Dennis Schröder

Western Notes: Ball, Allen, Schroder, Rose

Magic Johnson knows a thing or two about passing — he ranks fifth in career assists with 10,141 — but Johnson, a three-time NBA MVP, also knows the importance of scoring. Johnson held a stellar mark of 11.2 assists per game in his career, but his ability to keep defenders guessing by also becoming an elite scorer is what truly made him great.

Johnson, who is in his second year as Lakers President of Basketball Operations, strongly believes this is the transition Lonzo Ball must now enter, according to Nick Schwartz of USA TODAY Sports. Ball has already become an accomplished passer, but has plenty of room to grow as a scorer.

“He has to learn how to attack the paint and get his floaters, and then take it all the way to the rim,” Johnson said. “He loves to pass first – and that’s fine, we want him to stay with that – but a lot of times now the defense is baiting him. ‘Go ahead and drive the lane, we know you’re going to kick it out.’ So they don’t really play him. So he’s got to take it all the way.

“He’s got to be able to score. And once he’s able to score… he can do everything else. He can play defense. He’s one of the best rebounding guards in the league. And he knows how to get his teammates great shots. We want him to keep the pace going, because we want to run, run, and run.”

Drafted by Johnson’s group, Ball, 20, can help round-out his overall offensive game by taking these strides. He made his season debut on Thursday against the Trail Blazers, three months after undergoing knee surgery.

There’s more from the Western Conference:

  • The Trail Blazers were more than just a team for the late Paul Allen — they were his passion, writes Jason Quick of The Athletic. Allen passed away this week after a battle with Hodgkin’s lymphoma. He owned the Blazers for 30 seasons, purchasing the franchise in 1988.
  • Dennis Schroder proved his worth in the Thunder’s season-opener on Tuesday, Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman writes. Schroder finished with 21 points, eight rebounds and six assists in 34 minutes of work, filling in for the injured Russell Westbrook.
  • Derrick Rose‘s role will fluctuate with the return of Jimmy Butler, writes Chris Hine of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Rose was labeled as a starter alongside Jeff Teague before Butler’s return, but came off the bench in the team’s first game this week. “[Rose] has the versatility to play with both groups,” coach Tom Thibodeau said. “So he’s gotten comfortable playing the off guard; his natural position is the point. I think you can mix and match with those guys.”

NBA GMs Weigh In On 2018/19 Season

NBA.com has completed its annual survey of NBA general managers, with John Schuhmann of NBA.com asking each of the league’s 30 GMs to answer an array of questions about the league’s top teams, players, and coaches. Unsurprisingly, the Warriors are once again viewed by the NBA’s general managers as the overwhelming favorites to be the last team standing, with 26 of 30 GMs (87%) picking Golden State to win the NBA championship for the fourth time in five years.

While there are many responses in the GM survey worth checking out, we’ll focus on rounding up some of the more noteworthy ones related to rosters and player movement. Let’s dive in…

  • LeBron James (30%) and Kevin Durant (27%) are viewed as the frontrunners for the 2018/19 MVP award, but two younger players led the voting for the player GMs would most want to build a franchise around starting today. Bucks star Giannis Antetokounmpo (30%) and Pelicans big man Anthony Davis (23%) led the way in that category. Interestingly, Timberwolves center Karl-Anthony Towns didn’t receive a single vote this year after leading the way with 29% of the vote in 2017.
  • The Lakers‘ signing of James helped them earn 70% of the vote for the team that made the best overall moves this offseason. The Raptors, buoyed by their acquisition of Kawhi Leonard, finished second at 20%.
  • A ton of different signings and trade acquisitions received votes for the most underrated addition of the summer, with the Pacers‘ signing of Tyreke Evans barely leading the way with four votes. The Spurs‘ trade for DeMar DeRozan, the Bulls‘ signing of Jabari Parker, the Pelicans‘ addition of Julius Randle, and the Thunder‘s acquisition of Dennis Schroder received three votes apiece.
  • DeMarcus Cousins‘ decision to join the Warriors (35%) was considered the most surprising move of the offseason, followed by the Spurs/Raptors blockbuster trade (29%) and Paul George remaining with the Thunder (19%).
  • While Mavericks guard Luka Doncic is the strong frontrunner for Rookie of the Year, GMs expect Suns center Deandre Ayton and Grizzlies big man Jaren Jackson Jr. to be the best players five years from now. Meanwhile, the Clippers‘ selection of Shai Gilgeous-Alexander at No. 11 was viewed by the most GMs as the steal of the draft.
  • The Sixers (47%) and Celtics (33%) dominated voting for the teams with the most promising young cores.

