Once the Hawks drafted Trae Young and then made the move to acquire Jeremy Lin from the Nets, the writing was on the wall for Dennis Schroder. Schroder made it quite obvious that he was not on board with a rebuild, and considering his off the court issues and the considerable amount of money he was owed, the Hawks were not too wild about the German point guard either.
In fact, not too many teams must have been impressed enough with Schroder to take on his baggage, but an organization in Oklahoma City was just as desperate as the Hawks to make a deal.
The Thunder were trying out every option possible to find a trade partner for Carmelo Anthony to avoid nearly $100M in luxury tax penalties. There were not many teams with cap space that could even fathom making such a deal for Anthony, but that is just what made these two teams a match made in heaven.
And on Thursday night, a WOJ BOMB dropped.
Oklahoma City has agreed to trade Carmelo Anthony and a protected 2022 first-round pick to Atlanta for point guard Dennis Schroder and Mike Muscala, league sources tell ESPN. Anthony will be waived, and he will join team of his choice. Rockets are frontrunner.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) July 19, 2018
Woj later ironed out the details, announcing Mike Muscala would be heading to Philadelphia and the Sixers would send Justin Anderson to the Hawks.
This may have been a move nobody could have foreseen a year ago, but today, it is a win/win for both sides.
For the Thunder, they avoid a massive luxury tax burden by cutting close to thirteen million in salary for 2018-2019 with the trade. They also receive Dennis Schroder. Schroder might have become a thorn in the thigh of the Atlanta organization, however, nobody would have said that two years ago when he took the reigns of the starting point guard position as a 23-year old. He should fit better than Anthony did with OKC off the bench and make them a much deeper team in a loaded Western Conference. It was not too long ago, Hawks fans saw Schroder as a piece of their future. At 24, he still has the ability to have a fantastic NBA career.
Meanwhile, the Hawks really could not have done a better job at setting up for their future this offseason. They began gathering assets by trading back in the draft and picking up a first-round pick from Dallas in the process. That continued in this deal, as they acquired a first-round pick from Oklahoma City in 2022 and a three-year player in Justin Anderson from the 76ers.
At 24, Anderson has already bounced around the league a little bit and will be on his third team since being a first-round selection out of Virginia. Looking at him, he has the makeup of the ever so popular three and D player in today’s NBA. The problem with him early in his career has been establishing that three-point shot. He is a career 30% shooter from behind the arc. If that number can improve, he could become a valuable asset that the Hawks can either trade down the road or hold onto for the future.
The real prize here is the cap flexibility beyond this season. Ever since Travis Schlenk took control of the Hawks front office that has been something he looked to maintain in order to be major players in free agency by the time the Hawks are ready to compete. Sure the Hawks will take on close to $30 million just to buy out Carmelo Anthony, which may seem like a ridiculous proposition. The key here, though, is the Hawks clearing up cap space for the future.
By ridding of the remaining three years left on Dennis Schroder’s contract, Atlanta will save over $30 million the next two seasons. That is money that can be spent on blue-chip free agents in the summer of 2019 and 2020. And if you have not heard, here are just some of the players that will be free agents next summer:
- Kevin Durant
- Kawhi Leanord
- Karl-Anthony Towns
- Kyrie Irving
- Klay Thompson
- Jimmy Butler
- Kris Middelton
Like I said, those are just some of the many names that could be on the move this summer, and you can bet on Atlanta attempting to make a move for a few of them. At the very least, if they do not expect to compete just yet, they can keep using their cap freedom to pick up more future picks.
The reality of 2018 for the Hawks is they will not be competitive, and that is exactly what they want. Atlanta is a tanking team, hoping to own not just one but two top-ten draft picks (thanks Dallas) in next year’s draft. There is a possibility the Hawks will head into 2019 free agency with six first-round draft picks on their roster from the previous two seasons and a heavy wallet willing to pay some marquee free agents. Schlenk is on to something here, and if he can hit on a few of these draft picks, the Hawks will be a very competitive team in a few years.
There is a term for this, I swear. Oh yeah, Trust the Process.