The Los Angeles Lakers made for a particularly united and committed group last season, which played a big factor in claiming the Larry O’Brien trophy in the Orlando bubble.
But as the roster inevitably had to undergo a reshuffle ahead of the new season, Danny Green and Quinn Cook left the NBA champions early in the trade period. L.A. traded Green and their 28th pick in this year’s Draft to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Dennis Schroder, a move seen as a significant roster upgrade and for which general manager Rob Pelinka has been heavily lauded.
Meanwhile, the Lakers freed up some cap space with the start of free agency looming large and announced they waived Cook, who will receive $1 million from his non-guaranteed contract,.
And to attest how close the title-winning group had grown, LeBron James bid farewell to Cook and Green on Twitter, emphasizing the role they played in the Lakers winning a championship:
Would NOT have won that 🏆 without them both! Thank you and love! By the way I’ll see y’all in person soon anyways. Lol. 🙏🏾✊🏾👑 https://t.co/MuBspVgHns
— LeBron James (@KingJames) November 19, 2020
Further departures are likely to take place in the coming days. Rajon Rondo has been heavily linked with the L.A. Clippers and Atlanta Hawks. Meanwhile, Avery Bradley has reportedly drawn interest from other title contenders.
And even if Kentavious Caldwell-Pope inks a new deal with L.A. after declining his $8.5 million option for the 2020-21 season, he could be part of a sign-and-trade move if an opportunity arose for the front office to strike a favorable deal.
Lakers sign undrafted Michigan guard Zavier Simpson
Even though the Lakers got rid of their first-round pick in the Schroder trade and their second-round selection was in the hands of the Philadelphia 76ers via Orlando Magic, they nevertheless ended up bringing in a promising young player on draft night.
L.A. reportedly signed an undrafted guard Zavier Simpson, who played at Michigan. Simpson averaged 12.9 points, 4.5 rebounds, and 7.9 assists, shooting 36% from three-point range his senior year, the best season of his college career.
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