The Sixers are already preparing to make Dennis Schröder a maximum-salary offer when he hits restricted free agency in 2017, reports Keith Pompey of the Philadelphia Inquirer, who hears from a source who expects the Sixers and Hawks to revisit talks about a Schröder trade this summer after Atlanta rejected offers from Philly before the deadline. Nik Stauskas, Ish Smith, a 2016 first-round pick and another player with an expiring contract were among those in packages the Sixers proposed to the Hawks to entice them to give up their 22-year-old backup point guard, multiple sources tell Pompey.
Atlanta was reticent to take Smith because he can walk as a free agent this summer, according to one of Pompey’s sources. The player on the expiring contract is said to be JaKarr Sampson, Pompey writes, though he wasn’t technically on an expiring deal, since his contract covered two more seasons after this one with non-guaranteed salary. Philadelphia dumped Sampson’s contract anyway to clear room for its three-way trade with the Rockets and Pistons, but by the time that swap was voided, Sampson had already signed a new deal with the Nuggets, preventing the Sixers from re-signing him as they hoped.
The 2016 first-round pick that would have gone to the Hawks in the Philadelphia offers was either the Lakers’ top-three-protected selection, Miami’s top-10-protected choice, or Oklahoma City’s top-15-protected pick, Pompey adds. The Sixers are also in control of their own selection, which is in pole position for the lottery, but apparently that wasn’t part of the talks.
The Hawks would have a chance to match any free agent offer for Schröder in 2017, though it seems, given recent trade rumors, that they’re well out in front of the decision they’d be faced with that summer, when starting point guard Jeff Teague is also set for free agency. Teague is more than five years older and would be an unrestricted free agent, so it makes sense that most of Atlanta’s trade talk reportedly centered on him instead of Schröder.
Philadelphia has played markedly better since trading for Smith on Christmas Eve, and Nerlens Noel continues to advocate for the Sixers to keep him. Still, Pompey suggests the team sees him merely as a backup, which is the role the sixth-year pro has primarily played throughout his career on the fringes of the NBA. He went unsigned for most of the offseason before the Wizards brought him to training camp on a one-year, non-guaranteed deal for the minimum salary. The Pelicans snagged him off waivers from Washington before flipping him to the Sixers.
The Sixers received Stauskas, the eighth overall pick in 2014, through an offseason trade with the Kings, but he’s yet to live up to his draft position. The jewel of the would-be deal with the Hawks was clearly to have been Schröder, the 17th overall pick from 2013 who’s averaging 11.2 points in just 21.0 minutes per game. He said this fall that while he likes playing in Atlanta, he nonetheless would like to start and would look elsewhere if the Hawks don’t give him an opportunity to do so. He’s eligible to sign a rookie scale extension this summer.