It seems the Los Angeles Lakers won’t be running it back after all. Not only are the Lakers in advanced talks to acquire Dennis Schröder from the Oklahoma City Thunder for a package centered around Danny Green and the No. 28 pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, but they’re also expected to lose Rajon Rondo, which motivated them to go after Schröder, according to Marc Stein of The New York Times.
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
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
In many ways, Schröder is a better and younger version of Rondo. While Schröder doesn’t possess the same court vision as Rondo, he’s a talented floor general that excels at creating his own shot and getting to the basket. He also showed signs of life from behind the 3-point line last season, shooting 38.5% from behind the arc on a career-high five 3-point attempts per game. Prior to last season, his career-high for 3-point percentage was 35.1% on three attempts per game. For his career, he’s shot 33.7% from 3-point range.
However, to say this trade is a win solely because they replaced Rondo with someone better would be a mistake, in my opinion, because the Lakers didn’t trade Rondo for Schröder; they traded Green, who was a huge part of what the Lakers were able to accomplish on defense last season. They also sacrificed two of their biggest assets in the rumored trade: Green’s $15.36 million contract and the No. 28 pick. Now, their lone asset is Kyle Kuzma, who will make just $3.5 million next season.
Rob Pelinka has earned the benefit of the doubt from Lakers fans, though, and that’s especially true if he’s willing to let Rondo walk. As good as Rondo was for the Lakers in the postseason, there was no reason to give him a substantial raise.
Additionally, Schröder is a good player, and his ability to generate his own offense will be invaluable to the team if James is on cruise control for the majority of the regular season. Overall, it’s not a bad trade, but it’s much more complicated than “the Lakers replaced Rondo with Schröder.”