Mid-season, Dennis Schroder turned down an four-year, $84 million contract extension offer from the Lakers. While he denied money was the reason in his exit interview, it was pretty clear he did it because he thought he could get more from the Lakers — or some team — this offseason.
How much more? A $100 million to $120 million contract.
That according to Armin Andres, VP of the German Basketball Federation, who explained Schroder is not playing for the German National Team as it tries to qualify for the Olympics because it was too expensive for the federation to insure what Schroder wants in a new contract. (Hat tip to TalkBasket.net for finding the quote.)
“Dennis Schroeder has communicated this clearly: he wants 100, 120 million – which he will probably also get – and this sum insured cannot be insured on the normal market at the moment,” Andres said on Abteilung Basketball podcast as reported by Manuel Baraniak.
Let’s use some comparative numbers. At $100 million for four years — $25 million a season — Schroder would be making in the ballpark of what the Bucks pay Jrue Holiday or the Celtics pay Jaylen Brown. It’s hard to imagine the Lakers, or any team, wanting to pay Schroder that after his performance this past season — he averaged 15.4 points and 4.8 assists a game, struggled with his shot from 3 (33.5%), was inconsistent on both ends, and then was not a factor in the playoffs. The $84 million figure (we don’t know how much of that was guaranteed or other details) would be very similar to the contract Fred VanVleet signed with the Raptors last offseason, and VanVleet is a better player.
Still, Schroder has leverage and may get more than expected.
The Lakers are caught in what John Hollinger calls the “Bird Rights trap” with Schroder. While the Lakers may not want to pay him $20 million a season or more, if they let him walk, they would have to use their mid-level exception to replace him — and likely that is the $5.9 million tax-payer midlevel once they re-sign Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker. (In theory the Lakers could used their full $9.5 million midlevel, it depends on when guys are signed, what Montrezl Harrell does with his $9.7 million player option, among other things.) For all of Schroder’s flaws, the player the Lakers could land with the mid-level exception likely would be worse (think T.J. McConnell, Ish Smith, maybe Patty Mills).
The Lakers and Schroder can reach a deal on an extension up to Aug. 1, but the Lakers can’t offer more than the $84 million (that’s their max extension under the CBA). Schroder might want to consider a deal when he looks at the free agent market: Most of the teams with cap space (Dallas, San Antonio, Charlotte) have point guards and the ones that do not (Chicago, New York) are looking at bigger free agent names (Kyle Lowry, Spencer Dinwiddie and even Chris Paul, although he very likely stays in Phoenix). After this past season, it’s hard to imagine teams lining up to throw $100 million at Schroder.