The Los Angeles Lakers decided to inject a jolt of excitement into everyone’s Masters Sunday, as many reports swirled around that they were in active talks with the Oklahoma City Thunder on making a trade for Dennis Schroder. It appears that that deal is all but finalized, as the Lakers will reportedly be sending Danny Green and the 28th pick in the 2020 NBA Draft to the Thunder for Schroder. That left many wondering about whether or not Rajon Rondo would return to the Lakers, as he is reportedly going to opt-out of his player option to seek a better deal for his services. The Lakers were rumored to still want him back, but Marc Stein of The New York Times now reports that the Schroder deal was done in part because of the Lakers’ belief that they will probably lose Rondo in free agency.
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
Schroder is definitely a positive upgrade on the offensive end over Rajon Rondo, but that doesn’t stop recency bias from feeling a little hurt from losing Rondo. Although Lakers fans have had an up-and-down relationship with Rondo over his two years with the Lakers (with probably more “downs” than “ups”), he was a key reason for the Lakers being able to win the 2020 NBA Finals. “Playoff Rondo” was always rumored to be coming once the Lakers returned to the playoffs, and boy did he.
Still, it was reported that he’d want to opt-out of his ~$3 million player option for the 2020-21 season, while it was also reported that he’d possibly be wanting a somewhat large payday as he turns 35 years old in February. The Clippers have even been rumored to want his services, and they may be able to get him as the Lakers may have realized that they can’t pay Rondo what he wants.
We will see how free agency develops this week, as teams can start to engage with players on November 20th.