The much-discussed pending marriage of Dennis Schroder and the Boston Celtics has officially commenced, as the two parties have agreed to tie the knot. According to ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski, the former Los Angeles Lakers point guard has agreed to a one-year deal for the team’s $5.9 million exception — a far cry from his rumored $100-$120 million contract desires.
The Boston Herald’s Mark Murphy reported earlier in the day that a source believes Schroder was “in a state of shock because of what he’s done,” referring to his decision to reject the Lakers’ four-year, $84 million extension last summer.
While Schroder may be left feeling a certain type of way over how things have played out financially, the Celtics come out as clear winners in this situation. By not deploying the full mid-level exception of $9.5 million on Schroder, Boston manages to stay under the $143 million hard cap. At the same time, they receive the services of a player just one year removed from finishing second in the NBA’s Sixth-Man of the Year voting at a position of need.
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Schroder to Come Off the Bench for Celtics?
Schroder started every game he played for the Lakers a season ago, marking only the third such occurrence he’s served as a full-time starter over his eight-year career. And by the sound of it, he may once again be returning to the bench with his new team. Per Murphy, the Celtics had pitched Schroder the idea of backing up Marcus Smart at point guard prior to the signing.
CelticsBlog’s Keith Smith has since added this tidbit:
Of course, this would be far from a foreign role for Schroder, who has excelled as the first player off the bench at numerous points in his career. In fact, he’s proven more efficient as a sixth-man, shooting 44.2% from the field over his last two seasons as a reserve, including a personal-best 38.5% from beyond the arc. In comparison, in his most recent two seasons as a starter (2017 and 2020), Schroder’s field-goal percentage checks in at 43.7%, while he’s never eclipsed 34.0% shooting from 3-point range in any season he’s started more than 14 games.
In 61 games with the Lakers, the German guard averaged 15.4 points, 3.5 rebounds and 1.1 steals. His 5.8 assists per contest marked his highest output since 2017. His numbers were fairly similar in Los Angeles’ abbreviated playoff run this season, averaging 14.3 points per game in the team’s first-round loss to the Phoenix Suns.
Smart’s Backcourt for the Long-Haul?
Schroder will now join a backcourt rotation in Boston consisting of Smart, Payton Pritchard, Carsen Edwards, Romeo Langford, newly acquired duo Kris Dunn and Josh Richardson, as well as stashed-guard Yam Madar.
As for Smart, the 27-year-old has been long expected to be the team’s starter come opening night in 2021, inheriting the gig from the departed Kemba Walker.
As things currently sit, the former No. 6 overall pick will be operating on an expiring deal next season. Having said that, the Celtics are reportedly waiting for a response from Smart’s agent, Jason Glushon, as the team is said to be open to a Smart extension worth “roughly $17 million” annually, spanning across four years, via Murphy.
With Walker hobbled by injuries last season, Smart proved capable of operating as lead-guard for the Celtics, flashing a new and improved skillset as a distributor. The Oklahoma State product averaged career highs in both assists (5.7) and points (13.1) in 48 games (45 starts) in 2020-21.