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The Sports Report: Why the Lakers traded for Dennis Schröder

Dennis Schröder during the first half of a game against the Clippers this year.
Dennis Schröder during the first half of a game against the Clippers this year.
(Associated Press)

Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. Had an enjoyable couple of weeks off. Let’s get right to the news.

Dan Woike on the Lakers: The Lakers ended last season by standing on the court last. Now they’ve started this upcoming season by acting first.

By agreeing to trade for guard Dennis Schröder, the Lakers sent the NBA a strong message that they weren’t going to hide behind the championship trophy they earned inside the NBA bubble. They were going to set the tone for what will be one of the wildest NBA weeks in league history by acting first and getting one of the league’s top available guards.

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With Rajon Rondo likely headed for too expensive of a payday for L.A. to match, Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka agreed to send Danny Green and the No. 28 pick in Wednesday’s NBA draft to the Thunder for Schröder, a dynamic guard who was one of the best reserves in the NBA last season.

The NBA’s trade market officially opens Monday at 9 a.m. PST, with stars like Chris Paul and Jrue Holiday potentially on the move. The NBA then will hold a virtual draft. And Friday, the league will open free agency, a weeklong parade of transactions for teams trying to catch the NBA’s defending champions.

Sunday’s deal with the Thunder put into action a plan that was percolating before the Lakers even boarded a flight out of Orlando, Fla. — standing pat wouldn’t be good enough. Repeating would require improving.

The Lakers have already shown they’ll be players during the week. Up next? Sources say they’re very interested in guard Wesley Matthews to replace Green as an all-important defensive-minded wing. The team also has to decide whether to re-sign Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Markieff Morris and Dwight Howard while awaiting word on whether Avery Bradley or JaVale McGee will exercise their player options.

Then there’s the matter of Anthony Davis’ free agency, which is more of a formality centered on the kind of deal he wants — and not who will give it to him.

In Schröder, the Lakers address a common concern about their roster. Scouts and executives from rival organizations have long known of the Lakers’ desire to find another playmaker who can ease some of the burden carried by LeBron James, and to a lesser extent, Davis.

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BASEBALL

Bill Shaikin on baseball: Michelle Obama and Hillary Clinton shared her excitement with the world. Jackie Robinson’s daughter said she and her mother would cheer for the Miami Marlins. As Kim Ng worked her way through more than a thousand congratulatory messages, it dawned upon her that becoming the first female general manager was about more than baseball, much more.

Women hold up half the sky. If a woman can run a men’s team, maybe the sky really is the limit.

“It really was a glimmer of hope and inspiration for so many,” Ng said in a videoconference from Miami on Monday.

As a child, Ng said, she was inspired by Billie Jean King, the tennis Hall of Famer who pushed her sport toward equality.

King, now a minority owner of the Dodgers, is delighted for Ng. She used the word “progress” in a congratulatory tweet.

Reached by telephone Monday, King used the same adage Ng had during her videoconference: If you can see it, you can be it.

A kid named Chase can see himself as a general manager. Today, so can a kid named Megan.

That is progress, King said, but not enough.

“What happens with girls and women, when we get something, people think it only affects girls and women,” King said.

“When a guy does something, they don’t say, ‘Oh, he’s a great role model for a boy.’ They just say, ‘Oh, he’s a great role model.’ ”

CLIPPERS

Andrew Greif on the Clippers: The Clippers have finalized Tyronn Lue’s first coaching staff, The Times has learned.

In addition to Kenny Atkinson, Chauncey Billups, Dan Craig and Larry Drew, whose hirings have been previously known, the Clippers have hired assistant Roy Rogers while retaining Brendan O’Connor and Jeremy Castleberry, people with knowledge of the hirings said. O’Connor has been a Clippers assistant since 2013, and Castleberry will enter his second season with the team.

Also hired to Lue’s staff are coaching associate Cam Hodges and player development coach Shaun Fein. In addition, Dahntay Jones and Beau Levesque will each hold player development and video coaching roles. Dan Fitzpatrick is head video coordinator and Conor Dunleavy is the assistant video coordinator, as well as holding a player development role; both were with the team each of the last two seasons. Natalie Nakase, a player development assistant who has been with the team since 2012, also has been retained, a person with knowledge of the decision said.

RAMS

Gary Klein on the Rams: The Rams selected Joe Noteboom in the third round of the 2018 NFL draft with the aim of making him the heir apparent to veteran left tackle Andrew Whitworth.

Noteboom will get an extended audition during the rest of this season.

Whitworth sprained the medial collateral and posterior cruciate ligaments in his left knee during the Rams’ 23-16 victory over the Seattle Seahawks and will be put on injured reserve, coach Sean McVay said Monday.

McVay said Whitworth could be sidelined for six to eight weeks, but his injury would not require surgery.

“We were all worried it was for sure going to be season ending and that’s not going to be the case,” McVay said during a videoconference with reporters.

The Rams (6-3) play the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (7-3) on Monday night in Tampa, Fla. It is the first of seven remaining games, so Whitworth, who turns 39 next month, could conceivably return for the end of the regular season or perhaps the playoffs if the Rams qualify.

CHARGERS

Jeff Miller on the Chargers: The Chargers entered their game Sunday well aware of Miami’s blitz tendencies, the way the Dolphins love to make opposing quarterbacks uncomfortable.

The blueprint was so impactful that, a day later, wide receiver Keenan Allen suggested the scheme was effective even when the Dolphins didn’t bring extra pressure.

“They had a great game plan for us,” he said Monday. “They executed it well. I would say we were probably pretty confused out there with all the looks they were giving us.”

