Dennis Schroder set the price. By rejecting a four-year, $84 million contract extension from the Lakers — the most Los Angeles can offer right now, and in line with what Fred VanVleet signed for last offseason — Schroder let every team know what he is looking for in a new contract this offseason.
Do the Knicks want to pay that for Schroder?
New York will be in the point guard market this offseason. Ian Begley of SNY recently reported interest from some in the Knicks front office in Schroder and Pelicans free agent guard Lonzo Ball. Begley went into more detail on SNY recently (hat tip Harrison Faigen at Silver Screen and Roll):
“So Schröder is a guard that some [in the Knicks’ front office] like, and Lonzo Ball has some support within the organization, but I don’t think it’s uniform support on Lonzo, or probably Dennis either.
“The interesting thing here on Schröder is he’s already turned down, according to ESPN, an extension offer from the Lakers that was around four years and $84 million, so you would think that the Knicks are going to have to make a big offer, around $20 million a year to sign Schröder. I don’t think they would want to get into a bidding war for Schröder.”
New York has some decisions to make about building out this roster and improving it going forward. RJ Barrett will be part of that. The Knicks have Julius Randle locked up for one more season, then will have to decide if he is worth what seems headed for a huge payday in the summer of 2022. Is Randle a floor raiser for a 5-8 seed playoff team, or can he be a foundational part of a championship contender?
Do the Knicks want to pay Schroder more than $20 million a year to be the starting point guard of what they are building?
Schroder may also be able to squeeze more money out of the Lakers than any other team. With the foursome of LeBron James, Anthony Davis, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, and Kyle Kuzma making a combined $102.5 million next season (the salary cap for 2021-22 will be at least $112.4 million and potentially a little higher, but teams don’t expect much more than that), Los Angeles doesn’t have the cap room to sign a good free agent point guard to replace Schroder if he leaves. Los Angeles can go over the cap to re-sign Schroder because it has his Bird rights. The bottom line: The Lakers may have to pay a little more than market rate for Schroder because if he leaves they can’t replace him with nearly as good a player (unless they find a creative trade).
Which brings the Knicks back to, how much would they really want to pay Schroder?