The Atlanta Hawks and Dennis Schroder have come to an agreement on a four-year contract extension, according to Schroder himself. The deal will be for $70 million, according to ESPN's Marc Stein. The new deal will kick in beginning in the 2017-18 season.
Schroder was the 17th pick in the 2013 draft and came into the league as a project. He didn't get to play much his rookie year but showed flashes of two-way competence that allowed him to gain the backup point guard role as a sophomore. His growth seemed to stagnate in his third year in the league, but the coaching staff clearly trusted him, often giving him minutes in the clutch. Then, this past offseason, they traded longtime starter Jeff Teague, paving way for Schroder to claim the role. This extension seems to confirm that he will be Atlanta's point guard of the future.
The Hawks could have maximized their cap space for next summer by not extending Schroder and letting him enter restricted free agency. The risk with that course of action is that another franchise could have stepped in and offered him a player-friendly contract with an early opt-out that the Hawks would have been forced to match. After trading their starter to give Schroder the opportunity to play as their lead guard, it just made sense to avoid that potential scenario and simply go all in and lock him up with an extension, especially at that rate.
Atlanta is taking a chance here, as Schroder has not been consistent enough to be considered an obvious starting-level point guard on a good team. The talent and the physical tools are there, but he has not put it all together. His shot comes and goes and he has a tendency to settle for mid-range looks despite being a good finisher at the rim. On defense, he has the length to be disruptive but doesn't always play with intensity. He was vocal about wanting to start, so maybe now that he got his wish he will put in more effort.
Coach and President of Basketball Operations Mike Budenholzer clearly believes in Schroder's talent and the Hawks needed a shake-up, so trading Teague made sense. In the past, backups have proven capable of adjusting to a bigger role, like Reggie Jackson did in Detroit. If that happens, this extension will look like a smart decision. If Schroder never finds the consistency to be an above-average starter, however, it could come back to haunt Atlanta.
Schroder averaged 11 points, four assists, and a steal on 20 minutes per game last season.