Dennis Schroder may have cost himself millions this offseason. Could that pay off for the Boston Celtics in 2021-22?
The veteran point guard reportedly turned down a four-year, $84 million contract extension from the Los Angeles Lakers in March, only to watch his value plummet in a crowded free agent market after a disappointing second half of the season.
Schroder joined the Celtics earlier this month on a one-year deal worth just $5.9 million, a fraction of what he could have earned in Los Angeles. As Portland Trail Blazers point guard CJ McCollum noted on his "Pull Up with CJ McCollum" podcast, Schroder's financial situation could light a fire under the 27-year-old.
"He’s got a lot to prove," McCollum said of Schroder. "Now he’s probably angry. He’s probably a little frustrated at the situation but also motivated.
"I think one of the best things about slights or going through struggles or potentially turning down money -- similar to what John Collins did (with the Atlanta Hawks) -- you come in motivated and you also understand what’s at stake."
Collins signed a five-year, $125 million contract this with the Hawks offseason after reportedly turning down Atlanta's $90 million extension offer last year, so even if Schroder isn't on Collins' level, there's evidence that betting on yourself can pay off.
"He knows there’s a lot at stake for this season," McCollum said. "I think his approach, his mindset, his mentality is going to be different going into this year."
Schroder averaged 15.4 points and 5.8 assists per game as the Lakers' starting point guard last season but saw his shooting percentage dip from his strong 2019-20 campaign as a sixth man for the Oklahoma City Thunder. He was also sidelined twice due to COVID-19 protocols and missed seven games down the stretch for L.A.
Schroder could return to that sixth man role in Boston, coming off the bench to provide an offensive boost behind starter Marcus Smart while relieving some defensive pressure on Jayson Tatum and Jaylen Brown.
McCollum likes Schroder's fit on a new-look Celtics team and believes the Germany native will do everything in his power this season to prove his worth.
“I think this will be a good year for him to show what he’s kind of capable of in Boston," McCollum added. "Play alongside some good players and potentially try to earn back some of that money he allegedly turned down."