Thunder Notes: George, Championship, Schroder

Paul George, who surprisingly re-signed with the Thunder on a four-year deal over the summer, believes Oklahoma City is ready to contend for a championship.

“Absolutely,” George said when asked if the Thunder are built to contend (via Royce Young of ESPN.com). “We’ve got the chemistry. Me being around these guys going on about to be two years now, there’s an expectation and a level we know we need to play at. I think the consistency part you’ll see with us now being able to play well against the sub-.500 teams. But I definitely think this team has a chance. The reason why I signed back here is because I believed in it. And everybody in here believes. It’s on us, we’ve got our work cut out and it’s not going to be easy, but we’re up for it.”

Here’s more from Oklahoma City:

  • The Thunder added Dennis Schroder this offseason and his new teammates are excited about what the point guard brings, Erik Horne of The Oklahoman writes. “His ability just to read the different screens, and not just read them but set up his man, if that makes sense,” Steven Adams said when asked about Schroder. “It’s a big difference that I notice in guards that know how to use pick-and-rolls.”
  • Schroder finds himself trying to emulate Russell Westbrook‘s game at times and he’s looking forward to playing with the former MVP, as Horne passes along in the same piece. “That’s what really excites me right now. To play with Russ and Paul George, to be out there with them, I think means a lot for me,” Schroder said.
  • Schroder is facing a felony battery charge and the team spoke with him about it prior to trading for him, Horne adds in the same piece. The 25-year-old said his pending charges as “nothing to worry about.”

Northwest Notes: Wolves, Nader, Schroder, Millsap

The Timberwolves have hosted a handful of free agents for a workout this week, with Marcus Georges-Hunt, Rashad Vaughn, and John Jenkins among the latest players to earn a look from Minnesota, per Jon Krawczynski of The Athletic (Twitter link). Darren Wolfson of ESPN 1500 (Twitter link) also adds Eric Moreland to the list of players auditioned by the Wolves.

Nick Young, Arron Afflalo and Corey Brewer worked out for the Timberwolves too, but according to Jerry Zgoda of the Star Tribune, a number of agents believe the Wolves simply plan to sign Luol Deng, making them reluctant to send their players for a workout with the team. Minnesota reportedly launched its pursuit of Deng this week.

There’s more from the Northwest Division:

  • Following his trade from the Celtics this summer, Thunder forward Abdel Nader is looking forward to his new opportunity with the team, relays Nick Gallo of OKCThunder.com. “It’s great,” Nader said. “I met a lot of the younger guys mostly, and even Russ, PG, Raymond (Felton). Everybody has been great. It’s a great group of guys. High character guys. I’m just really excited to be able to start playing with this team and build chemistry on the court as well as off the court.”
  • Dennis Schroder, who was also traded to the Thunder this summer, discussed his upcoming season, the difficulties he faced growing up in Germany and the advice he received from Dirk Nowitzki in a separate piece written by Nick Gallo. Schroder will provide depth off the bench behind All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook this season.
  • Nuggets forward Paul Millsap is set to start the season injury-free after wrist surgery forced him to miss 44 games last year, as detailed by Chris Dempsey of Nuggets.com. Millsap will be relied upon to anchor Denver’s defense and stretch the club’s offense.

Thunder Notes: Schroder, Nader, Hall, Hervey

Six days after initially reaching an agreement with the Hawks and Sixers, the Thunder have officially completed the trade that sends Carmelo Anthony and a future first-round pick to Atlanta, with Oklahoma City acquiring Dennis Schroder and Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot.

