The Hawks would trade point guard Dennis Schroder for the right price, but interest in him from other teams has been tepid, according to a person with knowledge of the discussions. There’s a possibility that Schroder will remain with team in 2018-19, which also will be the rookie season for their new point guard, Trae Young.
This situation would seem to be a potential problem for the Hawks even if Schroder hadn’t apparently expressed a desire for a trade last month. Now the Hawks have added a top prospect who plays his position, also needs the ball to be effective and certainly will play heavy minutes next season.
That’s why, soon after the Hawks acquired Young via the No. 5 pick in the draft Thursday night, Hawks general manager Travis Schlenk was asked how his new rookie point guard can coexist with the incumbent.
“I think both guys can play together, especially the way the league is played,” Schlenk said. “You will see two point guards on the floor a lot. I don’t’ think that’s an issue.”
That comment raised hackles from Hawks fans, and I get it. But look at it from Schlenk’s perspective.
If the Hawks can’t trade Schroder, it means he will have to coexist with Young next season. That would be harder to do if Schlenk publicly expresses a desire to trade Schroder, who was upset when his name surfaced in rumors at the deadline. Schroder probably believes he’s going to be traded, but if he stays put, it would be foolhardy for Schlenk to exacerbate any hurt feelings by making it know Schroder is expendable.
From what I hear, Schroder has not pushed the issue of wanting to be traded directly with the Hawks. After drafting Young, the Hawks reached out to reassure him that he’s still part of their plans.
And I still don’t think the Hawks believe Schroder is that expendable. Schroder regressed last season because of poor defense and 3-point shooting, and his playmaking was up-and-down. But he’s still an elite rim attacker, and he doesn’t turn 25 years old until September.
Those are reasons why I tend to believe Schlenk when he said the Hawks are willing to roll with Schroder and Young. There are teams who use two point guards, though usually one of the two is bigger than Schroder and Young. Defense would be a huge issue for lineups with Schroder and Young, but let’s be real, winning games won’t be the focus for the Hawks in 2018-19.
There is no circumstance in which I can see Young starting over Schroder. A more plausible scenario has Schroder starting alongside shooting guard Kent Bazemore, with Young coming off the bench to play alongside Schroder for a few minutes before taking over the point.
In my view that’s not an ideal situation. It probably would be better for the Hawks to move on from Schroder.
But I doubt Schlenk is inclined to give Schroder away in a wildly uneven deal. He made a lopsided trade to send Dwight Howard to Charlotte last year because he was eager to get rid of him, but I don’t think there is the same desperation for trading Schroder.
But the lukewarm trade market for Schroder indicates that other teams don’t value Schroder the same as the Hawks. He’s owed $46.5 million over the next three seasons, which isn’t an awful contract for a starting point guard, but it’s still significant. Schroder’s lackluster season hurt his value, and so does the pending battery charge for his alleged role in a DeKalb County assault.
For those reasons, Schroder could remain with the Hawks next season even as Young, his heir apparent, arrives with buzz and high expectations. Schlenk said that won’t be a problem. That may be wishful thinking, but under the circumstances, hoping that it works out may be the only good choice.