Dennis Schroder is set to hit the open market for the first time in his NBA career. Albeit it was a bizarre rollercoaster for him with the Los Angeles Lakers this past season, the 27-year-old is still a reliable and productive lead guard.
In the prime of his career, Schroder has the chance to lock down a long-term point guard position finally; he has been in precarious situations in years past with the Lakers, Oklahoma City Thunder, and Atlanta Hawks.
Here are three ideal free agent destinations for Dennis Schroder.
3) Chicago Bulls
The Bulls were recently made aware that guard Coby White’s injured shoulder will require at least four months of rehab. That opens the door for Chicago to make a move in its backcourt.
Schroder’s smooth offensive game would serve as a superb fill-in for White in the scenario he misses the beginning of the 2021-22 season. He has a knack for getting inside off the dribble, sticks midrange jump shots, finds the open man, and is a respectable outside shooter. When White returns to the floor, the Bulls would have a killer backcourt rotation with the UNC product, Schroder and Zach LaVine. Perhaps the three of them could be on the floor together at the end of games?
LaVine is a free agent after next season. Signing Schroder ensures the Bulls having a plausible backcourt with upside in Schroder and White. All the while, the trio of guards, Nikola Vucevic and Patrick Williams, would headline a team that should have playoff expectations for next season. Plus, Bulls head coach Billy Donovan coached Schroder for two seasons with the Thunder.
On the other hand, if the Bulls are going to hand out a $20-plus million salary in free agency, they may prefer to give the coin to more of a frontcourt/”three-and-d” player to complement their foundation. Chicago also likely wants to ink LaVine to a long-term contract, which signing Schroder would interfere with.
2) Dallas Mavericks
The Mavericks need offensive variety and players who complement Luka Doncic’s skill set. Dennis Schroder would be a sneakily effective signing for their sake.
Schroder brings something to the table that the Mavericks need: a scorer who can play in isolation. Would Schroder take defensive eyeballs off Doncic? No, but he would accompany Doncic with a player who can run down the shot clock and score in isolation. Schroder can also bring the ball up the floor, somewhat lessening the need for Doncic to serve as a point forward.
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The Mavericks offer Schroder the chance to truly break out. Yes, he has been a very productive and efficient player over his eight-year NBA career. At the same time, Schroder has never been the clear-cut number one or two option of an NBA offense for a prolonged period of time. With Kristaps Porzingis’ role in the rotation becoming more dumbfounding with time, Schroder could assume the number two scoring role, taking some eyeballs off Porzingis. In essence, Schroder would add a pure scorer to their rotation and take attention off one of the team’s offensive pillars (Porzingis).
The Mavericks have a bevy of players who can shoot, but few put the ball on the floor consistently and score. All that being said, the Mavericks may very well opt against a Schroder pursuit in favor of re-signing free-agent guard Tim Hardaway Jr. and acquiring players who won’t take touches away from Doncic.
1) Miami Heat
The Heat are forced to regroup after being swept in the first round of the playoffs, which was fresh off winning the Eastern Conference in 2020. Dennis Schroder would be a seamless fit in head coach Erik Spoelstra’s rotation.
Once the strength of their roster, the Heat are faced with contract conundrums out on the perimeter, as both Duncan Robinson and Kendrick Nunn are free agents this summer and likely to earn hefty paydays. Schroder would add a well-rounded scoring ability to play next to Jimmy Butler and wouldn’t be asked to be the driving force or even the second motor of the offense; it’s Butler and Bam Adebayo’s offense with Tyler Herro providing a scoring jolt off the bench.
Working under the mindset that they add/keep veteran shooters, Schroder’s arrival would create a balanced and versatile starting five. The Heat would have a combination of raw scoring ability, shooting, defense, and playoff experience. Sure, they could exercise the team option on Goran Dragic. With that said, Schroder is younger and has more upside. The Heat could also attempt to re-sign Dragic at a lower figure to come off the bench. It’s reasonable to think he’d consider staying put in South Beach, as the 35-year-old is yet to win an NBA championship.
The Heat have the tools and budding players to get back to contending for the NBA Finals next season. They need to surround their core with players in their prime who can be relied on. Dennis Schroder fits that criteria.