The Los Angeles Lakers are the reigning NBA champions, but have ample room to improve the roster via the trade market and free agency.
The Lakers have several key free agents they need to make decisions on, and those players will be targets for other teams if they choose not to bring them back. One of those is Rajon Rondo, whose postseason run has made him an attractive point guard in the market.
General manager Rob Pelinka was proactive in addressing a potential void at the backup point guard position and reportedly agreed to terms on a deal to acquire Dennis Schroder in a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder. In exchange for Schroeder, the Lakers will reportedly send Danny Green and the No. 28 overall pick in the upcoming 2020 NBA Draft.
According to Marc Stein of New York Times, Los Angeles made the move with the expectation that Rondo will not be returning:
The Lakers are making the trade for Oklahoma City's Dennis Schroder under the strong belief that they will be losing Rajon Rondo in free agency, league sources say
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 15, 2020
Rondo, who has spent the past two seasons with the Lakers, has already drawn interest from teams like the L.A. Clippers and a possible move across the Staples Center hallway seems all the more likely now. His veteran presence both on and off the floor would be missed, but a talent like Schroeder is hard to pass up.
Although the trade for Schroeder was made with Rondo’s departure in mind, the latter could still conceivably come back but that would be a surprise as he has more than earned a raise in salary. LeBron James and Anthony Davis have previously expressed their interest in retaining Rondo, but Schroeder provides the scoring punch that was sorely missing off the bench.
How loss of Danny Green affects offseason moves
While the trade for Schroeder addresses the point guard position, the Lakers now have a sizable hole along the wing. Green was one of the few credible wing defenders on the roster, and Pelinka will need to find a suitable replacement presumably through free agency.
Of course, it is reasonable to assume that there are options available and Los Angeles will have the non-taxpayer’s mid-level exception to attract several free agents. They also may look to fill the position with a veteran who may be willing to sign for the minimum.
Have you subscribed to our YouTube channel? It’s the best way to watch player interviews, exclusive coverage from events, participate in live shows, and more!