There have already been plenty of whispers that Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka likes Dennis Schroder, and now it appears those rumors will be fully consummated. According to multiple reports, the Lakers rapidly came to terms on a deal with the Oklahoma City Thunder on Sunday morning that will see them send Danny Green and their first-round pick in the 2020 NBA Draft to acquire last year’s Sixth Man of the Year runner-up:
ESPN story on the Lakers acquiring guard Dennis Schroder in a deal with Oklahoma City: https://t.co/VlF4LYi3Mh— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 15, 2020
Lakers and Thunder won't be able to formalize the framework of deal until NBA's transaction moratorium is lifted on Monday. https://t.co/ZdS2WMvCM8— Shams Charania (@ShamsCharania) November 15, 2020
Schroder-to-the-Lakers is well on course to be completed on Monday, sources tell ESPN. Rival teams in pursuit of the OKC guard have started moving onto new targets. The Lakers will land an impactful, versatile guard in pursuit of the franchise's title defense. https://t.co/KOAcjyIked— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 15, 2020
The deal can be formalized after Wednesday night's draft, once the Lakers make the draft selection for the Thunder at No. 28. https://t.co/lwgvqsO9QW— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 15, 2020
It appears the Lakers are doing this under the assumption that Rajon Rondo will not be back, according to multiple reports:
Can confirm reports that Lakers in advanced talks to acquire OKC point guard Dennis Schroeder for Danny Green and No. 1 pick, 28. . Deal can be completed Monday. Lakers moving ahead as if Rajon Rondo will get a big deal in free agency.— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) November 15, 2020
After his role in helping the Lakers win a championship with a particularly strong playoff run, Rondo is expected to command free-agent interest that exceeds the Lakers' budget constraints. Trading for Schroder is an adroit pre-emptive move— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 15, 2020
It’s worth noting that the Lakers had to match salary here, which always made Danny Green is the logical candidate. We already knew that the Lakers had made him available in trade talks, and he makes almost exactly the same money as Schroder, which makes his inclusion in the trade the simplest path forward.
Here are my thoughts on this deal, from earlier this week when I theorized about it:
Green’s help defense would certainly be missed if this still theoretical deal — and to be clear, Shelburne isn’t reporting that Green would be in the offer, just speculating — but Schroder was an active part of the Thunder’s defense last season, capably guarding bigger players and showing some toughness in the process.
Last season’s version of Schroder would also help the Lakers offensively by giving them another creator and capable shooter, probably far more so than Green did during a down (but still okay) year for the veteran wing. This could be a deal that would really improve the Lakers, and so it’s easy to see why they’d be interested.
I wrote that earlier because this is the second time in less than a week that there have been rumors about Schroder and the Lakers, as Ramona Shelburne of ESPN already reported earlier this week that the team’s trade-deadline desire for Schroder had been renewed in talks already this offseason. It’s worth noting that Schroder didn’t want to go to L.A. then, but that could have changed now that the Thunder have fully entered a rebuild.
Could this deal backfire? Absolutely. Green’s excellent defense might make his loss felt more than one might expect, but Schroder is much better at things the Lakers need than a lot of the other guards the team might could looking at on the free agent market:
Pelinka and this front office also deserve the benefit of the doubt on almost any move they make this offseason. Lots of people had questions about the Lakers’ roster last year, too, and well... I’d say that turned out all right.
Additionally, this deal also likely takes the Lakers out of the running to trade for DeMar DeRozan, Chris Paul, and any other big contract players they’ve been linked to, as Green’s salary was the main ballast in such transactions. We’ll see how everything shakes out when trades can officially be consummated tomorrow, Monday, Nov. 16, but it looks like at least one is already done.