What Does the Future Hold for Dennis Schroder?
The Oklahoma City Thunder hasn't had a quiet off-season since 2015. Every year there are significant adjustments to the roster, and this year will be no different.
According to ESPN, Oklahoma City is projected to have $50,000,000 in cap space for the 2020-2021 season. Even with that money, Sam Presti is not likely to go after high priced free agents to make the Thunder a championship contender. There are only four current players in the organization who have been signed as free agents, Nerlens Noel, Lu Dort, Mike Muscala, and Deonte Burton. If a superstar caliber player is available, Presti will trade for them while they are under contract, and as we saw with Paul, George, he'll move quickly to deal them if he knows they would prefer to move on.
Which brings us to Dennis Schroder; Schroder is an expiring contract and eligible for an extension. Billy Donovan has been highly complimentary of Schroder's willingness to come off the bench when he could be a starting somewhere else.
Schroder is a finalist for the 6th man of the year award, he's averaging 19 points per game, and he's part of the Thunder's closing lineup that was outscoring opponents by 268 points. Schroder's status with Oklahoma City will depend on if he wants to continue coming off the bench and if Presti is ok with having Shai Gilgeous-Alexander continue to play small forward.
If you're Schroder, now is the time to ask for your team to run. There's an excellent chance, Chris Paul and Danilo Gallinari won't be here next season. If the Thunder is going full rebuild, then logic says Gilgeous-Alexander will be the starting point guard.
Presti has shown if you are willing to be transparent, he will work with you to get a deal that benefits the player as well as the Thunder. Losing Schroder's energy and scoring will be devastating to the Thunder's postseason chances; however, if Presti wants to win a championship, then at some point, you have to tear things down.
And there is no better time than the present to start that process.
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With more than 20 years of experience hosting local and national radio shows, Erik Gee is a fixture of Oklahoma sports media. He has covered the Oklahoma City Thunder for the past six seasons. He is also the co-host of the Pat Jones show on 97.1 The Sports Animal in Tulsa.