With just days remaining before the 2020 NBA Draft, the world-champion Los Angeles Lakers have already begun to beef up their roster for a title defense. Per a tweet from ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski on Sunday, the team is putting the finishing touches on a trade with the Oklahoma City Thunder to land high-scoring combo guard Dennis Schroder.
According to the report, the Lakers will be sending veteran wing Danny Green, as well as their selection at No. 28 in Wednesday’s draft, to the Thunder as compensation for the 27-year-old. The deal is expected to be completed on Monday.
Schroder is fresh off of a career year in Oklahoma City, during which he was a key cog in helping his team compile a 44-28 record and capture a surprising No. 5 seed in the Western Conference playoff table. In 65 appearances with the club, the seven-year pro averaged 19 points, four rebounds and four assists per game, as tracked by Basketball-Reference. He also shot a career-best 47 percent from the field and 39 percent from three-point range.
Although the L.A. Clippers Montrezl Harrell eventually took home the trophy, Schroder made a strong case for the NBA’s Sixth Man of the Year award throughout the season.
The New York Times‘ Marc Stein tweeted that the Lakers made the move with the assumption that the team’s current back-up point guard — former All-Star Rajon Rondo — would not be returning for a third go-round in the purple and gold. Rondo, who will turn 35 during the 2020-21 campaign, declined the final-year player option on his contract and is slated to enter the open market as an unrestricted free agent.
Per Stein, there will be a market for his services across the league after he played a role in delivering the Lakers their 17th NBA title.
In addition to being several years younger and in the prime of his career, Schroder will be a clear upgrade over Rondo in terms of overall production. Although Schroder has just one year remaining on his contract, the Lakers will have the ability to lock him up long-term with a multi-year extension as well.
Meanwhile, the key piece in the deal for the Thunder would be the first-round pick. The franchise has been collecting draft assets ever since it decided to hit the reset button by dealing Russell Westbrook and Paul George last summer. As a result of their dealings, Thunder brass will have as many as 14 other first-round picks between now and 2026, as tracked by RealGM.
As shared previously by The Inquisitr, David Vertsberger of SportsNet New York has mused about the Lakers potentially acquiring the Brooklyn Nets’ Spencer Dinwiddie as well.