NBA Free Agency Report: Dennis Schroder, Los Angeles Lakers Talking About Long-Term Partnership
The Los Angeles Lakers are looking to lock up Dennis Schroder to a long-term extension to keep their current core in the long run. The Lakers have already secured new deals for LeBron James, Anthony Davis, and Kyle Kuzma since the offseason. Los Angeles traded Danny Green and a first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Schroder, and the Lakers are determined to keep him in a purple and gold uniform.
Schroder is playing in the final season of his four-year, $70 million contract. If no extension is signed this season, Schroder will be a part of the stacked free-agency class next year. Los Angeles reportedly tried to discuss a contract extension with Schroder during the offseason, but the 27-year-old guard and his camp turned down the two-year, $33.4 million offer from the Lakers, per Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
But despite failing to reach an agreement in the offseason, Wojnarowski reported that the Lakers have already reached out to Schroder and his camp about the extension talks. However, no deal is imminent at this point, and the two sides are expected to intensify the negotiation mid-February. Waiting until February makes a lot of sense for the German playmaker because he could get as much as $83 million over four seasons from the Lakers.
"The Lakers can offer a starting salary of $18.6 million starting with the 2021-22 season, which creates much more of a realistic opportunity for the Lakers, Schroder and his agent, Alex Saratsis, to find a landing spot on a market-value extension with the Lakers," Wojnarowski said. "If there's no deal before the offseason, the Lakers possessed Schroder's Bird rights to go over the salary cap in re-signing him."
But while the Lakers hold the Bird rights of Schroder, it also makes sense for them to sign him to an extension instead of running risk of losing him in free agency next year. It can be remembered that most teams prepared for the 2021 free agency to make a run at stars like Giannis Antetokounmpo and Paul George, but both superstars have already inked extensions with the Milwaukee Bucks and Los Angeles Clippers, respectively.
The Lakers are eyeing to become contenders in the long run and maximize the remaining years of four-time NBA Most Valuable Player LeBron James. In the event they lose Schroder in free agency, it would be hard for the Lakers to replace him with a player of the same caliber because of cap limitations. After signing James, Davis, and Kuzma to extensions, the best the Lakers can offer to a marquee free agent is their $9.5 million midlevel exception.
Schroder, who averaged 18.9 points and 4.0 assists per game with the Oklahoma City Thunder last season, finished second in the 2020 NBA Sixth Man of the Year race. And despite playing in a more stacked roster this season, the eight-year veteran is off to a strong start this season, averaging 16.0 points to go along with 7.0 assists and 7.0 rebounds as the Lakers' starting point guard.
According to Silver Screen and Roll, Davis has given a big endorsement for Schroder. When asked about the talks between the Lakers and Schroder about an extension, the superstar forward praised Schroder for adapting quickly to his new team, making an impact in his first two games this season. Davis previously said that their new guys clicked with the holdovers right from the start of training camp.
"He’s adapted really quickly," Davis said of Schroder. "He’s a guy who wants to learn, who wants to be great on both sides of the ball, he’s always talking. From what I’ve seen, he likes it here so far and it’d be great to lock him in for the next couple of years."
Lakers head coach Frank Vogel is also loving what he is seeing from Schroder so far. Vogel, who is known as a defensive-minded coach, raved about Schroder's ability to become a pest on the defensive end of the floor because of his physical gifts. But aside from his defensive prowess, Schroder also received praises from his new coach for his playmaking skills and his aggressiveness.
"Dennis is a dynamic player. We’re so excited to have him here," Vogel said via Los Angeles Times. "He’s a pest defensively, picking up full court. Long arms, can get his hands on the ball and deflect the ball. What he can do to our team really better than anyone else is really get into the paint and his ability to wreak havoc on the defense and create things for others."
And as for Schroder, there is no question on his end that he wants to stay a Laker for a long time. However, Schroder said that an extension will only be completed if its fair for both parties. But accessing his first few months in a Lakers uniform, the veteran point guard said that he is impressed with the organization, and is developing great chemistry with his new teammates and coaching staff.
"This is a hell of an organization, what I’ve seen so far," Schroder said. "Teammates are amazing, people here, they do everything for you and your family. Just what you want to be. You want to be in that environment where you can just focus on basketball every day."
Aside from Schroder's extension, the Lakers will also have to make more roster decisions as the season progresses. Contenders like the Lakers tend to sign free agents midway or late in the season after assessing their current group. According to Sean Deveney of Heavy, the Lakers could have plenty of choices late in the season among the remaining free agents on the market.
Deveney said that if the Lakers want to add a shooter, they could go for Kyle Korver but he pointed out that he could be a defensive liability for Los Angeles. Ersan Ilyasova and Taj Gibson were also mentioned as options. Rondae Hollis-Jefferson was also tagged as an ideal fit because of his defensive ability, but there are doubts about his ability to shoot from beyond the arc.
"Jefferson is a very good wing defender and when it comes to being a 3- and-D guy, he has the 'D' part secured. It's the '3' that eludes him," Deveney said of Hollis-Jefferson, who was recently waived by the Minnesota Timberwolves. "He has taken only 0.7 per game in his career and made 21.3%. Still, he rebounds, he plays defense and he can make midrange jumper."
Steve Nash Talks About New Contract for Jarrett Allen
The Brooklyn Nets failed to reach a contract extension agreement with Jarrett Allen in the offseason, which means that the young center will become a restricted free agent in the offseason. Allen joined fellow 2017 Draft Class members John Collins and Lauri Markkanen, who also failed to get a new deal from the Atlanta Hawks and the Chicago Bulls, respectively.
The Nets still have some sort of leverage because Allen being a restricted free agent means that they would have the rights to match any offer to keep him in Brooklyn. Nets rookie head coach Steve Nash said that he has not talked to Allen about his contract situation, but the former NBA Most Valuable Player believes that the 22-year-old center is due for a big contract sooner than later.
"I haven’t talked to him about that," Nash said of Allen's contract extension via Nets Daily. "We are focused on the season. He’s got a bright future. He is going to have a big contract whenever the time is and we are just trying to figure out who we are as a team."
Brooklyn's current luxury tax situation is viewed as the main reason why they opted not to extend the contract of Allen. It was also reported that the former Texas standout is looking for a big deal, with reports saying that he is eyeing around $90 million over five years. If the first two games of the season will serve as a barometer, the 2017 22nd overall pick is unlikely to get such deal.
Allen averaged 8.5 points to go along with 9.0 rebounds and 3.0 blocks to open the season, serving a backup to former All-Star center DeAndre Jordan. However, it is worth noting that Nash has been raving about him, citing his impact beyond his numbers. Nash lauded Allen's activity and his value on the defensive end of the floor for the Nets, who does not need much scoring from Allen because they have high-scoring stars in Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving.
"The guy was unbelievable," Nash said of Allen. "He was good in the first half; he was special in the second half. That's what it's going to take to win, especially as we’re forming here, is special efforts; and man, he was good. Defensively, protecting the rim, loose balls, rebounding at both ends, he was outstanding. We're proud of him and he's continuing and improving at this stage of his career."