As we detailed in our story on the trade, the move will create a traded player exception for the Thunder worth about $10.88MM and will also go a long way toward reducing the club’s projected tax bill. Oklahoma City’s salary remains well over the tax line, but the team’s projected tax penalties now work out to about $88.75MM rather than $150MM+. Taking into account their $148.74MM in player salaries, the Thunder are looking at a total roster cost of about $237.5MM for now.

Here’s more out of OKC:

  • Berry Tramel of The Oklahoman explores whether Schroder makes sense in the old Reggie Jackson role on the Thunder’s roster, while Erik Horne of The Oklahoman examines the on-court fit of OKC’s newest guard and wonders whether the franchise can help rebuild the 24-year-old’s image.
  • In another article for The Oklahoman, Tramel praises the work that GM Sam Presti has done in turning another seemingly unmovable contract into a useful asset. While Tramel’s argument is fair, I’d push back on his assertion that Schroder will be a better fit than Anthony from a chemistry perspective, given the whispers we heard about the point guard in Atlanta. The impact on team chemistry is yet to be determined, in my opinion, as are the long-term financial benefits of swapping Anthony’s $27.93MM expiring contract for Schroder’s $15.5MM annual salary over three years.
  • In a piece focusing on newly-acquired wing Abdel Nader, Brett Dawson of The Oklahoman notes that 2018 second-rounders Devon Hall and Kevin Hervey appears “less likely” to be on the club’s regular-season roster. The Thunder still have two open roster slots (one 15-man, one two-way), but there’s no guarantee they’ll fill both of them, and 45th overall pick Hamidou Diallo would likely take priority.

Anthony To Hawks, Schroder To Thunder In Three-Team Trade

JULY 25: The three-team trade involving the Thunder, Hawks, and Sixers is now official, according to a series of press releases. The deal took several days to finalize because the clubs had to complete a few other roster moves first, including Philadelphia signing Jonah Bolden earlier today.

Upon being released by the Hawks, Anthony intends to sign with the Rockets.

JULY 19: The Thunder and Hawks have agreed to a trade that will send Carmelo Anthony and a protected 2022 first-round pick to Atlanta, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski (via Twitter). According to Wojnarowski, Oklahoma City will receive Dennis Schroder in the deal. Royce Young of ESPN adds (via Twitter) that the 2022 first-rounder will have 1-14 protection, and will turn into two second-rounders if it doesn’t convey in ’22.

The Sixers will also be involved in the trade, according to Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, who tweets that Philadelphia will acquire Mike Muscala from Atlanta and will send Justin Anderson to the Hawks. The 76ers will also deal Timothe Luwawu-Cabarrot to Oklahoma City, Vivlamore adds (via Twitter).

Upon acquiring him, the Hawks will waive Anthony, Wojnarowski adds. That will free up the veteran forward to join whatever a new team when he clears waivers, and the Rockets remain the strong frontrunners to land him.

We heard rumblings earlier this week about discussions between the Hawks and Thunder involving Anthony, Schroder, and Muscala, so it seems those two teams were able to find common ground, with the Sixers entering the mix as well. Here’s how the deal looks for each of the three teams involved:

Oklahoma City Thunder:

It has been nearly two weeks since word broke that the Thunder intended to part ways with Anthony, but the team resisted waiving him outright. Doing so would have reduced his $27.93MM cap charge to just $9.31MM, significantly reducing the club’s luxury-tax bill for 2018/19, but it would have added dead-money cap hits worth $9.31MM for the next two years as well.

By trading Anthony and a future protected pick and taking back Schroder and Luwawu-Cabarrot, the Thunder will reduce their 2018/19 team salary and projected tax bill substantially while also adding a productive point guard in Schroder. The 24-year-old, who averaged 19.4 PPG and 6.2 APG last season, figures to assume a role similar to the one Reggie Jackson previously had in Oklahoma City.

According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), Thunder GM Sam Presti and coach Billy Donovan were granted permission to speak to Schroder before the deal was agreed upon, and both Presti and Donovan are “enthusiastic” about the fit. Oklahoma City had been seeking more speed and another ball-handler, Woj notes.

Still, there’s a reason Schroder was available. There are on-court questions about his shooting and defense, and off-court concerns about his character and his legal issues. Schroder was arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge last September, with Georgia officials recommending in March that he be prosecuted for felony aggravated battery. He’ll face discipline from his team and/or the league when that case is resolved, but the Thunder appear to be banking him avoiding a more serious sentence.

