Four days into NBA free agency and the Boston Celtics have failed to make a splash. The same could be said for Los Angeles Lakers’ free agent Dennis Schroder, who turned down a four-year, $84 million contract extension last season from the Lakers to pursue a contract north of $100 million on the open market.
With the Celtics’ glaring need in the backcourt and Schroder’s hopes of cashing in quickly fading, could the perfect marriage be brewing in Beantown? According to Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer, preliminary talks between the Celtics and the Lakers starter have occurred.
“The Celtics have had conversations with free agent Dennis Schroder, per @JakeLFischer,” via Guy Boston Sports.
Schroder, 27, is coming off a down campaign in Los Angeles despite serving as a full-time starter for only the third time in his eight-year career. His output was still solid, scoring 15.4 points per contest. With that said, he saw a dip in nearly every major statistical output, sans assists, of which he averaged 5.8 per game (most since 2017).
The German native is just one season removed from finishing second to then-Los Angeles Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell in Sixth-Man of the year voting, where he produced 18.9 points per game while shooting a career-best 38.5% from beyond the arc.
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Schroder Was Eyeing Monster Deal
Armin Andres, the VP of the German Basketball Federation, reported back in late June that not only was Schroder seeking a contract between the $100-$120 million range in free agency, but that he’d more than likely ink such a deal.
“Dennis Schroder has communicated this clearly: he wants 100, 120 million – which he will probably also get – and this sum cannot be insured on the normal market at the moment,” Andres said on Abteilung Basketball podcast, via Manuel Baraniak.
The chances of Schroder converting on those lofty contract goals have all but dissipated, as his market looks to be fading more and more with each passing day. There’s been enormous movement at the guard position spanning across the NBA landscape this past week. In return, the number of previously perceived landing spots for Schroder has steadily dropped off.
Schroder’s Market Drying Up?
As Celtics fans are likely well-versed, their team’s former starting point guard Kemba Walker is returning to his old stomping grounds. The Bronx native is set to join the New York Knicks following a contract buyout with the Oklahoma City Thunder. Walker will be once again teaming up with last year’s teammate Evan Fournier, who Boston failed to re-sign despite the Frenchman voicing his openness to a Celtics return.
Elsewhere in the Atlantic Division, the Chicago Bulls have completely reworked their backcourt with the additions of both Lonzo Ball and DeMar DeRozan. Not to mention, a return to the Lakers has gotten iffier following the blockbuster trade for Russell Westbrook.
In terms of a potential fit with Boston, at the right price adding Schroder to the team’s backcourt — whether as a starter or a combo-guard off the bench — would seemingly make sense for both him and the Celtics. It’s looking as if Schroder will need a year to rebuild his stock to where it was when the Lakers previously offered him an extension last summer. Could that be for a one-year rental with Boston?
President Brad Stevens has operated with the purpose of keeping the organization financially flexible heading into next offseason. Over the past week or so, the Celtics have added the likes of Kris Dunn, Bruno Fernando, Josh Richardson and Enes Kanter via trade or free agency — all of whom’s contracts expire following the 2021-22 campaign. Could Schroder follow suit?