As we relayed earlier today, Dennis Schroder made some comments on Monday at a press conference for the German Basketball Federation that have raised eyebrows around the NBA. During that presser, Schroder talked about not wanting to keep finishing “second to last” in the East going forward, and specifically identified the Bucks and Pacers as teams he might like to play for, even though his contract with the Hawks runs through 2021.
“I have to look individually what’s the best for me,” Schroder said, per ESPN (via David Hein of FIBA.basketball). “I will be 25 in September and of course you want to win a title some time. In my prime — 23, 26, 27, 28, 29 — I want to compete. I cannot be second to last in the Eastern Conference. That’s why I will have the talks with the Atlanta Hawks.”
So what’s the story with Schroder? Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution explores that topic, writing that a person “in the know” says neither the point guard nor his agent have contacted the Hawks to discuss the possibility of a trade. In fact, according to Cunningham, all indications are that Schroder didn’t want to be traded at the deadline — he was bothered when his name came up in trade rumors, prompting Hawks GM Travis Schlenk to tell him he’d be staying put.
Schroder also said during Monday’s press conference that he’s “not in the position to decide what direction the organization will take,” per Cunningham. The veteran guard added that he’d like to stay in Atlanta “if everything moves into the right direction.”
Still, the Hawks have made no secret of the fact that they’re in the midst of what could be a lengthy rebuilding process, and Schroder’s other comments make it sound like he’s not interested in sticking around for that entire process. Schroder indicated that he’ll meet soon with Schlenk and Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler, so perhaps he’ll broach the subject of a trade during that meeting. For what it’s worth, the Hawks’ Reddit (Twitter link) noticed that Schroder also appears to have scrubbed his Instagram page of any mentions of his current team.
Complicating matters further is Schroder’s pending legal case. He was arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge last September, with Georgia officials recommending in March that he be prosecuted for felony aggravated battery. Schroder figures to face discipline from his team and/or the league when that case is resolved.
While it’s not clear what the next step here is for Schroder and the Hawks, it’ll be a story worth watching during the 2018 offseason, and perhaps the first major challenge for new head coach Lloyd Pierce.