The Los Angeles Lakers have begun engaging with starting point guard Dennis Schroder in contract extension talks, and those discussions are expected to pick up again as soon as mid-February, sources tell ESPN.
Before the start of the season, Schroder turned down an initial Lakers offer to extend his contract for an additional two-years and $33.4 million, sources said — an overture that represented the maximum allowable offer the Lakers could make him prior to February 16.
Schroder, who entered the final year of a $15.5 million contract, becomes eligible to extend that deal for more money, and more years — as much as $83 million over four years — between February 16 through the start of the 2021 offseason.
Schroder, 27, had a strong debut for the Lakers against the Clippers on Tuesday, nearly reaching a triple-double (14 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds) and delivering a point guard dimension that the franchise hasn’t possessed in years. The Lakers acquired Schroder in multi-team trade with Oklahoma City that cost them a 2021 first-round pick and guard Danny Green.
The Lakers can offer a starting salary of $18.6 million starting with the 2021-2022 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.
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. To lose Schroder in free agency would leave the Lakers limited in replacing him, because they’d only have a $9.5 million midlevel exception available to use in free agency.
Because Schroder had been traded in the offseason — arriving in a deal with Oklahoma City — he had been eligible for only an additional two years and 105 percent increase off his current $15.5 million salary.
In seven NBA seasons in Atlanta and Oklahoma City, Schroder reached the playoffs in six of those seasons — including one of best overall years with the Thunder in 2019-2020: Averaging 18.9 points, four assists, four rebounds and nearly .385 three-point shooting percentage.