It looks like Oklahoma City Thunder guard Dennis Schroder will soon have a new NBA home. The defending champion Los Angeles Lakers are in advanced talks with the Thunder on a trade for Schroder, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski. A deal between the two teams is also expected to include the Thunder acquiring veteran guard Danny Green and the 28th overall pick in the 2020 NBA Draft, which is owned by L.A.
NBA trade season officially opens up on Monday, so a deal between the Lakers and Thunder involving Schroder could become official at that time.
On the court, the addition of Schroder makes some solid sense for the Lakers, who will be looking to defend the title that they won in Orlando in October. Schroder is a versatile, impactful guard, capable of making plays for himself and others. He appeared in 65 regular season games for Oklahoma City last season, and he averaged 18.9 points, 4 assists, and 3.6 rebounds per game. He also shot 39 percent from long range and is a solid defender for his position. Thanks to his solid play off of the bench, Schroder was the runner-up for the league's Sixth Man of the Year Award, which was won by Clippers big man Montrezl Harrell.
The Lakers are preparing for the fact that they might lose veteran guard Rajon Rondo in free agency, and the addition of Schroder would soften the blow should that occur, as Schroder could fill a similar role to the one that Rondo filled. The Lakers' interest in Schroder isn't necessarily new, as the team also looked into trading for him prior to the trade deadline in February. Obviously nothing materialized at that time, but L.A.'s interest has lingered.
The Lakers had also explored a deal for Milwaukee Bucks guard Eric Bledsoe, according to Chris Mannix of Sports illustrated. However, if they land Schroder, their interest in Bledsoe would be eliminated. Schroder is set for unrestricted free agency in 2021. Usually, it's a risky move for a team to trade for a player on the last year of his contract, but it makes sense for the Lakers, who have an open title window that they are trying to maximize while reigning Finals MVP LeBron James is still near the peak of his powers.