The Los Angeles Lakers are poised to add Oklahoma City guard Dennis Schroder to their roster via trade, but general manager Rob Pelinka and the front office were also toying with the idea of trading for Milwaukee Bucks point guard Eric Bledsoe.
The report on the Lakers interest in Bledsoe came via Chris Mannix of Sports Illustrated. However, he noted that the trade for Schroder is effectively ended the LA’s interest in Bledsoe.
The Lakers had explored a deal for Milwaukee’s Eric Bledsoe, league sources told @SInow. A Schroder trade would remove that from consideration. If completed, Lakers would be armed with a young, versatile guard coming off his most complete NBA season.
— Chris Mannix (@SIChrisMannix) November 15, 2020
The Bucks have been shopping Bledsoe in an effort to make some cap room, per Kevin O’Connor of The Ringer. Bledsoe played 29 minutes per game last season with Milwuakee, 14.9 points, 4.6 rebounds and 5.4 assists.
Sources: The Bucks pursued a trade with the Thunder for Dennis Schroder and were deep in trade negotiations last week. Ultimately, the Lakers landed Schroder. Now the Bucks must move on to other targets. Eric Bledsoe remains the player Milwaukee is dangling most in trade talks.
— Kevin O'Connor (@KevinOConnorNBA) November 15, 2020
Bledsoe signed a four-year extension with the Bucks in March that will pay him an average salary of 17.5 million until he’s a free agent in 2023. He would have been a nice addition to the cast in purple and gold, despite his large salary.
Schroder can become a free agent next season, but the Lakers will reportedly try to come to a long-term agreement with him to keep him in LA, per ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski.
Lakers Believe Rajon Rondo is Leaving
The Lakers have been aggressive in trying to add to their guard rotation because there is a “strong belief” within the organization that Rajon Rondo will be with another team next season.
“The Lakers are making the trade for Oklahoma City’s Dennis Schroder under the strong belief that they will be losing Rajon Rondo in free agency, league sources say,” Stein wrote on Twitter. “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.”
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
Rondo averaged 24.7 minutes in the postseason, rebounding from a fractured thumb he suffered during a practice in the bubble. He put up 8.9 points, 6.6 assists and 4.3 rebounds in the playoffs. But where Rondo truly shined was with his intangibles. His leadership and ability to make plays with the second unit helped the Lakers turn the tide in a handful of games.
The Clippers, 76ers, Celtics and Bucks are also in contention to land Rondo, per odds provided by Bovada.
Rajon Rondo favored to re-join Lakers according to @BovadaOfficial’s odds.
Bucks +1000 pic.twitter.com/KULFiKBqcP
— 👑📍Brandon ‘Scoop B’ Robinson, M.A. (@ScoopB) November 14, 2020
NBA Trade Action Could Re-Shape Competitive Landscape
Schroder going to the Lakers is likely only the beginning of what will be a busy week of moves both through trades and free agency. Names the Lakers could target include Danilo Gallinari and Serge Ibaka through their mid-level exception.
Lakers will gain some valuable flexibility when it comes to their $9.3M midlevel exception:
Pick 28- $1.964,780
— Bobby Marks (@BobbyMarks42) November 15, 2020
But while the Lakers look to add pieces around superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis, momentum is building for a big move in Houston that could see former MVP James Harden combining forces with Kyrie Irving and Kevin Durant on the Nets, per Wojnarowski.
Harden has been increasingly uneasy about the Rockets’ ability to compete for an NBA title and has been considering the possibility of pushing to play elsewhere before his contract expires, sources said.
ESPN Sources with @RamonaShelburne and @ZachLowe_NBA: As Houston’s James Harden considers his future with franchise, one possible trade destination is rising to top of his list: Brooklyn. The idea of reuniting with Kevin Durant and joining Kyrie Irving is resonating with Harden.
— Adrian Wojnarowski (@wojespn) November 15, 2020
That would be interesting for the Lakers, who would essentially see one of their biggest Western Conference rivals blow up their roster and start over. But with Harden, Irving and Durant on one roster, the Nets would become a major threat coming out of the East.