The Los Angeles Lakers are still rolling through the playoffs and have a great shot at winning a title. However, there will a lot of improved teams in the Western Conference next season so the Lakers need to continue to get better. While Rajon Rondo has continued his playoff success in bursts, it’s impossible to overlook how much he struggled in the regular season.
Plus, he’s not getting any younger so the Lakers shouldn’t rely on him to be a key contributor next season. Los Angeles should make it a point this offseason to find a strong backup point guard for LeBron James. There aren’t a lot of great options in free agency so the team might need to look to the trade market.
Dennis Schroder would give the Lakers a clear second-unit leader, and his energy and shot-making would make him a welcome addition to the closing five. Rajon Rondo’s playoff resurrection is a nice story, but he’s not up to the task of playing significant minutes over a full year. Seeding still matters, and Schroder is still at a point in his career where he’d be a bigger help during the slog of the regular season. And, let’s just say it: Rondo surely won’t be this effective in the 2021 postseason at age 35.
Los Angeles will miss Kyle Kuzma, but he’s the team’s only asset likely to generate a meaningful return. OKC would be glad to get a young piece for an expiring deal.
Schroder Would Be Really Strong Fit
Schroder may be a backup in Oklahoma City but it’s a role he thrives in. He’s a guy who could come in and be a Sixth Man of the Year candidate. In fact, he finished second in voting for the award this year. He averaged 18.9 points a game this year coming off the bench which is much better than what the Lakers are getting from anybody.
That’s exactly the kind of scoring they need outside of LeBron and Anthony Davis. Now, it would be tough to make the money work but the Lakers could make it happen. It remains to be seen if the Thunder would let him walk but they could decide to go into rebuilding mode with head coach Billy Donovan moving on. Schroder isn’t old but he’s probably not young enough to be around for a rebuild. However, Kuzma would be a strong piece for Thunder to build around.
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Will Lakers Trade Kuzma?
After fighting hard to keep Kuzma this offseason, the Lakers have to be disappointed with the results. He hasn’t played terribly but he’s nowhere close to being the third option they were hoping for. His improvements on defense are noteworthy but he’s just not scoring a lot of points like he used to.
Kuzma is clearly better suited to be in a starting lineup. He’s played so much better when he’s started for the Lakers. It might be better for both sides if he goes elsewhere. He should still have some value on the trade market. If the Thunder are willing to give up Schroder for Kuzma, they should pull the trigger on that deal immediately.