As for the specific tax figures, by my count, the Thunder will now have a team salary of about $148.74MM with a projected tax bill just over $88.75MM. Prior to the deal, those numbers sat at about $160.97MM and $157.75MM, respectively. While Oklahoma City’s tax outlook for 2018/19 has improved, the Thunder will have to be wary about increased penalties in future seasons after adding Schroder’s $15.5MM annual salary through 2020/21. They’ll likely deal with that when the time comes though.

It’s worth noting that a lengthy suspension without pay for Schroder could further reduce the Thunder’s team salary and tax hit in 2018/19. A suspension would also reduce the likelihood of the point guard earning the $2MM in unlikely incentives included in his contract, though not all of those bonuses are tied to individual performance, as ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes.

Finally, the Thunder will create a traded player exception worth $10,883,189 in the deal. They’ll have a year to use it.

Atlanta Hawks:

The Hawks had been determined to move Schroder for much of the offseason, and drafting Trae Young and acquiring Jeremy Lin made Atlanta’s former starting point guard even more expendable. Despite his solid production, Schroder had a slew of on- and off-court question marks, as detailed above, and he was drafted and extended by Atlanta’s previous front office — general manager Travis Schlenk never seemed particularly attached to him.

By moving Schroder ($15.5MM) and Muscala ($5MM) for Anthony ($27.93MM) and Anderson ($2.52MM), the Hawks take advantage of their remaining cap room — they’re able to take back significantly more salary than they sent out as a result of that space.

Atlanta won’t get any real immediate help out of the deal, but the club will create future cap flexibility by clearing Schroder’s three remaining years from its books — both Anthony and Anderson are on expiring deals, and Carmelo will be waived shortly. According to Wojnarowski (via Twitter), he’ll get his full $27.93MM salary from the Hawks. That was certainly agreed upon prior to the completion of the deal, since Anthony had a no-trade clause and could’ve vetoed the move if he thought Atlanta would ask him to give back money in a buyout.

The Hawks will also acquire a 2022 first-round pick, which they’ll receive as long as Oklahoma City is a playoff team in ’22 — otherwise, it will become two second-rounders. The Stepien rule, which prevents teams from trading consecutive future first-rounders, meant that the Thunder would have had a hard time dealing an earlier first-round pick, since they’d already sent their top-20 protected 2020 first-rounder to Orlando.

Philadelphia 76ers:

While the Sixers’ involvement in this deal may seem extraneous, it’s a nice bit of business for Philadelphia. In Muscala, the team will acquire a big man capable of knocking down outside shots — he’s a career 37.8% three-point shooter and made a career-best 1.2 threes per game in 2017/18.

The Sixers thought they’d acquired a player who fit that role earlier in the offseason when they reached an agreement to sign Nemanja Bjelica, but Bjelica backed out of his deal with the team, leaving Philadelphia seeking a replacement. Muscala is a solid fallback plan, and is on an expiring contract, meaning he won’t compromise the team’s future cap flexibility.

In order to acquire Muscala, the Sixers only had to surrender Anderson and Luwawu-Cabarrot, a pair of players who seemed unlikely to have regular rotation roles for the team in 2018/19. The move will also help the 76ers clear out a roster logjam, as the team had 16 players under contract and was still believed to be considering bringing over draft-and-stash prospect Jonah Bolden. Following the deal, the Sixers are back down to 15 players on NBA contracts, not including Bolden or 2018 second-rounder Shake Milton.

Photos courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Hawks, Thunder Have Discussed Carmelo Anthony

The Thunder and Hawks have engaged in discussions on a potential trade involving Carmelo Anthony, reports NBA columnist Mitch Lawrence (Twitter link). According to Lawrence, the Thunder are looking at Dennis Schroder and Mike Muscala, and if the two sides can make a deal, Atlanta would buy out Anthony’s expiring contract.

Per Chris Vivlamore of The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the Hawks and Thunder spoke in Las Vegas about a possible trade involving Anthony, but those talks didn’t get serious. Still, Vivlamore acknowledges that things could change now that Atlanta has acquired another point guard in Jeremy Lin.

