Even though the trade window hasn’t technically opened yet, the Los Angeles Lakers have already agreed on a big trade. They’ll be sending Danny Green and this year’s first-round pick to the Oklahoma City Thunder for Dennis Schroder. While Schroder does fill a couple of big needs at backup point guard and as a third scoring option, trading for him does open up a new hole on the roster.
The Lakers are going to need to figure out how to replace Green. He struggled offensively in these past playoffs but he was one of the team’s top defenders and 3-point shooters. According to Marc Stein of the New York Times, Los Angeles already has a replacement in mind.
More on how the Lakers' roster shapes up for their forthcoming title defense:
League sources say they have interest in trying to sign Wesley Matthews away from Milwaukee to replace Green
— Marc Stein (@TheSteinLine) November 15, 2020
Matthews has been in the NBA for a long time and does have some strong catch and shoot ability. He started all 67 games he played in for the Milwaukee Bucks last season and they had the best record in the NBA.
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Why Matthews Isn’t a Great Replacement for Green
Matthews is a savvy veteran who would probably fit in well on the Lakers’ roster. However, he isn’t as good of a 3-point shooter as Green and he also isn’t as good of a defender. Matthew is 34 and is coming off of one of the weakest scoring averages of his career. He only averaged 7.4 points a game last season.
He’s also not going to be able to play great perimeter defense. That’s something that Green does really well. Matthews would be a cheaper option and the Lakers could sign him because they can’t afford other top veterans. That said, the team will need to address 3-point shooting.
Other Potential Replacements for Green
The Lakers may be defending champions but that doesn’t mean they can’t get better. In the regular season and the playoffs, the team struggled to shoot threes consistently. Schroder had a good year from beyond the arc but his career numbers aren’t as good as Green’s. Now that the Lakers have found their backup point guard and third scoring option, they need to find a knockdown shooter.
Danilo Gallinari is probably the best fit on the market for the Lakers but he’s going to cost too much, especially after the Schroder addition. The team could explore a trade that would send Kyle Kuzma to the Detroit Pistons for Luke Kennard. Kennard is an excellent 3-point shooter and fits the Lakers better than Kuzma does right now.
If Los Angeles would prefer not to make a trade, they could try to find a cheap option in free agency. The Lakers have been linked to Davis Bertans. He’s a big man so he wouldn’t replace Green but he’s a great 3-point shooter. Jerami Grant is a decent 3-point shooter and an excellent defender. He could be a good replacement for Green if the Lakers are planning on having a big lineup this season.
Otto Porter Jr. is a really good shooter and his price should be lower due to recent injury issues.