Thunder’s Dennis Schroder plans to leave NBA bubble for birth of his child

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dennis Schroder said he’ll be leaving the NBA bubble when his wife goes into labor. She’s due in three to four weeks.

With 15 days until the resumption of the 2019-20 NBA season, teams have been losing players left and right. Tuesday night, another team learned that they would be losing a key player: the Thunder won’t have backup point guard and sixth man, Dennis Schroder, for the entirety of the restart.

Schroder informed the media that he plans to leave the bubble for the birth of his second child. His wife, Ellen Ziolo, is pregnant and due for labor in approximately three to four weeks.

“For me, it’s tough,” Schroder said in an interview, Tuesday. “I love my teammates, I love basketball, but the family comes first all the time. I’ll try to make something happen with the organization. I sacrifice a lot for my team, but we still have to get on the same page that I can see my family when the baby is coming. We’re going to make it work.”

Schroder isn’t the only NBA player who decided to prioritize family over work. Los Angeles Lakers shooting guard Avery Bradley and Portland Trail Blazers forward Trevor Ariza opted out of the resumption entirely due to family reasons. Assuming Schroder remains with the team for the full four weeks, that means he’ll depart the Orlando bubble on or around Aug. 11. Fortunately for the Thunder organization and fans, that would be with only two regular-season games remaining.

Can the Thunder make a playoff run without Dennis Schroder?

However, it doesn’t change the fact that Schroder is a major loss for the squad. The seven-year veteran is averaging 19 points per game on 46.8 percent field goal shooting, including 38.1 percent from long range on 5.1 attempts. The 6-foot-1 guard added 4.1 assists, 3.7 rebounds and 83.9 percent shooting from the foul line in 31 minutes while playing 63 of 64 games this season.

“I’m not going to leave my wife by herself while she’s [having] the second baby,” Schroder said. “Junior is still 17 months old. I’m for sure going to go there and support her and try as much as I can to be there for my family.”

The Thunder are scheduled to resume their season on Aug. 1 against the Utah Jazz. Six of the Thunder’s eight regular-season games are against playoff teams, including five from the Western Conference (Denver Nuggets, Los Angeles Clippers, Los Angeles Lakers, Memphis Grizzlies and Jazz). The Thunder are one game back of the Jazz for the fourth seed in the conference.

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