The news broke early Sunday afternoon that the Lakers were trading for OKC guard Dennis Schroder. This was certainly out of nowhere but a great move for the Lakers. Breaking down the trade, I believe this works out very well for both teams but especially the Lakers.
They moved off of Danny Green who is already on a pretty expensive contract, to begin with. They also got rid of the first-round pick they had, which they probably were not going to use this season anyways. The Thunder now have upwards of 12 first-round picks in the next 2-3 seasons and are building something pretty impressive for a small market team.
We have also recently learned that Rajon Rondo, Avery Bradley, and KCP are all opting out of their contracts and are hitting free agency. It’s pretty tough to see a scenario where any of these players are back with the team. Rondo wants more money and all of the rumors are pointing towards him heading to the Clippers, especially now with the Schroder acquirement. Avery Bradley has not played since last March after choosing to opt-out of the NBA bubble.
The Lakers proved that they could win a championship without his very solid three-point shooting and great defense. The moment that happened, his value to the team went down, and he will most likely look to get paid more in another destination. KCP also wants a more expensive contract after arguably being the 3rd-4th best player on the team in the bubble this postseason. He shares an agent with LeBron and AD, so there is still a chance he stays, but at the same time, it wouldn’t be a big surprise to see him go elsewhere.
The Thunder are deeply into rebuild mode and they have done as good a job at it as any team in the league in the past few seasons. In this upcoming draft on Wednesday, they will have the Nuggets first-rounder (pick 25), the Lakers first-rounder (pick 28), and their own second-round pick. In 2021, they will have their own first-rounder, the Heats first-rounder, the Rockets first-rounder, and their own second-rounder. In 2022, they will have their own first-rounder, the Clippers’ first-rounder, and their own second-rounder. This adds up to around 10 draft picks in the next 3 seasons. It will be hard for them to attract real superstars because of the market they are in, but they are doing the right thing in terms of building a future.
The Lakers are certainly not finished yet with free agency. There are rumors that they are going after Serge Ibaka and Wesley Matthews. These would be two great additions to the team, especially with the departure of some key players coming up. DeMar DeRozan just opted into his 27.7 million dollar deal with the Spurs, and with the Lakers making the move they did yesterday, it seems highly unlikely that they have the pieces to acquire him in a trade, so they will look elsewhere. Other teams will be looking to make moves to compete in the west, so it will be really interesting to see what moves are made by the time the season begins in a little over a month from now.