The Hawks suspended starting point guard Dennis Schroder for one game without play for failure to report to the team on time following the NBA All-Star break. He will miss tonight’s game against the Heat and will return for Saturday’s game at the Magic.
Schroder returned to his native Germany for the All-Star break, but did not take his visa to return to the United States. He missed the Hawks post-break practices Wednesday and Thursday.
“I replaced my passport and didn’t realize that I had to put my new visa in there,” Schroder said Friday. “The Hawks organization and the NBA tried to get me as soon as possible a meeting with the consulate. We didn’t make it in time. I’m sorry for me, my teammates and the organization.”
Schroder said he returned to Atlanta at 11 p.m. Thursday after getting the necessary paperwork in Berlin. Schroder said he got a new passport before the team’s last trip to Toronto earlier this season, but did not put his visa with the credentials.
“Organizationally and respect for his teammates and everything we do, it was the appropriate thing to do,” Hawks coach Mike Budenholzer said. “He’s been a huge part of our success and we look forward to him being a huge part of our success going forward. I know he’ll be ready tomorrow night against Orlando.
“Dennis and I had a good conversation that I’m going to keep between him and I. I think his growth and understanding what is important to his teammates and the organization, he’s in a good place and he understands what is important.”
Schroder said he was disappointed with the circumstances, but accepted the decision.
“I have to accept it,” Schroder said. “Coach said something and I listened to him. I’ll focus on the next game. … I am disappointed that it happened.”
Malcolm Delaney will start in place of Schroder. It will be Delaney’s first career NBA start. Tim Hardaway Jr. will remain in the starting lineup at least for the next few games. Thabo Sefolosha will return after missing nine games with a left groin injury, but will come off the bench. Kent Bazemore, Paul Millsap and Dwight Howard round out the starters.
“I would categorize it working Thabo back in,” Budenholzer said. “We are excited about Thabo being ready to contribute and play. For now, we’ll approach it like that way and see what is best after Thabo has played a few games.”
Budenholzer said the Hawks will use a combination of players to bring the ball up court and run the offense behind Delaney.
“We’ve played some minutes where Kent and Tim and Thabo are all out there,” Budenholzer said. “They are all capable ball-handlers. The way we play, moving the ball and moving people, hopefully this is one of those situations where we aren’t being a traditional type team can help us.”
Budenholzer said newly re-signed Lamar Patterson and reserve wings Mike Dunleavy, Taurean Prince and DeAndre Bembry could get additional playing time.
Budenholzer said no decision has been made as to who else will be inactive with Schroder.
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