What were you thinking, Dennis?
Twitter is having a great time right now at the expense of Dennis Schroder, and it’s difficult to fault anyone outside of Schroder (and his agent) himself. Schroder, who is crossing conferences to play for the Boston Celtics after agreeing to a reported 1-year, $5.89 million deal via the team’s taxpayer midlevel exception route, is probably wishing he has the power to turn back time for at least five months.
Schroder found out the hard way that unless you’re an elite, tier 1 player in the NBA, you can’t expect to win by bluffing a marquee franchise like the Lakers. By turning down the $84 million extension offer from the Lakers, Schroder thought he was flexing his muscle on the negotiation table and had Los Angeles backed into a corner. Instead, that only prompted Schroder to unwillingly put the facial foundation of a makeup that would eventually turn him into a full clown in the offseason.
Rob Pelinka deserves credit for not blinking. The Lakers did not offer Schroder a bigger extension deal and waited for the rest of the season to play out. Knowing what they know about how Schroder performed in the postseason, the Lakers finally had the leverage to further lowball the point guard. They also did not do that. What they did was completely ignore Schroder and acquire Russell Westbrook because that’s what big-market teams do.
Now, Schroder is reportedly “in shock” of his own actions, according to Mark Murphy of the Boston Herald. He’s become the Le’Veon Bell of the NBA. Bell, of course, turned down a $70 million offer from the Pittsburgh Steelers in 2018 only to accept much lesser money from the New York Jets.
“’He’s only interested in one year, and then getting back out there,’ said the source, who added that Schroder has also run into another problem — the sudden lack of available starting point guard jobs”.
Rebuffing the Lakers’ extension offer also reflected Schroder’s belief that he’s going to hit a home run salary in free agency, whether it’s with Los Angeles or somewhere else. The last time Schroder put ink on paper was in October 2016, when he signed a four-year deal that’s worth $70 million with the Atlanta Hawks ($62 million guaranteed). That meant that he wouldn’t earn more than $16 million in salary per year during the duration of that contract.
Schroder would have likely hit paydirt in the offseason if he did not stench in the playoffs. The Lakers struck out of the first round in the 2021 NBA Playoffs in part because Schroder threw up brick after brick after brick and got extremely outplayed by a 36-year-old Chris Paul. He averaged 14.3 points per game against the Phoenix Suns in the opening round but shot 40 FG% and 30.8 3FG%, essentially wasting numerous Lakers possessions. The Lakers also gave up 109 points per 100 possessions in the playoffs when Schroder was on the floor while scoring just 107. (All three guys who had a 109 DefRtg in the playoffs for LA are no longer with the Lakers.)
Schroder, at least, landed on a legitimate title contender in Boston, where he could bet on himself again and hope the money he’s looking for would come in 2022.