Does Dennis Schroder really want the Hawks to trade him? My short answer: I don’t know. That seems to be the takeaway from Schroder’s recent comments but, according to a person in the know, neither Schroder nor his agent had contacted the Hawks to discuss the matter as of Tuesday afternoon.
This is a strange story that started with Schroder’s comments on Monday at a news conference for his native country’s German basketball federation. Juergen Kalwa, a German journalist based in New York who has covered Schroder, provided a translation of the relevant portions of Schroder’s comments. I’ve posted his translation and the video at the bottom of this article.
Schroder seems to suggest that he would welcome a trade from the Hawks, and that Milwaukee and Indiana would be his preferred destinations. He said it’s a “bummer” to see the Hawks take a step back after being a playoff team, and that he planned to meet with Hawks principal owner Tony Ressler and GM Travis Schlenk to talk about “their plans for the future.”
But Schroder also said: “I am not in the position to decide what direction the organization will take. That’s something everybody has to accept.” And also: “I would like to stay, if everything moves into the right direction. Of course, if not we’ll have to find different solutions.” So does Schroder accept the direction of the franchise or does he want the Hawks to go in a different direction or else trade him?
(Another weird comment is Schroder’s contention that during the season former coach Mike Budenholzer repeatedly told him “that I need to watch out for myself, individually. What’s best for me.” If Budenholzer did tell Schroder to look out for himself, did Schroder take that to mean he should look for a way out of Atlanta?)
Another weird aspect of this story: all indications were that Schroder didn’t want to be traded at the deadline in February. Multiple people in the organization said Schroder was upset when his name surfaced in trade rumors back then. They said it got to the point that it affected Schroder’s concentration and contributed to a couple of poor performances in games, prompting Schlenk to reassure Schroder that he was staying put.
So why is Schroder (apparently) agitating for a trade now? It’s been apparent since last summer that the Hawks would tank for draft picks, and Schroder seemed to embrace his new role as the offensive focal point. Did losing affect Schroder more than he anticipated and he wants no more of it? Is Schroder unnerved because the Hawks just hired a new coach, Lloyd Pierce, after Budenholzer had been his NBA coach since he was a rookie?
In any event, Schroder has little leverage in this situation (and his pending legal issue and suspension may hurt his trade value). Schroder is under contract for three more years at $15.5 million annually. The Hawks got trade offers for Schroder at the deadline, but rejected them (I don’t know the specifics). That indicates that they aren’t prepared to just give Schroder away because he wants out — assuming that Schroder does, in fact, want the Hawks to trade him.
Like I said, it’s a strange story.