Dennis Schröder

Northwest Notes: Whiteside, Beasley, Schroder, Scott

Center Hassan Whiteside has never averaged more than one assist in any season but he predicts that will change dramatically in his first season with the Trail Blazers, Jason Quick of The Athletic reports.

“I think I’m going to blossom a lot here,” Whiteside told Quick. “[The Trail Blazers] have so much movement, they have so many different plays and reads, I can probably get a triple-double with assists here. You know, I’ve been getting so many assists and dimes … I’m playing more like a point-center here.”

We have more from the Northwest Division:

  • If the Nuggets don’t sign guard Malik Beasley to an extension, they could move him prior to him becoming a restricted free agent, Mike Singer of the Denver Post speculates. Beasley recently hired Rich Paul to represent him and he views himself as a starter but there’s no spot in the lineup for him, Singer continues. If the Nuggets offer Beasley in the $10-11MM annual range and he turns it down, they could theoretically try to trade him for a first-round pick after giving up next June’s first-rounder for Jerami Grant, Singer adds.
  • With Chris Paul and Shai Gilgeous-Alexander on the roster, Dennis Schroder‘s playing time would seemingly take a hit. Thunder GM Sam Presti insists that’s not the case, as he detailed to Erik Horne of The Oklahoman“There probably will be some discovery with how we see the team develop over the course of time, and (coach) Billy (Donovan) has got to make sure that the team is growing through the season and not just staying fixated because that’s how we started. And Dennis will be a huge … part of the team. He’s just that talented.”
  • Point guard Mike Scott had reportedly agreed to a one-year contract with the Jazz but he was not listed on the training camp roster that the club released on Friday. Scott, not to be confused with the Sixers forward who shares the same name, has spent the last four seasons overseas after coming out of Idaho in 2015. It’s still possible that Scott could be added, though the Jazz would have to drop someone from the 20-man roster.

Thunder Notes: Roster, Paul, Diallo, Abrines

A challenging early-season schedule may determine whether the Thunder decide to push for the playoffs or sell off their assets and start rebuilding, observes Brett Dawson of The Athletic. Oklahoma City will begin the season with 10 of its first 16 games against teams ranked in the top 10 by FiveThirtyEight.com. That will take the club into late November, close to the unofficial start of trade season when most free agents who signed this summer become eligible to be dealt on December 15.

OKC’s obvious trade candidates are Danilo Gallinari, who has an expiring deal worth $22.6MM, and Chris Paul, whom the organization tried to move shortly after acquiring him from the Rockets. Dawson also points toward Dennis Schroder, who has two seasons left at $15.5MM each, along with Nerlens Noel and Mike Muscala as other rotation players who could be on the move.

“Obviously the most important season is (this) season, and we want to maximize that season the best that we can,” GM Sam Presti said. “But not at the expense of continually and aggressively making sure that we’re repositioning and replenishing the team so that we have a platform and a runway for the next great Thunder team to take shape. I don’t think those things are mutually exclusive.”

There’s more from Oklahoma City:

  • Regardless of how long Paul stays, the Thunder can count on his competitive nature to drive the team, writes Erik Horne of The Oklahoman. Not only does Paul want to extend his streak of 50-win seasons, but the better he plays, the more he will drive up his trade value. “Obviously Russell (Westbrook) was an unbelievable competitor — I think Chris is an incredible competitor, too,” coach Billy Donovan said. “The biggest thing I’ve always tried to do with all these guys is to try to always be open and be honest and try to communicate. And I think that’s the way Chris is.”
  • Hamidou Diallo showed in Summer League that he is fully recovered after having arthroscopic surgery on his right elbow in mid-April, notes Nick Gallo of NBA.com. Diallo was an important part of the rotation early in the season, but got into just six games after the All-Star break. He looked good in July, averaging 14.8 points, 4.3 rebounds and 1.5 steals in four Summer League games. “In this league you’ve got to be ready for anything at any given time, and sometimes you face adversity, but you still have to learn how to fight through and learn how to push through,” Diallo said.
  • In an interview with Basket en Movistar+ (Twitter link), Alex Abrines speaks out about the mental health issues that drove him out of the NBA and credits Westbrook for trying to be a calming influence.

