It may still be early in the season, but Dennis Schroder is quickly establishing himself as one of the true bargain offseason additions across the NBA. Inked to an extremely team-friendly, one-year, $5.9 million deal back in August, the Celtics guard is currently averaging a career-high 33.0 minutes per game. Thrust into the starting lineup amid Jaylen Brown’s hamstring injury, the 28-year-old has served as one of Boston’s most reliable scorers, averaging 24 points on 18.8 shots per game over his last five games.
However, despite Schroder’s hot streak, head coach Ime Udoka has already confirmed that he will revert to his sixth-man duties upon Brown’s impending return. While the Celtics view Schroder as a pseudo sixth starter, NBC Sports Boston’s Chris Forsberg believes it may be wise for the Celtics to cash in on his budding trade value while they still can.
With Schroder playing on an expiring deal and eligible to be dealt as soon as December 15th, the Celtics insider floated the possibility of the German guard fetching Boston the type of return that could eventually land them a third star in the future.
“Schroder’s value to a contender, even as an expiring deal, could help the Celtics fetch draft assets that might be valuable if they desire to trade for an impact talent to pair with Brown and Jayson Tatum further down the road,” wrote Forsberg.
Will Boston Retain Schroder?
In the short term, it really comes down to Boston’s standing within the Eastern Conference hierarchy as we inch towards February’s trade deadline. When the C’s originally brought Schroder to Beantown it was viewed as a luxury move. The team added a scoring punch to their reworked backcourt while Schroder landed in a spot where he can flaunt his skill set in hopes of rebuilding his market value — so far, so good on both ends.
While Schroder being a one-year rental (or shorter) has always been a strong possibility, Boston could easily opt to forgo an in-season trade of the guard should the team around him start to take the shape of a true title contender.
“If Boston feels like it’s a legitimate contender and is OK with lingering above the tax line (there will be other ways to trim money, too), then Boston could simply ride out the season with Schroder while knowing its ability to re-sign or simply recoup value for Schroder is quite limited after the season,” noted Forsberg.
The latest Celtics news straight to your inbox! Join the Heavy on Celtics newsletter here!
As far as retaining Schroder beyond this season goes, that’s where things get a bit tricky. The Celtics can theoretically use the non-Bird exception to re-sign Schroder offering him up to 120 percent of his 2021-22 salary ($7 million). Considering that Schroder’s market was reportedly as high as $84 million just last season, chances are he’ll be looking for a far richer payday.
Of course, if Schroder proves over the course of this season to be a centerpiece of a deep playoff run for the Celtics, chances are Brad Stevens and company will do everything in their power to retain him moving forward. Yet, for now, the C’s will look for Schroder to simply continue providing his offensive spark off the bench and see where the season takes them.