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Will the Celtics deal Dennis Schröder at the trade deadline? It’s getting to be decision time

Dennis Schröder (above) has been someone Celtics coach Ime Udoka can count on for production, off the bench or as a spot starter.Matthew J Lee/Globe staff

Now that the Celtics are finally healthy, coach Ime Udoka has been able to mostly refocus on his preferred rotations, rather than trying to mix and match and hope unusual groupings produce satisfactory results.

The starting lineup of Jayson Tatum, Jaylen Brown, Marcus Smart, Robert Williams, and Al Horford has been excellent. After their strong showing in Monday night’s 122-92 win over the undermanned Heat, that group has outscored opponents by 27.7 points per 100 possessions in 17 games together. The hope is it can stay intact for the remainder of the season.

But that means that point guard Dennis Schröder will continue to come off the bench — for as long as he’s on the roster, at least — and the discrepancy between his statistics as a starter and a reserve is significant.


In 25 games as a starter, Schröder is averaging 18.6 points while shooting 48.6 percent from the field and 38.1 percent from the 3-point line. In 20 games coming off the bench, he is averaging 9.5 points while shooting 34.2 percent from the field and 28.3 percent from beyond the arc. Boston has a plus-2.4 net rating when Schröder is on the floor as a starter, and a minus-0.7 when he plays as a reserve.

Dennis Schroder is usually coming off the bench.Erin Clark/Globe Staff

When Schröder starts, of course, he is usually surrounded by more capable scorers such as Tatum and Brown. When he comes off the bench, defenses can key in on him more, and when he blends in with Boston’s more talented players later, there are fewer opportunities.

“But we still want him to be aggressive and pick his spots,” Udoka said. “We know how important it is for him to come in and be that third threat off the bench.

“He’s had some nights where he hasn’t had the same opportunities. But he’s really playing the right way, unselfish, still trying to pick his spots. More so than anything, it’s a lack of opportunity with other guys rolling.


“Marcus has played really well. Jayson and Jaylen have had high-scoring nights. So it’s just shaved down his minutes and attempts to some extent.”

In 25 games as a starter this year, Dennis Schröder is averaging 18.6 points per game.Jessica Rinaldi/Globe Staff

If the Celtics starters are unavailable, Udoka at least knows he has a veteran he can count on. But the next several days will determine whether Schröder’s an option moving forward, because he could be dealt prior to next Thursday’s trade deadline.

Schröder is on an expiring one-year, $5.9 million contract. The Celtics hold his Non-Bird Rights this summer, which essentially limits them to offering him a deal worth no more than $7.2 million next season, and he figures to command more on the open market. By trading Schröder, it also would open up opportunities for young players such as Payton Pritchard, who has slipped out of the rotation.

On the other hand, the Celtics have won four of their last five games, with the victories coming by an average of 30.5 points.

“It shows us that if we continue to guard the way we have been, we are going to have a good chance every night,” Udoka said. “When the offense gets to playing faster and you’re making shots and sharing the ball, it gets contagious and that’s where the end result is.”

Despite their mediocre 27-25 record, the Celtics entered Tuesday night just 5½ games out of first place in the Eastern Conference.


In recent games, Udoka has mostly whittled his rotation to eight, with Schröder joining Grant Williams and Josh Richardson off the bench. So giving up Schröder in a deal centered on a draft pick could dent the Celtics’ chances of making a postseason run this year, however slim they might be.

Adam Himmelsbach can be reached at adam.himmelsbach@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @adamhimmelsbach.