The Hawks have been exploring possible trades involving Schroder for much of the offseason, and ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reported last week that their acquisition of Lin may expedite the process of moving Schroder. While the 24-year-old has been a productive player on the court, concerns related to his legal troubles and locker-room fit have limited his appeal to both the Hawks and to potential suitors. Lawrence indicates that trading Schroder is Atlanta’s “No. 1 priority.”

Schroder was arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge last September, with Georgia officials recommending in March that he be prosecuted for felony aggravated battery. He figures to face discipline from his team and/or the league when that case is resolved. Jail time also isn’t entirely out of the question, though Hawks officials are reportedly confident that will be avoided.

Meanwhile, the Thunder continue to explore ways to part ways with Anthony without simply having to waive him. Cutting Anthony outright and stretching his salary over the next three years would result in cap hits of $9.3MM+ annually through 2020/21. Oklahoma City would like to find a way to reduce its projected tax bill by cutting costs in an Anthony trade, though it’s unclear if the team is willing to add an asset – such as a future first-round pick – to make that happen. That may be a sticking point for the Hawks, per Lawrence and Vivlamore.

We outlined in detail last week how an Anthony trade could work for a team that has available cap room, but not necessarily enough to accommodate his full $27.93MM salary. The Hawks meet that criteria. They can create about $10MM in cap space, so they wouldn’t have to match salaries if they were to trade for Anthony — Schroder ($15.5MM) and Muscala ($5MM) would be enough.

Hawks Rumors: Lin, Schroder, Delaney

The Hawks traded for Jeremy Lin last week in a deal that cleared a path for the Nets to create the cap room necessary to take on a pair of unwanted contracts – and a pair of draft picks – in a trade of their own with the Nuggets.

According to Eric Pincus of Basketball Insiders (Twitter link), based on the conversations he had in Las Vegas, there was some confusion about why Atlanta used a chunk of its cap room on Lin rather than making a deal like the one Brooklyn did to add long-term assets.

As Michael Cunningham of The Atlanta Journal Constitution writes, a source familiar with trade discussions said that the Hawks could have made a deal with Denver similar to the one the Nets made. However, Atlanta GM Travis Schlenk sounds high on Lin, Cunningham relays.

“We had the opportunity to add a veteran point guard to the locker room,” Schlenk said. “We’ve said all along that it takes high-character, good guys to help a young team grow. Jeremy fits the bill. We had two point guards on the roster, and we needed a third.”

Here’s more on the Hawks:

  • While Schlenk won’t come out and say it, acquiring Lin would also provide some insurance in the event of a Dennis Schroder trade, according to Cunningham, who says it’s “obvious” that the Hawks want to move on from their starting point guard. A source tell Cunningham that Atlanta has been trying to trade Schroder for weeks, but hasn’t found much of a market for him.
  • Schroder’s below-average shooting and defense limit his appeal to some extent, but his legal troubles are the primary deterrent for potential trade partners, says Cunningham. Two people with knowledge of Schroder’s battery case tell Cunningham that the player and his lawyer have discussed a settlement with the alleged victim, and Hawks officials have expressed confidence internally that Schroder won’t spend any time in jail. However, other teams “apparently aren’t so sure,” Cunningham writes.
  • Speaking of Hawks point guards, last year’s backup Malcolm Delaney hasn’t technically had his free agent rights renounced by Atlanta, but he looks like a good bet to head elsewhere. According to a report from Nikos Varlas of Eurohoops.net, Delaney – who played overseas before joining the Hawks in 2016 – has received a contract offer from Turkish club Anadolu Efes.

Nets Trade Jeremy Lin To Hawks

JULY 13: The trade is now official, according to a pair of press releases issued by the Nets and Hawks. Atlanta receives Lin, Brooklyn’s 2025 second-round pick, and the right to swap 2023 second-rounders with the Nets in exchange for Cordinier and a heavily-protected 2020 second-rounder, as detailed below.

[RELATED: Cap implications of the trade for Nets, Hawks]

JULY 12: The Nets have agreed to a trade that will send Jeremy Lin to the Hawks, reports ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski. The deal will allow Brooklyn to clear the cap space necessary to take on a pair of expiring contracts from the Nuggets in another deal.