World Cup Updates: Shamet, Powell, Germany, Senegal

The series of withdrawals from Team USA’s World Cup training camp rosters continued on Friday, as ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski reports (via Twitter) that Clippers guard Landry Shamet has opted against participating. Shamet had been penciled in as a member of USA Basketball’s Select Team.

He was appreciative of the opportunity and hopes to be part of USAB again in future,” agent George Langberg said of Shamet, who will focus on preparing for what he hopes will be a long Clippers season that ends with a deep playoff run.

Of course, Team USA isn’t the only club dealing with NBA players removing their names from consideration. After finding out earlier this week that R.J. Barrett wouldn’t participate in this year’s World Cup, Team Canada will now also be without Mavericks big man Dwight Powell, league sources tell Marc Stein of The New York Times (Twitter link). Having signed a contract extension with Dallas this offseason, Powell will use the time to focus on the upcoming season, says Stein.

Here’s more on the 2019 World Cup:

  • After the 2014 World Cup, FIBA altered the qualification process and schedule for the event going forward, and Team USA – with a roster full of NBA players – has been hit hard by those changes, as USA Basketball managing director Jerry Colangelo tells Ben Golliver of The Washington Post. “Playing in back-to-back years, with full NBA seasons before and after, in a real hurdle to overcome,” Colangelo said. “FIBA is not concerned about us. They’re concerned about what’s best for basketball internationally. FIBA got exactly what they wanted. They’re getting a lot of games, a lot of attendance. There’s more interest in a lot of countries. Personally, I didn’t like the change. I knew it would have a negative effect on us.”
  • Team Germany formally announced a preliminary 16-man World Cup roster that features several NBA players, including Mavericks forward Maxi Kleber, Thunder guard Dennis Schroder, Celtics center Daniel Theis, and new Wizards Moritz Wagner and Isaac Bonga.
  • Team Senegal’s preliminary 24-man squad will have to be cut in half in advance of the 2019 World Cup, but it also includes some intriguing names. According to the official release, Timberwolves big man Gorgui Dieng and Celtics rookie Tacko Fall are among the players representing Senegal.

Thunder Increasing Efforts To Shed Salary

The Thunder have increased their efforts to reduce team salary for the 2019/20 season, league sources tell Jake Fischer of Sports Illustrated (Twitter link). According to Fischer, Steven Adams, Dennis Schroder, and Andre Roberson are all “very available,” as is the No. 21 overall pick in Thursday’s draft.

After being on the hook for a league-high luxury tax bill in 2018/19 (reportedly $61.6MM), the Thunder project to be well over the tax line again next season. Currently, the team has committed approximately $144.5MM in guaranteed money to nine players for ’19/20, per Basketball Insiders. The tax threshold is projected to come in at about $132MM.

As I pointed out when I previewed the Thunder’s offseason, team ownership may not be on board with paying another big tax bill for a roster that has been eliminated in the first round of the playoffs for three consecutive years.

Attaching the No. 21 pick to the expiring contracts of Roberson ($10.7MM) and/or Patrick Patterson ($5.7MM) would be one way to shed salary. Moving a key rotation player like Adams ($25.8MM) or Schroder ($15.5MM) – both of whom have two years left on their deals – would represent a more drastic cost-cutting measure.

Head of basketball operations Sam Presti has some experience finding creative ways to trim team salary without sacrificing Oklahoma City’s on-court upside. Last summer, he moved Carmelo Anthony‘s $27MM expiring salary for Schroder, substantially reducing the Thunder’s projected tax bill while securing a veteran in Schroder who would play a more significant role than Anthony.

We’ll have to wait to see whether Presti has a mandate to reduce team salary again this summer, and if he can figure out another creative way to do so.

Southeast Notes: Schroder, Kemba, McGruder, Wizards

Returning to Atlanta this week for the first time since he was traded from the Hawks to the Thunder last summer, Dennis Schroder didn’t mince words when he spoke about heading from Atlanta to Oklahoma City. As Erik Horne of The Oklahoman relays, Schroder suggested that he welcomed the move to a contender after growing tired of the Hawks’ rebuilding efforts.

