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After years of playoff contention, the Atlanta Hawks are knee-deep in a full rebuild, and point guard Dennis Schroder may not be on board with the franchise’s direction moving forward.
According to international basketball reporter David Hein, Schroder will meet with Hawks management in the coming days, and he strongly implied that he has little interest in playing on a perennial lottery team.
Schroder, who just wrapped up the first year of a four-year, $ 70 million extension, is coming off a disappointing season. He averaged a career-high 19.4 points per game, but he had one of his worst shooting campaigns, hitting only 29 percent of his three-pointers.
That lack of floor-spacing ability puts him out of step with many of the NBA‘s elite point guards. Between that and his contract, his trade value isn’t high right now.
Schroder mentioned the Milwaukee Bucks and Indiana Pacers as teams on an upward trajectory that he would be interested in joining, per Hein. Those teams indeed are competitive now, while the Hawks will not be for a few more years.
The Hawks underwent a full organizational makeover over the past year. Former Golden State Warriors executive Travis Schlenk is wrapping up his first season as the team’s general manager, and Atlanta hired former Philadelphia 76ers assistant Lloyd Pierce as its new head coach last week to replace Mike Budenholzer. The Hawks’ focus right now is on player development, and they’d likely love to get out from under Schroder’s contract.
Here are a few teams who could make buy-low plays for the German point guard.
Milwaukee Bucks get: Dennis Schroder
Atlanta Hawks get: John Henson, D.J. Wilson
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The Bucks are one of the teams Schroder expressed an interest in joining. They don’t have a surefire long-term starting point guard, as Malcolm Brogdon has been in and out of the starting lineup, and Eric Bledsoe has just one year remaining on his contract.
Milwaukee could send John Henson to the Hawks—he’s owed $ 20.3 million over the next two years, which is a far smaller burden than Schroder’s deal—and D.J. Wilson, who’s coming off a rookie season in which he didn’t play much.
The Hawks are still in the stage where they’re evaluating young players, so Wilson could be a worthy flier for them, while Milwaukee is focused on winning now.
Still, it’s questionable whether Schroder is a good fit next to Giannis Antetokounmpo given his lack of shooting ability.
Indiana Pacers get: Dennis Schroder
Atlanta Hawks get: Darren Collison
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Indiana is the other team Schroder mentioned as one he’d like to join.
Given the Pacers’ unexpected playoff run, general manager Kevin Pritchard could be reticent to make a major change like adding Schroder. But they can make it happen from a financial standpoint, and he’d be an interesting fit alongside Victor Oladipo in the backcourt.
This deal would be a pure salary dump for Atlanta—something the Hawks should welcome after they won the third pick in the 2018 NBA draft lottery Tuesday—as only $ 2 million of Collison’s $ 10 million salary for next season is guaranteed until July 1.
Brooklyn Nets get: Dennis Schroder
Atlanta Hawks get: Timofey Mozgov, 2018 second-round pick (via Lakers)
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With Jeremy Lin and D’Angelo Russell both battling injuries this season, the Nets don’t have a dependable starting point guard going forward. They could give Schroder a look in that spot while also getting rid of Mozgov’s bloated contract.
Mozgov has one fewer year left on his deal than Schroder, and since the Hawks are rebuilding, it won’t matter if he doesn’t contribute in the short term.
Atlanta can either stretch Mozgov or keep him to use as a trade chip closer to the end of his contract, and the team gets the Lakers’ second-rounder (No. 40 overall) to use on another prospect.
Orlando Magic get: Dennis Schroder
Atlanta Hawks get: Nikola Vucevic
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The Magic have nothing to lose by trading for Schroder. Their roster is a mess on every level, and they still don’t have a coach.
Orlando is essentially a blank canvas, albeit with some bad contracts on the books.
Since losing Jameer Nelson in the summer of 2014, the Magic haven’t had any stability at the point guard position, cycling through the likes of Elfrid Payton, Shabazz Napier, Shelvin Mack and D.J. Augustin with little success. If nothing else, Schroder is under contract for three more years and would provide some certainty at that spot.
If Orlando believes Schroder would benefit from a change of scenery, it could send Vucevic’s expiring contract to Atlanta for him.
Phoenix Suns get: Dennis Schroder
Atlanta Hawks get: Tyson Chandler
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If the Suns decide to take Deandre Ayton over Luka Doncic with the No. 1 overall pick in next month’s draft, they’ll be woefully thin at the point. Payton is set to be a restricted free agent in July, and Brandon Knight missed the entire 2017-18 season with a torn ACL.
Buying low on Schroder could give them an option to pair in the backcourt with Devin Booker.
The incumbent Suns guard shot 38.3 percent from the three-point line last season, and he has improved that aspect of his game every year since he entered the league in 2015. That should take away any concern of pairing him next to a player who struggled from deep in 2017-18.
In this deal, the Hawks get back Chandler’s expiring contract, which they can either flip to another team looking to dump salary or buy out later on as they continue their rebuild.