After months of rumors and speculation, Los Angeles Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka was able to pull off the Anthony Davis trade with the New Orleans Pelicans.
The trade cost the Lakers a lot of assets as three of their best young players and a number of draft picks all went to New Orleans. One person who didn’t was Kyle Kuzma.
The Lakers were determined to keep one of their young players and Kuzma was the chosen one. There have certainly been some questions as to whether or not Kuzma was the best of the team’s young core, but Kuzma brings a lot to the table and has plenty of room to grow into the potential third All-Star player they covet.
Holding on to Kuzma was of the utmost importance for the Lakers and Pelinka recently spoke about this. The Lakers general manager appeared on SiriusXM NBA Radio with Justin Termine and discussed why the Lakers are so happy they were able to hold on to him in the Davis trade:
“I think Kyle also is of that ilk and to be able to consummate the transaction for Anthony Davis and keep Kyle was just an amazing win-win for us … But being able to keep Kyle was an objective that we’re proud of because we think he’s a key part of this team and how we want to play with the length and the versatility and the defensive ability and shooting that he brings. It was definitely a win-win for us to be able to get Anthony Davis in a trade and also keep Kyle Kuzma as a Laker.”
Kuzma is definitely a huge key to the success of the Lakers. As Pelinka noted, he brings shooting the team sorely needs and is great at playing off the ball, which is a necessity when sharing the court with Davis and LeBron James. He also has the desire and work ethic to keep improving his game and showed signs of development last season both defensively and as a playmaker.
The good thing about having so many assets is the Lakers were able to assemble a great trade package while still holding on to something. The goal of gathering assets is for moments like this and the Lakers had so many that they were able to keep arguably their most important one, while still being able to acquire one of the NBA’s best players.
The important thing now for Kuzma is simply getting healthy. He is dealing with a stress reaction in his foot that has kept him out of the 2019 NBA preseason, though he believes the injury isn’t too serious. The quicker Kuzma can return to full health, the quicker he can work out his role on this Lakers team and get on the road to accomplishing his goals for this important season.