In an attempt to secure a new point guard in the event that Rajon Rondo leaves in free agency, the Lakers have formally agreed to trade for Dennis Schröder.
Even though free agency has yet to officially begin–many reports indicate that the trade season will start on Monday afternoon–news broke on Sunday that the Los Angeles Lakers and Oklahoma City Thunder have agreed to a preemptive trade. OKC will send Schröder to the Lakers in exchange for guard Danny Green and the No. 28 overall pick in the upcoming NBA Draft set for Nov. 18.
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
So what does this have to do with Rondo? According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, the Lakers made the move for Schröder under the belief that Rondo will opt-out of the final year of his contract in order to become a free agent.
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
Can confirm reports that Lakers in advanced talks to acquire OKC point guard Dennis Schroeder for Danny Green and No. 1 pick, 28. . Deal can be completed Monday. Lakers moving ahead as if Rajon Rondo will get a big deal in free agency.
— Brad Turner (@BA_Turner) November 15, 2020
The former Kentucky Wildcat has a $2.6 million player option for the 2020-21 season, and it has previously been reported that he would decline it. The Lakers’ crosstown rival, the L.A. Clippers, are seen as one of the favorites to sign Rondo once free agency does begin. With the move for Schröder expected to go through some time tomorrow, it’s all but confirmed that Rondo will find a new home after winning his second NBA Championship a season ago with the Lake Show.
There is the assumption that Rondo will attract a decent deal in the offseason (potentially on a multi-year deal with upwards of $5 million per season) and the Lakers will have a tight financial situation to navigate, necessitating the inevitable decision that both sides move on from each other. Schröder is objectively a better player right now than the 34-year old Rondo, but the latter is coming off his most impressive stretch of basketball in a few years and could provide the championship leadership that another title-hopeful is searching for.
Either way, Anthony Davis will have a steady point guard who can help the team win now. And if Rondo goes somewhere else to earn a ~$12 million contract, it’s a win for him, too.