Since February, Los Angeles Lakers point guard Dennis Schroder has been eligible to sign an extension for four years and over $80 million in value rather than hitting the free-agent market this summer. Many assumed a deal would get done quickly due to the seemingly mutual interest between the two parties.
However, over a month later, no deal got done and Schroder has hinted that he plans on enjoying free agency, even if he loves the Lakers organization. His tone changed immediately following the trade deadline, when it was rumored that the Lakers were shopping him to the Toronto Raptors to try and get Kyle Lowry.
Now, even more evidence has come out that Schroder wants to go to free agency, as he has reportedly rejected a four year, $84 million contract offer from L.A., according to Brian Windhorst of ESPN on “The Hoop Collective” podcast:
“What I have been told, and this rumor is pretty widely out there so I doubt this is very surprising, is that the Lakers did indeed offer him that $84 million over four years. Now, this is where we get into a gray area, was it fully guaranteed, was it partially guaranteed, were there incentives, blah blah blah, I don’t know. But I believe he was offered a contract in that realm and he said ‘no’ to it. He said no to that extension, and subsequently the Lakers offered him in a trade for Kyle Lowry.”
There are multiple ways to interpret this. First, it’s unclear whether or not this was a formal offer made by the Lakers or if this is just conjecture. If it is a legitimate offer and Schroder did decline, this means he will go to the offseason as a free agent because this is essentially the maximum offer the Lakers can give at this time.
It could be that Schroder simply wants to experience free agency, as he has never done so and his value will never be higher than it is this offseason. Or, it could be that Schroder believes he can net more money than this when the offseason begins.
Plenty can change between now and free agency, but there are nine teams that currently project to have over $21 million in cap space. If Schroder gets the sense that one of those nine will give him what he wants, it could drive up his price, either forcing the Lakers to pay more than what they want or allowing him to walk away.
Quickly, Schroder has become one of the most pivotal decisions of general manager Rob Pelinka’s front-office career. If Schroder walks, the Lakers will be unable to get a player of his caliber, as they are over the salary cap already and can only continue adding salary for players they own the bird rights to.
Schroder wants to help best point guard ever in LeBron James
Even though Schroder has made it clear he wants to test free agency, he still wants to be around the Lakers organization and their great players like LeBron James. He spoke about the superstar, saying he wants to help him in any way possible given that he is the best point guard ever. “I’ve played with Russell [Westbrook], Chris Paul, Shai [Gilgeous-Alexander], with a couple of point guards who were pretty damn good.”
“But LeBron is the best to ever play this game, I believe. So I don’t try to take anything from him, try to help him in any way I can, especially on the defensive end.”
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!