More than a week week after the 2021 NBA free agency period began, Dennis Schroder is finally off the board. The veteran point guard agreed to a one-year, $5.9 million deal with the Boston Celtics on Tuesday, according to Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN. Shortly after Wojnarowski’s report, Schroder confirmed the news that he would be joining the Celtics via his Instagram page.
Schroder spent last season with the Los Angeles Lakers and prior to the trade deadline the team reportedly offered him a four-year, $84 million extension. In an apparent attempt to bet on himself, Schroder turned that offer down and decided to see what he could get this summer. That, obviously, turned out to be a bad decision.
He got injured towards the end of the season and didn’t play well in the last few games of the Lakers’ first-round loss to the Suns. When free agency rolled around, there were more point guards looking for big deals than teams with a need and the requisite cap space. While the likes of Chris Paul, Kyle Lowry, Lonzo Ball, Mike Conley and, to a slightly lesser extent, Spencer Dinwiddie, Devonte’ Graham and Derrick Rose all cashed in, Schroder was the odd man out.
While he probably could have gotten more than $5.9 million somewhere, he decided to double down on his own abilities, and will use this season with the Celtics to prove his worth ahead of free agency in 2022. With the Celtics also looking ahead to the future, this appears to be a short-term partnership where both sides can help each other.
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The Celtics needed some point guard depth after losing Kemba Walker, and Schroder is more than capable of filling that role. He didn’t have the best season with the Lakers, but there were some injuries and trying to fit in alongside LeBron James isn’t always the easiest thing to do. Even so, he still put up 15.4 points and 5.8 assists per game. He’s not much of a 3-point threat, but he’ll provide a much-needed attacking presence — his four free throw attempts per game last season would have been third on the Celtics — and can help their perimeter defense. He’ll help bridge the gap and keep the Celtics competitive this season while maintaining their flexibility going forward.
As for Schroder, he’ll get a chance to play in a big market, team up with two of the best young wings in the league and compete in the postseason. Based on how the roster looks right now, Schroder should slot in as the back-up point guard and get significant minutes off the bench. And since the Celtics are going to need his scoring to compliment Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown, he’ll have a chance to put up some numbers. If he plays well for the Celtics and helps them bounce back from a disappointing season, he could make back some of the money he lost with a bigger offer in 2022 free agency.