“I wanted to be in a winning-mentality organization,” Schroder said before Tuesday’s game between the Thunder and Hawks. “You just can’t go out there and try to lose. I’m a competitor and I try to give everything out there. I want the organization to feel the same way. Right now with our organization, all the players in the locker room, all of the coaches, they’ve got a winning mentality. That’s what makes it fun, when you go out there and go to war with your brothers. There’s nothing better than that.”

Despite Schroder’s veiled shots at the Hawks, it was Atlanta that had the last laugh on Tuesday. The Hawks overcame Schroder’s 21 points and six assists to beat the Thunder in a 142-126 barn-burner. Atlanta’s offensive outburst included a pair of 45-point quarters.

Here’s more from around the Southeast:

  • In an interesting and in-depth feature for Bleacher Report, Jonathan Abrams explores Kemba Walker‘s situation in Charlotte, including his upcoming free agency. While Walker didn’t drop any bombshells regarding his future, he said he remains very interested in helping the Hornets reach new heights. “I do want to be the first to accomplish a lot of the goals that have never been accomplished around here,” Walker said. “Yeah, I do think about that. Just because I know a lot of things haven’t been accomplished here, and this is my eighth season here now. … I want to help accomplish those goals and help get this organization far—as far as possible.”
  • Rodney McGruder, who will be a restricted free agent this summer, started his 41st game for the Heat on Tuesday. As ESPN’s Bobby Marks tweets, that means McGruder has now met the “starter criteria” for RFAs, which will increase the value of his qualifying offer from $1.93MM to $3.02MM.
  • After falling to 13-23 and losing John Wall for the season, the Wizards‘ season looked over. But since then, the club has won five of eight games, including impressive victories against Oklahoma City, Philadelphia, and Milwaukee. As Ben Standig of NBC Sports Washington details, that puts the Wizards at a crossroads with the trade deadline fast approaching. In a separate story, Standig takes a closer look at whether Washington should buy, sell, or stand pat.

Northwest Notes: Rose, Nader, Schroder, Jazz

If Derrick Rose continues at his current pace, he could become just the second player ever to win Sixth Man of the Year after winning the Most Valuable Player award earlier in their career. As he prepares to return to Chicago to play the Bulls, the team with which he experienced his greatest successes, he deserves praise for his renaissance season, K.C. Johnson of the Chicago Tribune writes.

Injuries derailed Rose’s once seemingly surefire Hall 0f Fame career, but he has rebounded to be an impactful player of the Timberwolves‘ bench. Rose is averaging 18.5 PPG and 4.6 APG in 29.2 minutes per contest in 2018/19. Not only that, his field goal percentage (48.5%) is at its highest mark since his sophomore season and his three-point shooting (46.9%) is over 12% better than at any other point.

“The way he’s getting ready for the game as far as working out, monitoring his body, taking care of himself, he’s a totally different person,” Rose’s longtime teammate Taj Gibson said. “Every game, it’s like he’s in a new form. He’s born again. And it shows.”

Check out more Northwest Division notes:

Fallout From Bulls/Thunder Scrum

On Monday night, the Thunder defeated the Bulls in Oklahoma City by 25 points in a game between two teams from different conferences, one with playoff aspirations and the other in the midst of a rebuild.

However, the otherwise relatively meaningless regular season contest took an interesting turn when a scrum broke out late in the third quarter after Bulls’ guard Cameron Payne was called for a foul, followed by a shoving match between Thunder’ guard Russell Westbrook and Bulls’ guard Kris Dunn.

Chaos then broke out as Jerami Grant approached Dunn before being confronted by Robin Lopez, resulting in both Grant and Lopez falling into the lap of some fans sitting in courtside seats.

The NBA announced discipline this afternoon, with non-participants and Thunder guards Raymond Felton and Dennis Schroder both receiving one-game suspensions for leaving the bench. Meanwhile, Dunn was fined $15K for “instigating,” while Grant and Lopez were fined $20K and $25K, respectively, for “escalating.”

Fortunately for the Kings, both Felton and Schroder will miss the Thunder’s game later tonight in Sacramento.

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.”