We should all bet on ourselves when the opportunity presents itself.
For a number of reasons, a record amount of people quit their jobs this year. Many because they’re either prioritizing mental health, or maybe it was realizing the efficiency at which they’ve produced from home, and yet their company insisted on rushing them back into the office. Or perhaps it was the chance, finally, to bet on themselves.
Dennis Schröder didn’t quit his job, but he entirely bet on himself, a concept we romanticize with other athletes and people in general. It’s easier said than done — much easier. Even dangerous in some cases. Schröder, in terms of millions potentially lost, or about to be lost, is on the high-end of people who’ve bet on themselves in a misguided and mismanaged fashion. He might overtake the crown previously worn by Victor Oladipo, and even that was circumstantial.
While still with the Indiana Pacers early last season, Oladipo was reportedly offered an extension starting in the $25 million range, annually. A four-year contract worth a total value of nearly $113 million was the most Indiana could offer, similar (just $4 million short) to what the New York Knicks presented to Julius Randle this summer, which he accepted. Oladipo had the potential to earn four years and $145 million had he entered free agency (like Randle this past year would have, had he not signed his extension this summer). Instead, Oladipo elected not to take the money brought to him in that moment.
Oladipo was offered that deal after the 2019-20 season, in which he returned following a ruptured quad suffered the season before, averaging uninspiring numbers. In the 2020-21 season, after being traded to the Houston Rockets as part of the James Harden return, Oladipo also turned down a two-year, $45 million extension from his then new team. He was moved again prior to the trade deadline to the Miami Heat, where he played four games, re-injured his quad, and opted for surgery, which could sideline him until at least November, if not longer. Oladipo has since returned to the Heat, reportedly for the veteran minimum. Womp womp.
Now, Schröder is a special kind of mismanagement, because his contractual woes are not health-related, as far as the public knows. The dynamic 6-foot-3 combo guard nearly won Sixth Man of the Year in 2019-20, after having his best season to date. He was then traded to the Los Angeles Lakers in the last year of a four-year, $70 million extension he had signed while with the Atlanta Hawks years ago. While with the Lakers, he was feeling himself, reportedly rejecting a four-year, $84 million contract, which mirrored deals signed by Fred VanVleet and Malcolm Brogdon over the last two summers, as well as Lonzo Ball just days ago. Schröder allegedly had been looking in the $100-120 million range.
Maybe after the Thunder season, or a second consecutive Thunder-like season (but under the Laker spotlight), Schröder still might not have gotten to that range, but perhaps $90 million over four wouldn’t have been out of the question? We’ll never know, because not only did he not get that offe, he also didn’t play very well under the purple and gold magnifying glass. Schröder averaged 15.4 points and 5.8 assists per game in 32.1 minutes per contest through 61 appearances, all of which were starts. His shooting splits were also just 44/34/85, which were actually very close to his career averages. However, in 2019-20, he played in 65 games, starting just two, but averaging 30.8 minutes per. He posted 18.9 points and 4.0 assists per game playing alongside Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander, shooting 47/39/84, the first two were career-high tallies. The significant drop-off between regular seasons wasn’t helped in the postseason, where Schröder contributed an uninspiring 14.3 points and 2.8 assists per contest on 40/31/85 shooting splits in the Lakers’ first-round six-game playoff series loss to the Phoenix Suns.
Eight days after the official start to free agency last Monday, most of the key players have signed, the money has dried, and Schröder is reportedly being offered one-year worth $5.9 million. At this point, if he wants to play in the NBA this season, he might have to accept it, because it might be the best a team will do at this point.
The lesson here is not to not bet on yourself. If you can, do it. Just make sure you’re either proceeding within reason, or simply willing to deal with the possible ramifications. The fallout is relative, as it relates to Schröder and Oladipo, who are already incredibly wealthy and neither of whom are 30 years old yet. But for you, it might be worth it, because you’re likely not turning down these kinds of figures!