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Lakers reportedly targeted Dennis Schröder due to ‘strong belief’ Rajon Rondo is leaving in free agency

Rajon Rondo has probably played his last game in a Lakers uniform.

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2020 NBA Finals - Game Six Photo by Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images

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.

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.”

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