Celtics Point Guard a Candidate for Tax-Saving Trade: Analyst

Dennis Schroder, Boston Celtics

Getty Dennis Schroder of the Boston Celtics.

It feels like we can’t get through a week without Dennis Schroder’s name being linked with a trade away from the Boston Celtics. Trading the veteran guard makes sense, though, as he’s been performing well to start the season, is on a short-term deal and could potentially net Boston some form of asset in return.

Still, we’re only 21 games into the season, and analysts are already lining up at the door to move on from the swashbuckling guard. The more prominent question is, is there a market for Schroder that wasn’t there during the off-season? Perhaps the New York Knicks could use a point guard to replace the production they were hoping for from Kemba Walker? Or maybe the Portland Trail Blazers feel like they need a steady hand when Damian Lillard heads to the bench?

It’s always easier to gauge a team’s needs once the season is underway and you’re aware of any flaws or weaknesses a rotation may have, and for somebody like Schroder, that’s when his skillset rises in value. Being on a one-year deal also makes the 6-foot-3 veteran an even more enticing prospect, as if a team feels the fit isn’t working out, they can quickly move on during the summer without having to find an interested trade partner.

Of course, there’s the issue of optics with a trade such as this. Schroder joined the Celtics on a team-friendly deal, and to be traded mid-way through his maiden season with the team could backfire on Stevens long-term. The front office could do well to gauge Schroder’s interest in any potential move before pulling the trigger. Still, if it means a more significant role for the guard, he’s likely to take the opportunity as he chases an improved contract next season.

Analyst Believes Trading Schroder Makes Sense for Boston

Another aspect in the Schroder/Celtics trade discussions is Boston’s inability to offer the guard a substantial deal next season. In a recent article for HoopsHype, salary cap expert Yossi Gozlan explains Boston’s shortcomings from a contract and taxpayers’ perspective.

“The most they can give him since they only have his non-Bird Rights is a starting salary at $7 million. It could be a four-year deal in the low $30 million range,” Gozlan explains.

Schroder reportedly turned down a contract extension from the Los Angeles Lakers during the summer that was rumored to have been north of $80 million over four years. It makes sense, then, that Schroder isn’t planning on taking such a heavy discount just one year later, making his current situation with the Celtics a precarious one.

Another aspect that Gozlan points out is that the Celtics are currently hovering around the .500 area on their season record. Should their issues continue deeper into the year, being a tax-paying team makes little sense for ownership. “They’re also slightly over the luxury tax, and the Celtics have been struggling. It doesn’t quite make sense to finish over the tax if they’re going to hover around .500,” Gozlan wrote.

Sure, the Celtics could dig a little deeper into their pockets during the off-season and try to get creative in an attempt to pay Schroder what he’s worth and keep him around long-term. After all, the Braunschweig native has been one of the team’s more consistent contributors to begin the year, providing pace, scoring, and resilient defense from both the bench and the starting line-up.

Unfortunately, Gozlan saw this line of thinking coming and moved to pour cold water on it towards the end of his segment on the Celtics guard, “If they’d want to pay him more, they’d have to dig into their mid-level exception. They probably won’t have access to the full mid-level exception because they already have so much money dedicated to Tatum, Brown, and Smart,” Gozlan explained.

Schroder Has Filled a Void for the Celtics

The Celtics have experienced injury issues with Jaylen Brown and Robert Williams, both missing stretches of games to begin the season, and in their absence, Schroder has deputized admirably.

According to Basketball-Reference, currently seeing the floor for a career-high in minutes (33.1), the nine-year guard has provided 16.9 points, 4.8 assists, and 3.8 boards per game. For anybody that has watched Schroder in recent seasons, they will know that he’s pretty attached to the elbow pull-up, especially when coming off the pick-and-roll.

Yet, Ime Udoka wants his team to pressure the rim rather than settle for mid-range jumpers. If they’re open, you take them, but if not, then rim pressure is golden. Schroder has struggled to adapt to this brand of basketball, and according to Cleaning The Glass, he is taking 43% of his shot attempts from the mid-range area – however, this will include floaters. However, what is impressive is how Schroder has been using his mid-range game to open up shots at the rim, allowing him to get easier looks and finish at a career-high clip of 44% within four feet of the basket.

Unfortunately, the biggest knock on Schroder is how often he moves the ball. With him ranking in the bottom eight percent of guards for his assist-to-usage ratio, that continues to be a point of contention for sections of Celtics fans.

Of course, there’s not much to complain about when a $5.8 million guard is giving you the type of production Boston is getting out of Schroder, and there will undoubtedly be a few teams who feel his scoring punch off the bench could lighten the load on their stars. It would seem that Schroder’s future in Boston is inextricably linked to the franchise’s success over the next two months. But should they look like a potential first-round exit candidate, Schroder might find himself packing his bags once again.

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