The Dennis Schroder watch is in full effect in Boston, as the Celtics have reportedly “engaged in conversations to add” the free-agent point guard per Bleacher Report’s Jake Fischer. Of course, there still remains the desire for financial flexibility in 2022 from Boston’s perspective, which appears to be the name of the game in president Brad Stevens’ master plan. This could certainly cause a disconnect in contract discussions with Schroder, who rejected a four-year, $84 million extension from the Los Angeles Lakers last summer and was hoping to cash in on a long-term deal in excesses of $100 million this summer. While that latter number looks to be off the table as we embark on the second week of free agency, the 27-year-old guard is seemingly still hung up on the duration of his next contract.
“Both sides [Celtics and Schroder] have interest. Boston is interested in only a short-term deal, ideally one year,” CelticsBlog’s Keith Smith tweeted. “Schroder is still looking for more money than the Celtics can offer and/or a longer deal.”
With a Kemba Walker-sized vacancy in the backcourt and no proven commodities beyond Marcus Smart, it wouldn’t be outlandish to think the Celtics could cave to Schroder’s demands on a longer commitment. If this were the case, a sign-and-trade with the Lakers could prove the most logical catalyst to bring the former first-round pick to Beantown. Naturally, such a move would come at an expense, and in Dan Favale of Bleacher Report’s latest proposal, that expense would be none other than Evan Fournier’s projected replacement.
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B/R Sign & Trade Proposal Ships Josh Richardson to Lakers
It’s no coincidence that the Celtics acquired Josh Richardson from the Dallas Mavericks in conjunction with Fournier’s contract talks crumbling. While the 27-year-old wing has underwhelmed over the past two seasons, he’s flashed two-way traits in the past and most importantly, comes to Boston as essentially a one-year rental (unless his play proves otherwise). With that said, Favale proposes the Celtics don’t wait until 2022 to move off of Richardson and instead ships him to Los Angeles in order to boost their backcourt. Here’s how the proposal shapes up and the B/R columnist’s thought process behind it:
- Boston Celtics Receive:
- Dennis Schroder (sign-and-trade)
- Los Angeles Lakers Receive:
- Josh Richardson
Boston’s interest is understandable, if obligatory, after losing two of its most important offensive players—Kemba Walker and Evan Fournier—over the offseason without replacing them. Yes, Schroder is coming off a down year in which his shooting percentages at the rim and from deep took a dive and he couldn’t capably pilot units without LeBron James. But he has real value to a team that right now counts its backup point guard as Kris Dunn, Payton Pritchard or Tremont Waters.
Price and contract length are bound to be a sticking point with Schroder. His market leverage is gone, insofar as it ever existed… Hammering out a sign-and-trade is too smart if the Celtics really want Schroder.
Would the Celtics Bite on a Sign-and-Trade?
The early indications say no. The Boston Globe’s Adam Himmelsbach has reported that the chance of the Celtics pursuing this route to acquire Schroder is “unlikely.” Considering NBA rules require a sign-and-trade contract to check in at a minimum of three years, Himmelsbach’s report makes a world of sense.
Stevens has worked diligently to acquire a number of players on one-year contracts this offseason — Richardson included. And while Schroder is a nice piece, chances are he’s not the high-level talent that the Celtics had in mind when they began to put this plan in motion and take on multiple expiring contracts (cough, cough, Bradley Beal).
Still, Favale believes Schroder is worth altering those plans for, especially if the team can still manage to elude next season’s luxury tax in the process.
Perhaps they don’t want to give up anyone on their roster for Schroder, who would need to ink a three-year deal with at least one guaranteed season. That’s more fair. But Schroder gives them more downhill juice, shot creation and table-setting than Josh Richardson—who, by the way, has not been Peak Josh Richardson for some time…
Boston’s lust for 2022 flexibility seems like the bigger hurdle—and even that logic is somewhat thorny when it’s trying to extend Marcus Smart, per the Boston Herald‘s Mark Murphy. Exchanging Richardson for Schroder addresses a glaring need while potentially still giving the Celtics a chance to duck next season’s luxury tax. They should at least be open to the idea.