Dennis Schroder and the Lakers are reportedly far apart on a contract extension.
Schroder is eligible for a four-year extension with up to $83,328,000 in base salary. Because the bonus terms are in his current contract, an extension must contain incentives for:
- Playing 65 regular-season games, playing 50% of playoff games and reaching NBA Finals ($230,000-$270,000 annually, as negotiated)
- Playing 65 regular-season games, playing 50% of playoff games and winning championship ($230,000-$270,000 annually, as negotiated)
An extension would also include incentives for making an All-Star team and an All-Defensive team, but those are far less relevant.
So, Schroder’s largest-possible extension could be described as four years, $83,328,000. Or $91,968,000 if including all incentives. Or something between if including only some incentives.
The maximum he can sign for is four years and 84 million if he totally maxes out what he’s able to do on an extension.
What I have been told – and this rumor is pretty widely out there, so I doubt that this is very surprising – is that the Lakers did indeed offer him that 84 million dollars over four years. Now, this is where we get into gray area. Was it fully guaranteed? Was it partially guaranteed?
As Windhorst said, the devil is in the details. A deal that looks favorable to Schroder wouldn’t necessarily be that way if it’s not fully guaranteed.
But if the Lakers offered Schroder the largest-possible extension fully guaranteed and he rejected it, that’d seemingly shut the door on an extension. Barring unforeseen circumstances, Schroder would enter 2021 free agency.
As a free agent, Schroder could sign for any salary up to the max. The aforementioned restrictions apply to only an extension. So, there’s an upside for Schroder in rejecting even the largest-possible extension.
There’s also risk.
Schroder probably isn’t worth $20 million annually in a vacuum. He’s a solid player, though a little too streaky. At 27, he has limited untapped upside.
But Schroder and the Lakers don’t exist in a vacuum.
If Schroder leaves, the Lakers would still be capped out. His departure might open the door for them to use the non-taxpayer mid-level exception (projected to be worth $9,535,740) rather than the taxpayer mid-level exception (projected to be worth $5,889,540). But that probably wouldn’t get them a player as good as Schroder.
The Lakers could also let Schroder walk and move Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and Kyle Kuzma to open cap space. Los Angeles could chase trade-deadline target Kyle Lowry without sending Talen Horton-Tucker or a pick to the Raptors. But that route would require other teams and free agents to cooperate, which can never be taken for granted.
While their title window remains open with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, the Lakers should maximize their roster. The simplest way to do that is paying Schroder whatever it takes to keep him. That gives Schroder leverage