Allen further explained that, having seen Miami unleash so many all-out blitzes this season, the Chargers prepared to combat the strategy — only the Dolphins went against some tendencies they had displayed.

“Every time they showed it, we thought they were going to bring it,” Allen said. “Most of the game, they backed off and played coverage. That kind of messed with our play calling a little bit.”

One of those situations led to Justin Herbert’s interception early in the fourth quarter as the Chargers were on their way to losing 29-21. They finished with a season-low 273 total yards, well short of the 420-yard average they brought into the game.

SOCCER

Kevin Baxter on soccer: It’s not often you need two hands to keep track of the scoring in a soccer game, so Gio Reyna’s confusion was understandable as he came off the field Monday following the United States national team’s most prolific performance in more than a year.

“I don’t know, was it six or seven tonight?” he asked after scoring the first goal in the U.S. team’s 6-2 rout of Panama in Wiener Neustadt, Austria. “Obviously, we scored a lot of goals.”

The most, in fact, since a 7-0 Nations League win over Cuba 13 months ago. But it wasn’t so much how many goals the U.S. scored as it was who scored them. Sebastian Soto, who came on in the 77th minute, finished with two in his international debut, Nicholas Gioacchini had two in his first national team start and Reyna had one in his second U.S. appearance.

Richy Ledezma, who made his U.S. debut as a second-half substitute, had two assists.

None are old enough to buy a beer in California to celebrate — Gioacchini and Reyna were part of the second-youngest starting XI in national team history — and none had been in a national team camp before last week.

Since Monday’s game was a friendly and not a competitive game, none are “cap tied” — the term used to describe a player locked to one national team — to the U.S. Instead, they are among 11 players on this month’s 23-man roster who are eligible to play for other national teams, a number which underscores the diversity of a young team that started players from clubs in eight countries Monday.

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LAFC forward Diego Rossi was named the Major League Soccer young player of the year on Monday, an award presented for the first time this season to recognize the league’s top player aged 22 and younger.

Rossi, 22, led MLS in goals this season with 14, following in the footsteps of teammate Carlos Vela, who won the Golden Boot last season. They are the first teammates to lead MLS in goals in consecutive seasons.

TODAY’S LOCAL MAJOR SPORTS SCHEDULE

All times Pacific.

No games scheduled.

THIS DATE IN SPORTS

1956 — Syracuse beats Colgate 61-7 behind halfback Jim Brown. He sets an NCAA-record for points by an individual player in a single game by scoring six touchdowns and kicking seven extra points for 43 points.

1959 — Connie Dierking of the Syracuse Nationals becomes the first player to foul out of a game in the first quarter, as Syracuse beat Cincinnati 121-116 at New York.

1968 — The “Heidi” television special starts on time and cuts off the NBC broadcast of the Oakland-New York Jets game in the final minutes, leaving viewers in the dark and unaware that the Raiders score two touchdowns in the last minute for a 43-32 comeback victory.

1975 — Ken Anderson of the Cincinnati Bengals passes for 447 yards and two touchdowns in a 35-24 victory over the Buffalo Bills.

1981 — Bill Cartwright of the New York Knicks ties a 20-year-old NBA record by hitting 19 of 19 free throws in a 124-110 loss to the Kansas City Kings.

1984 — Purvis Short of the Golden State Warriors scores 59 points in a 131-114 loss to the New Jersey Nets.

1990 — David Klingler of Houston throws an NCAA-record 11 touchdown passes as the Cougars trounce Eastern Washington 84-21. Klingler completes 41 of 58 passes for 572 yards and ties the NCAA record for touchdown passes in a season with 47.

1991 — Detroit offensive lineman Mike Utley suffers a spinal injury on the first play of the fourth quarter of a 21-10 victory over the Los Angeles Rams and is left paralyzed from the chest down.

2000 — Jason Kidd has a dubious quadruple-double — 18 points, 12 rebounds, 10 assists and 14 turnovers in the Phoenix Suns’ 90-85 loss to the New York Knicks. The turnovers tie the NBA record set by Atlanta’s John Drew on March 1, 1978.

2001 — Lennox Lewis knocks out Hasim Rahman in the fourth round to get back his WBC and IBF heavyweight titles. Rahman’s championship reign of 209 days is the shortest in heavyweight history.

2007 — Martin Brodeur becomes the second goalie in NHL history to win 500 career games by stopping 26 shots in New Jersey’s 6-2 win at Philadelphia. Patrick Roy won 551 games in his career.

2013 — Jimmie Johnson wins his sixth Sprint Cup championship in eight years. Johnson, who needed only to finish 23rd or better to wrap up the title, finishes ninth.

2013 — Sebastian Vettel wins the U.S. Grand Prix in easy fashion, setting an F1 season record with his eighth straight victory behind another blistering drive that gave the field no chance to catch him.

2014 — Miami Marlins slugger Giancarlo Stanton agrees to terms with the team on a $325 million, 13-year contract. The contract tops the $292 million, 10-year deal Miguel Cabrera agreed to with the Detroit Tigers in March.

2018 — Jimmy Butler knocks down a 3-pointer as time expires in overtime, and the Philadelphia 76ers overcomes a career-high 60 points from Kemba Walker to beat the Charlotte Hornets 122-119.

And finally

The top 15 moments from the Dodgers’ 2020 postseason run. Watch them here.

Until next time...

That concludes today’s newsletter. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, email me at houston.mitchell@latimes.com, and follow me on Twitter at @latimeshouston. To get this newsletter in your inbox, click here.


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