angeles Clippers. They could still use another veteran in their frontcourt, as Dwight Howard looked like he was going to re-sign with the Lakers before pivoting amid unusual circumstances. Gasol could certainly help fill that void.

Lakers fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt. It makes a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Report: Knicks, Lakers are suitors for Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

The New York Knicks are still looking for a way to use all their cap space, and appear to be pursuing a new option.

The Knicks are interested in free agent guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, according to Brad Turner of the Los Angeles Times. However, the Lakers remain interested as well, despite already making additions to their backcourt.

Money will be a factor here. Turner makes clear that Caldwell-Pope is looking for the “right price.” It’s not known what that might be, but the Knicks have roughly $40 million in cap space to work with. The Lakers, however, retain Caldwell-Pope’s Bird rights.

There was some thought that the Lakers’ activity so far might make them less likely to re-sign KCP. For now, it appears they’re undeterred, and they’re certainly more of a title contender than the Knicks are if that matters to the veteran guard.

Clippers players shocked by Montrezl Harrell decision?

Montrezl Harrell

Montrezl Harrell’s decision to move from the Los Angeles Clippers to the rival Lakers was one of the most talked-about deals of free agency’s opening. It sounds like it came as a shock to Clipper players, too.

According to Farbod Esnaashari of SINow, Clippers players are “legitimately shocked” that Harrell signed with the Lakers, adding that “they didn’t expect this.”

The reaction of this Clipper player indicates that this was very much the case. Harrell, the league’s Sixth Man of the Year, was a key part of the Clippers and seemingly popular with teammates. It may not be so much the fact that he left as it is who he left for. The Lakers, after all, are the team the Clippers are trying to overtake.

The Clippers may not have seen Harrell’s move coming. The player himself, though, seemed to know something big was about to happen.

Lakers slow-played Dwight Howard with contract offer

Dwight Howard

Dwight Howard may not have ditched the Los Angeles Lakers so much as they may have stood him up.

Howard tweeted at the start of free agency on Friday that he was returning to the Lakers. However, he quickly deleted the tweet and later agreed to a deal with the Philadelphia 76ers.

So what happened?

According to Yahoo’s Chris B. Haynes, Howard thought he had an offer from the Lakers for $3 million. The center accepted, thinking it was a done deal. However, the Lakers apparently said that no formal offer was made and they only had a “deal concept.” They told Howard they needed to talk with ownership for approval.

Howard waited for about an hour without hearing back and decided to move on. He was pursued by new 76ers front office leader Daryl Morey, as well as Joel Embiid. He even took $2.6 million from Philly, which is less than the Lakers supposedly were offering.

It sure sounds like the Lakers slow-played Howard, and we now know it was for a very good reason.

Report: Lakers pursuing Marc Gasol as Dwight Howard replacement

Marc Gasol

The Los Angeles Lakers are trying to move quickly to replace the departing Dwight Howard in the frontcourt.

According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Lakers are eyeing Marc Gasol as a potential replacement for Howard. The 35-year-old center spent last season as a starter for the Toronto Raptors, but likely would not be too expensive for the Lakers.

The Lakers seemed to have Howard set to return, but are now moving quickly on other targets after he ended up signing with the Philadelphia 76ers. Gasol is a solid second option. Though he’s no longer the potent scorer he was in his prime, he still averaged 7.5 points and 6.3 rebounds per game for Toronto last season. Gasol also has some distant ties to the Lakers, as his brother Pau was a popular championship-winning member of the organization.

Gasol has made clear that he wants to play for a contender. Signing with the defending NBA champions would certainly fit the bill.

Report: Anthony Davis will not re-sign with Lakers immediately

Anthony Davis

Anthony Davis has every intention of re-signing with the Los Angeles Lakers after he did not pick up his player option for next season, but the new deal may take a while to come together.

Davis is not expected to formally commit to the Lakers in the immediate days after free agency begins on Friday, ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports. Davis is planning to wait until at least after Thanksgiving before making a final decision on the length and structure of his next contract.

Davis is eligible to sign a five-year max contract with the Lakers that would be worth around $200 million, but it seems unlikely he will go that route. Instead, he could sign a two-year deal at roughly $68 million with a player option for the second year. Davis could also sign a three-year deal at the same average annual salary with a player option for the third year. That scenario may appeal to him the most, as it would align with the end of LeBron James’ current contract.

If Davis signs a two-plus-one contract and opts out after two years, he would then enter free agency in 2022 with 10 years of service. That would make him eligible to sign a contract worth 35 percent of the salary cap. Based on current projections, Davis could sign a five-year deal worth more than $250 million at that point.

It seemed at one point like the pandemic could potentially impact Davis’ contract situation, but that is not going to happen. He’s going to sign a new deal with the Lakers, it’s just a matter of when he will do it.

Lakers fans, show everyone who runs LA with this great T-shirt. It makes a perfect gift for you or a friend. You can buy it here.

Dwight Howard responds to report about Lakers begging him to return

Dwight Howard

The Los Angeles Lakers are said to be somewhat desperate to bring Dwight Howard back, but the veteran big man may not be interpreting it that way.

During an appearance on ESPN LA 710’s “Mason & Ireland” show this week, Ramona Shelburne said the Lakers have been in constant contact with Howard this offseason. She said she was told by sources that the team calls Howard three times a week to let him know they want to re-sign him.

Howard seemed to refute that report on social media. A Lakers site on Instagram shared the information Shelburne passed along, and Howard commented with several baseball cap emojis. That was likely his way of saying Shelburne is “capping,” which is a slang for lying. Lakers Daily shared a screenshot of the post and Howard’s response.

While it would be somewhat surprising if the Lakers have been hounding Howard, it makes sense that they want to bring him back. He played a significant role at some points during the postseason, even if his most noteworthy job was aggravating an opposing star player.

Howard will turn 35 next month. He averaged just 7.5 points per game last season and is more of a bench player now, albeit a useful one. The Lakers apparently feel he’s an important piece for them.