With the NBA trade deadline mere days away, it’s been fairly quiet around the Milwaukee Bucks. Part of that is because the team is good, part is because they don’t have any glaring weaknesses that need upgrading right now, and part is because they have very little to offer in the trade market.
That doesn’t mean that the Bucks are not involved. The front office under general manager Jon Horst keeps most things under wraps, but Milwaukee is almost always in the mix to make a move. Whether there’s a move to make right now is debatable, but a report from the Action Network’s Matt Moore suggests that the team is at least interested in Dennis Schröder.
The full text of the rumor focuses mostly on the incentives facing the Boston Celtics, who are underperforming and want to save money and duck the luxury tax. Schröder could have made himself a lot of money last offseason – much, much more – but he turned down a multi-year deal from Los Angeles to take an MLE-level contract with Boston. But the language in the report is unambiguous; Moore claims that “there are two offers on the table for Dennis Schröder according to multiple sources, one from the Milwaukee Bucks and another from the Chicago Bulls.”
At only $5.9M this season, Schröder’s contract is the type of money that Milwaukee can take on, even with their limited supply of trade assets. Is he the type of player that Milwaukee needs, or even wants? That is less clear.
Let’s start with the basics; Schröder is 28 years old and is in his 8th NBA campaign. He’s a skinny 6’3” combo guard with middling efficiency, a tendency to focus on scoring over distributing, and his defensive metrics are unimpressive at best. He doesn’t take a ton of threes (3PAr of 0.280 for his career, never higher than 0.337) and his percentage of shots at the rim has steadily declined over the past four years. He’s a low-end starting NBA guard but is still a rotation-level player on most rosters. The fact that he can handle the ball makes him an attractive option for those who worry about the point guard depth behind Jrue Holiday and George Hill; an acquisition of Schröder would reduce reliance upon the great “Donte DiVincenzo at point guard” experiment.
As a member of the Giannis draft class back in 2013, Schröder was selected by the Atlanta Hawks and played for five years, all under Mike Budenholzer. It’s safe to say that Bud likes “his guys,” but is Schröder one of those guys? There is ample evidence that Coach Bud put in the effort to get Schröder in position to be successful, including some direct feedback about his on-court behavior and benching Schröder when needed. These stories are years old, and it’s possible that Schröder has been humbled over his past few seasons and could be an asset when playing in the right environment, around the right people, in the right role. Of any franchise, Milwaukee could be that fit.
Trading for Schröder has some upside, depending on the outgoing package. Moving on from Rodney Hood or Semi Ojeleye would be a welcome move to most Bucks fans. Jordan Nwora is facing restricted free agency this summer, so his trade value might never be higher. Moving Donte DiVincenzo in a deal at the deadline is unlikely, as he could provide more value in a S&T this offseason. However, Donte is no stranger to trade chatter (lest we forget, Donte was traded before!), and he is the obvious young player that another team would want to target in a future-focused trade now. The Bucks have reportedly expressed interest in retaining DiVincenzo; they apparently tried to extend him this past offseason alongside Grayson Allen.
For Milwaukee, the window to contend for a championship is open right now. To that end, the decision to trade for anybody has to be weighed against that standard. Who helps the Bucks get to the NBA Finals this season more; Dennis Schröder, or Donte DiVincenzo? What does Schröder offer that DiVincenzo doesn’t, and vice versa? If you find away to acquire the former without losing the latter, are there enough playoff minutes to go around to make it worthwhile? These are the questions the Bucks front office is asking, and depending on how things shake out we’ll have our answer in the coming days.
Since you asked (you didn’t), I would pass on a deal for Schröder, regardless of the outgoing package. I believe that Donte has more value as a potential trade asset in the offseason, and I think he fits the Bucks better as a player than Schröder. There’s also no indication that Schröder’s shot profile on offense makes the Bucks better; he’s not enough of a microwave scorer that can carry bench lineups, and he’s not a knockdown shooter or foul magnet. He’s simply a clunky fit alongside the Bucks’ trio of Antetokounmpo, Khris Middleton, and Jrue Holiday, and the postseason isn’t conducive to such clumsiness.
Still, the idea of a third qualified ball handler behind Holiday and Hill (that isn’t Donte) is intriguing; that’s the logic that led Jeff Teague to get an A on the group project last year. In the event of an injury, Schröder could at least help keep the offense from flat-lining. Could he survive for long enough on defense to reap the benefits of his offensive skill level? As our very own oldresorter might ask, is he sufficiently “over himself” to fit into this locker room? I don’t feel strongly enough that the answers to those two questions are “yes,” but what do you think?
If you could add Dennis Schröder, would you?
This poll is closed
Yes, he’d be an upgrade!
No, not worth the hassle.