Dennis Schroder sets record straight in Lakers practice debut

Dennis Schroder sets record straight in Lakers practice debut

The first order of business for Dennis Schroder on Monday after his first day of practice with the Lakers was to tell his side of the story about reports that he turned down a lucrative contract extension during his first stint with Los Angeles.

Schroder maintained that “there never was a contract” offer from the Lakers that the media reported about when the point guard played for them during the 2020-21 season.

Numerous media reports said Schroder turned down a four-year deal worth about $80 million offered by Rob Pelinka, the Lakers’ vice president of basketball operations and general manager. Schroder is back with the Lakers on a one-year, veteran-minimum deal of $2.64 million.

“There never was a contract, never rejected anything,” Schroder said. “I don’t know who brought it up, but that’s the media, you know? But at the end of the day, no contract and I’m just happy to be here. Like you said, unfinished business and we just got to take care of the stuff and win a chip [championship]. That’s, I think, the goal, and other than that, with the contract, that’s not true. But I think you guys can ask Rob and see what he has to say about that.”

Schroder joined the Boston Celtics last year on a one-year, $5.9-million deal, but he finished the season with the Houston Rockets, playing in a combined 64 games while averaging 13.5 points and 4.6 assists.

Though he’s just 29, Schroder is entering his 10th season in the NBA.

He was asked whether job security and a long-term deal were important to him.

“Of course, it would be great to sign a big deal and a longer-term deal, and that’s my goal still,” he said. “But at the end of the day, we are here now and I’m going to do everything I can right now to just help my teammates win ballgames.”

Schroder was solid for this Lakers during his one season with the team. He averaged 15.4 points and 5.8 assists and played well on defense.

Schroder and new Lakers coach Darvin Ham have a past relationship from the time they were together for five years with the Atlanta Hawks.

On his first day of practice, Ham saw how tough Schroder can be on defense.

“He definitely [was] picking up full court when we did our little scrimmaging session,” Ham said. “But also, being aware that he hasn’t been around so he’s trying to take things into account of how we’re doing it. A lot of this stuff we did when he was with us in Atlanta defensively. Offensively, it’s a little bit different, but it’s not too complicated where he can’t pick it up on the fly. So, we’ll have our coaches script him. He and some other guys will have some really good script session over the next few days. I expect him to rise to the occasion, soak in all the information and be able to apply it pretty quickly.”

Ham said Schroder will play a few minutes in Wednesday night’s exhibition game against the Minnesota Timberwolves at Crypto.com Arena.

While Schroder previously started for the Lakers, he now wants to play his role.

“For me defensively, I’m going to try to be defensive-minded,” he said. “Of course, try to involve my teammates and be aggressive, like what I did before for the last nine years. And I’m looking forward to it, to competing with Pat Bev [Beverley]. I’ve played against him a couple of times. I seen today already he’s a little different, and I mean, I like it. We all competitors, and we try to get after it.”

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