The Lakers have been looking for a better second shot creator and ball handler and they are about to land a good one — Oklahoma City’s Dennis Schroder.
The Lakers are in “advanced talks” to trade for Schroder — who finished a close second in Sixth Man of the Year voting last season to Montrezl Harrell — sending Oklahoma City the No. 28 pick and likely Danny Green, reports Adrian Wojnarowski of ESPN.
Lakers guard Danny Green and the No. 28 overall pick have been a focus of the trade discussions for Schroder, sources tell ESPN. https://t.co/KOAcjyIked
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 15, 2020
The Schroder trade to the Lakers is agreed to in principle but can’t be formalized until the trade moratorium is lifted on Monday, Wojnarowski reports. Because the Lakers’ 2021 first-round pick belongs to New Orleans as part of the Anthony Davis trade (protected 8-30, unprotected in 2022) the Lakers must make the No. 28 pick for OKC then consummate the trade. Teams cannot trade first-round picks in consecutive years.
For the Lakers, this is a considerable upgrade in a secondary playmaker and someone to run the offense when LeBron James is on the bench. Rajon Rondo had that role last season but is opting out of the last year of his contract, and there are other teams interested that will pay more than the Lakers can offer. Schroder averaged 18.9 points and 4 assists a game, plus shot 38.5% from three last season and has become dangerous on the catch-and-shoot. He is quick with the ball and can get his own shot or create for others. Schroder is in the final year of his contract for $15.5 million, keeping the Lakers options open heading into 2021.
The price to get is steep in Danny Green, which weakens L.A. wing and will force them to find depth there in a thin free agent market (it could mean more minutes for Kyle Kuzma, but that may not be as good a thing for Lakers fans as they think). The Lakers’ No. 28 pick was going to be part of any trade package, Thunder GM Sam Presti is hoarding picks for his rebuild (16 first-round picks in the next six drafts). While Green frustrated Lakers fans during the Finals and his play was inconsistent, he was a veteran 3&D wing presence that LeBron and the coaching staff trusted — and opposing teams respected — and will not be easy to replace.
(In theory, the Lakers could make this deal work with a sign-and-trade with Kentavious Caldwell-Pope plus Avery Bradley, or if both players opted in for next season, but that is not happening. Also, in theory, a third team could be brought into this deal.)
Expect OKC to flip Green to another contender soon, he will not play the full season for the Thunder.
Overall, the defending champion Lakers just got a little better — and that should worry the other contenders out there — but they need to find wing depth now.