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Dennis Schroder’s claim on what really happened with Lakers’ $84 million contract offer

dennis schroder Lakers celtics

The Los Angeles Lakers offered Dennis Schroder a four-year, $84 million contract extension midway through the 2020-21 season.

Schroder turned it down and bet on himself to raise his value in the playoffs. Throughout the season, he oft-stated a desire to test unrestricted free agency for the first time in his NBA career. He claimed to be seeking a “fair” deal, which, according to reports, he defined as $100+ million.

Schroder’s wager did not pay off. Instead of thriving as a key third banana on a championship contender, Schroder put together an up-and-down season in Los Angeles, with emphasis on the “down” in the second half. He struggled to hit jumpers and make his teammates better, averaging 15.4 points and 5.8 assists on .437/.335/.848 shooting splits.

Schroder’s testiness about his contract situation and the COVID-19 vaccine became simmering distractions late in the season, especially once he contracted the virus (for the second time) right before the playoffs. In the Lakers’ first-round loss to the Phoenix Suns — Schroder’s last, best chance to raise his value — he averaged 14.3 points and 2.8 assists on 40% shooting.

Consequently, Schroder’s first foray into UFA was an unmitigated disaster. Interest was low, and the point guard market and cap space dried up quickly. In the end, he signed with the Boston Celtics for one year, $5.9 million (the taxpayer midlevel exception).

On Monday, Schroder spoke to the media for the first time as a member of the Celtics. Schroder acknowledged turning down the extension and admitted that things could have gone better in Los Angeles.

“Me and my agent decided not to sign the contract,” Schroder said. “I feel like, for me, personally, I gotta be comfortable in the environment I’m in. I love the Lakers organization, they did great things … I think for me, I don’t think I fit it 100%. You play with LeBron and AD, that’s two of the best players in the NBA, and I don’t think I gave them everything — what I bring to the table. For me and my family, I signed a pretty good contract after my fourth year, and my family and myself, we’re gonna be good. I’m 28 years old, I’m gonna still play in the NBA for a long time. Money is not everything.”

Schroder signed a four-year, $70 million extension in 2016, as a member of the Atlanta Hawks.

In retrospect, Los Angeles dodged a bullet with Schroder, and will now open the 2021-22 season with Russell Westbrook as their starting point guard.