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LOS ANGELES, CA - OCTOBER 12: Russell Westbrook #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles the ball during the game against the Minnesota Timberwolves on October 12, 2022 at Crypto.com Arena in Los Angeles, California. NOTE TO USER: User expressly acknowledges and agrees that, by downloading and/or using this Photograph, user is consenting to the terms and conditions of the Getty Images License Agreement. Mandatory Copyright Notice: Copyright 2022 NBAE (Photo by Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images)

Andrew D. Bernstein/NBAE via Getty Images

The Los Angeles Lakers initially only wanted to sign Dennis Schröder if they had already traded away Russell Westbrook, according to ESPN’s Dave McMenamin:

“The Lakers originally planned to have found a trade partner for Westbrook before signing Schröder, sources said. But after the point guard’s strong showing for Germany in the FIBA EuroBasket tournament generated interest around the league, L.A. signed him before another team could.”

The Lakers have been shopping Westbrook around the NBA this offseason, reportedly holding discussions with the Utah Jazz, Indiana Pacers and Brooklyn Nets, per McMenamin. However, the veteran guard remains on the roster ahead of Tuesday’s season-opener against the Golden State Warriors.

Schröder, meanwhile, signed a one-year deal with the Lakers in September to add depth in the backcourt.

The 29-year-old averaged 22.1 points per game for Germany in the FIBA EuroBasket tournament, ranking fifth in the competition. He had 30 points and eight assists in the semifinal loss to eventual champion Spain, but he still helped Germany finish in third place.

Schröder scored 15.4 points per game during the 2020-21 season with the Lakers, and the familiarity should help him play a key role this season.

The question is what the Lakers now do with the logjam of experienced players in the backcourt.

Patrick Beverley and Austin Reaves started in the final preseason game against the Sacramento Kings, pushing Westbrook to the bench in a move head coach Darvin Ham called a “realignment.”

Westbrook is now dealing with a hamstring injurywhile there is long-term concern about Schröder’s finger injury, per Shams Charania on The Rally.

These issues likely make the Lakers happy to have plenty of guard depth.

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