The Los Angeles Lakers had a shot at Kyle Lowry. They were willing to trade Dennis Schroder but reportedly wouldn't involve Talen Horton-Tucker. The deal went away. Lowry stayed in Toronto, and Schroder with the Lakers, who are now going to have to back up a relative Brinks truck to keep Schroder as an unrestricted free agent this summer.
And even that might not be enough. According to ESPN's Brian Windhorst, who spoke to the situation on his most recent Hoop Collective podcast, the Lakers offered Schroder a max extension a month ago, and he turned it down.
The most that Schroder can extend for under his current contract is four years, $84 million. What I have been told is the Lakers did indeed offer him that $84 million over four years ... and he said no. He said no to that extension. And subsequently the Lakers offered him in trade for Kyle Lowry.
That Schroder reportedly turned this extension down doesn't mean he's leaving the Lakers this summer. It just means he wants more money, and in a thin 2021 free-agent market, he believes he can get it. The Lakers don't have the salary cap space to go outside their own roster to replace Schroder, so they'll have to pay him what he wants, at least up to a reasonable point, if they don't want to get worse.
(Side note: The Lakers will have a similar decision to make with Montrezl Harrell, who likely won't have quite the open-market value Schroder does but will almost certainly turn down his 2021-22 $9.7 million player option for a run at free agency on the heels of the strong season he's putting together).
Back to Schroder, who probably has his eyes set on something in the $100 million over four years range. As good as Schroder has been as a second creator next to LeBron James, that's a lot for a lead guard-type shooting 31 percent from 3. Even more troubling is the duration of the deal, which could jam up the Lakers' books through 2025.
That's what made Lowry so attractive. Not only is he a significantly better player than Schroder right now, but the two-year, $50 million extension he was reportedly seeking from whatever team might have traded for him would've cleared the Lakers' books in 2023, the same year LeBron's current deal ends. The Lakers could've reset at that point with the ability to create max space to start building the next era around Anthony Davis.
But again, they didn't want to include Horton-Tucker. We'll see if that bites them. What we know is that passing on Lowry put the Lakers in a tight spot with Schroder, who has the leverage because he knows the Lakers can't effectively replace him and he's going to have options to play against them.
It's not a guarantee Schroder is going to get an offer beyond the ballpark $84 million the Lakers reportedly put on the table. Not a lot of teams have cap space, and Schroder isn't an All-Star. Fred VanVleet got $84 million from Toronto, and arguing Schroder is better than VanVleet is a tough sell. I'd call it an impossible one. Still, he's going to get paid. The Lakers tried to do it once, and Schroder said no. They might have to try harder this summer.