According to Wojnarowski, the Nets will receive Portland 2020’s second-round pick (top-55 protected) and the rights to 2016 draft-and-stash second-rounder Isaia Cordinier in the trade.

In addition to Lin, the Hawks will acquire a 2025 second-round pick and the right to swap picks with the Nets in 2023, Woj adds. His report doesn’t mention anything about first-round picks, so we’ll assume for now that the ’23 pick swap applies to second-rounders.

For the Hawks, adding Lin will mean further bolstering a point guard depth chart that already features leading scorer Dennis Schroder and fifth overall pick Trae Young. Schroder has been frequently cited as a potential trade candidate and Young’s performance in Summer League action has been up and down, so Lin could provide some added stability at the position. His presence also could expedite a Schroder trade, as Wojnarowski reports.

Of course, it may be premature to pencil in Lin for 25-30 minutes per game for the upcoming season, since he’s coming off a major knee injury. The veteran point guard admitted recently that he has yet to play 5-on-5 ball, but fully expects to be ready for training camp. The Hawks plan to keep him, tweets David Aldridge of TNT.

As we detailed earlier today, the Hawks had upwards of $18MM in cap room available, with the flexibility to increase that number to nearly $24MM by renouncing free agents and waiving non-guaranteed players. No additional moves will be required in order to absorb Lin’s $12.5MM expiring contract using their current cap space.

As ESPN’s Bobby Marks notes (via Twitter), Lin also had a 10% trade kicker, so if he doesn’t waive it as part of the deal, the Nets would pay that $1.25MM bonus and the 29-year-old’s cap hit would increase to $13.75MM.

General manager Travis Schlenk had said that the Hawks didn’t expect to pursue major free agents, noting that the team’s “free agency is going to be trades.” The acquisition of Lin reflects that plan, though it’s still a somewhat surprising move. Given where the Hawks are in their rebuilding process, it would have made more sense to me if Atlanta had used its cap room to take on the Nuggets’ unwanted contracts and acquired a pair of picks in the process.

That’s exactly what the Nets will do with their newly-created cap room after moving Lin. As we detail in a separate story, shedding Lin’s salary will allow Brooklyn to take on Kenneth Faried and Darrell Arthur from Denver. The Nets will receive a first-round pick and a second-round pick from the Nuggets for their troubles.

Meanwhile, the Nets should still have plenty of depth in their backcourt heading into the 2018/19 season, with Spencer Dinwiddie and D’Angelo Russell capable of handling point guard duties.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Latest On Dennis Schroder

The Hawks would like to find a trade involving point guard Dennis Schroder, but so far the packages available to them haven’t been strong enough to warrant a deal, tweets Jordan Schultz of Yahoo Sports. According to Schultz, Atlanta is “content” with the idea of starting the 2018/19 season with both Schroder and top pick Trae Young on its roster.

Schultz’s report is in line with the public stance conveyed by the Hawks since last month’s draft. While a report in mid-June indicated that Schroder was on the trade block in Atlanta, general manager Travis Schlenk and head coach Lloyd Pierce each expressed confidence after the draft that the incumbent point guard could co-exist with the incoming rookie Young.

The Pelicans may be one potential suitor for Schroder. According to Fletcher Mackel of WDSU in New Orleans (Twitter link), the Pelicans have “had discussions” about the possibility of acquiring the Hawks’ point guard in a trade.

It’s unclear if those were internal talks or if the Pelicans actually negotiated with Atlanta at all, but either way, nothing appears imminent. Mackel notes that New Orleans is high on Schroder’s talent and potential on-court fit, but has “major” concerns about off-court factors, including his legal issues.

Schroder was arrested on a misdemeanor battery charge last September, with Georgia officials recommending in March that he be prosecuted for felony aggravated battery. The 24-year-old figures to face discipline from his team and/or the league when that case is resolved.

With concerns about Schroder’s legal troubles and locker-room fit suppressing his value, the Hawks figure to have a hard time finding a favorable deal for him this offseason, but Schlenk and the front office will likely remain on the lookout.