Back in December, the Lakers did the best they could in terms of offering an extension for newly acquired guard Dennis Schroder, a two-year, $33.4 million contract that was built on a 5% raise from the final year of his current deal ($15.5 million). Schroder turned down that offer, but only because he will have an opportunity to reap a bigger contract extension next month—not because he wants to bolt from the Lakers after this season.
In fact, this week, Schroder reiterated he desire to stay with the Lakers, who pulled off a trade to bring him to L.A. in November, sending out a draft pick and guard Danny Green.
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“From the first day, it felt like we have been together for like a month or two,” Schroder said, according to SilverScreenandRoll.com. “The chemistry is amazing. That’s the reason why I think I want to be here long-term, but like I said before, it’s always got to be fair on both ends. If it’s fair, then I ain’t got no problem. It’s going to be great to be here long-term, for sure.”
From the Lakers perspective, Schroder has given the team what it was seeking—a solid scorer who can make outside shots and act as a playmaker when LeBron James does not have the ball in his hands. Schroder is averaging 14.2 points, 4.8 assists and 4.1 rebounds, while making 37.2% of his 3-pointers.
Dennis Schroder Could Land an $83 Million Deal
The question will be whether what Schroder thinks is “fair” will match what the Lakers think is “fair.” As of next month, the Lakers can give him a four-year deal that starts at 120% of his current deal, or $18.6 million. He can get 8% raises from there, for four seasons. Schroder could get as much as $83 million in an extension.
That could be a bit high for Schroder, but four years in the range of $70-75 millon would be reasonable.
Entering the season, the concern about Schroder was trying to fit him into the Lakers’ lineup. He seemed better suited to play a sixth-man’s role—LeBron James led the league in assists last year as a point guard—but on his arrival in L.A., he said he wanted to be a starter, creating a potential for chemistry issues.
Instead, Schroder has started all 13 games and has fit in well, playing off the ball when James handles it and giving James a break from running the offense when he needs it. He has also gained appreciation from teammates for his persistent, pesky style of defense. James has taken to calling him, “Dennis the Menace.”
And, chemistry-wise, he has fit in seamlessly with James.
“I try to help him and try to get more Ws,” Schroder said last month. “Just try to be helpful for him. If he needs one and he says, ‘Dennis bring the ball up,’ I am going to do it.”
Dennis Schroder on sharing ball-handling duties on the Lakers with superstar LeBron James. pic.twitter.com/PVxUvCSh5S
— Ryan Ward (@RyanWardLA) December 17, 2020
Schroder on Lakers’ Chemistry: ‘We’re Always Having Fun’
Generally, Schroder has been happy with the chemistry the team has established in the early season. That was on display Tuesday when James prepared to launch a corner 3-pointer in front of the Lakers bench and Schroder yelled to him that he would bet $100 he missed it. James shot, turned toward Schroder and the ball went in on a no-look 3-pointer.
Here’s how Schroder put it:
We’re always having fun, you know in practice it’s all about having fun and being happy with your job. I think everybody when they wake up, they like to come to work. I think that is pretty important for us. … Like, we’re having fun, but at the same time, we’ve got to be serious and get to work. That’s what we’re doing and I’ve never been a part of it like that before.
I’m glad and grateful that I’m on this team and this organization and I can go out every night and kick some ass and just play. I think right now, we’re still learning, we’re still in progress, but we can still get better … it can get better from here.