Toronto Raptors guard Dennis Schroder, one of several notable NBA players participating in this summer's FIBA World Cup, got into an altercation with Germany head coach Gordon Herbert during Sunday's 100-71 win over Luka Doncic and Slovenia.
As the Germany players huddled near their bench during a timeout with just over four minutes remaining in the first quarter, Schroder was engaged in a stern conversation with teammate Daniel Theis, a six-year NBA veteran who appeared in seven games last season for the Indiana Pacers. As Schroder and Theis spoke, Herbert attempted to get Schroder's attention, shouting "Hey, let's go! F---! Sit down."
Herbert then grabbed Schroder's shoulder in an attempt to move him toward the bench, which is where the German guard took exception.
"You're not gonna touch me like that," Schroder appeared to say. To which Herbert replied, "I know, I'm just telling you to sit down."
Neither Herbert nor Schroder addressed specifics surrounding the incident following the game, though both Schroder and Theis were subbed out during the timeout. Gordon said that the issue "will be handled internally."
Schroder, who finished with a team-high 24 points and 10 assists in 25 minutes, did acknowledge the argument with Theis, which he chalked up to routine competitive passion.
"I mean, basketball is an emotional sport," Schroder told BasketNews. "It's a game of runs, and you gotta stay cool. Me and Daniel go way back, I have known him since I was 12 or 13. We had those kinds of moments when we were young as well, but it always helped us to elevate our game.
"That's what happened today. We got into it, and I told him, 'Listen, that's what you gotta do, and you can tell me the same thing.' Of course, he's going to be pissed a little bit. It will itch a little bit, but he will give his all. I think that's what happened."
Herbert has coached all over the world during his decades-long career, including a stint as an assistant with the Raptors, and he helmed Germany to a bronze medal at the 2022 European Championships after being named head coach of the national team the previous year. Schroder led the team in scoring and assists during the bronze medal run.
A player and coach having a heated exchange on the sideline is nothing out of the ordinary, but things enter different territory when there is a physical altercation involved. While some might view Herbert's actions as understandable as he attempted to get Schroder's attention, others can argue that he should never put his hands on a player in that manner.
The fact that Schroder reacted the way he did, however, suggests that the incident is something that Germany will need to work out before its first knockout stage game against Latvia on Wednesday.