The Los Angeles Lakers are staying active in the trade market and rumors are beginning to heat up.
L.A. has made calls for Detroit Pistons’ forward Bojan Bogdanovic, though Detroit is hesitant to trade him away. New York Knicks’ forwards Evan Fournier and Cam Reddish have been popular names to fly in the rumor mill too. The Lakers’ interest in Reddish dates back to last season.
And of course, the ever-popular trade machine component Russell Westbrook is still being discussed in possible deals. The Lakers may be eying the Chicago Bulls roster for a big deal to strike DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic. However, Chicago is not interested in acquiring Westbrook to make it work.
The Lakers though have called a familiar team for a familiar face. Chris Haynes of Bleacher Report reported on Wednesday that the Lakers recently inquired about Washington Wizards forward Kyle Kuzma:
“Sources told me that the Lakers did inquire about Kyle Kuzma. And we have to understand Kuzma’s situation in Washington. So, Kyle Kuzma has a player option. He can decline that option and hit free agency, which I believe that will be the case. Things happen, there’s still a long season to play out, but as of right now, yes, that is the plan to decline that option. But, from what I was told, the Lakers reached out, inquired about Kyle Kuzma. The Washington Wizards really love Kyle Kuzma. They especially love to pair him with Porzingis and Brad Beal. The Washington Wizards, when you talk about the general manager over there who runs things over there Tommy Sheppard, he has a track record of taking care of his players who perform well. So the Wizards are not going to give Kyle Kuzma up for cheap. They really covet him. They’re definitely going to be open to signing him to a long term extension, but anything is possible.”
Dec. 15 is when players signed over the summer can be moved in trades. Therefore, it explains why rumors are coming out about the Lakers looking to make moves. But, Kuzma’s name is new and the irony of the Lakers going back to Washington for him is clear.
During his tenure in Los Angeles, Kuzma was stuck in mock trade talks until finally being dealt for Westbrook in 2021. Now just over a year since the move, the Lakers are hoping to re-acquire the forward.
Kuzma is enjoying a career year averaging 21 points on 45% shooting from the field. He’s been a consistent source of offense for the Wizards and is a strong two-way player on a great contract. However, Haynes hinted that the Lakers may struggle to crack a deal to acquire Kuzma.
The Wizards have not won a game since Nov. 28 and will likely demand at least one of the Lakers’ first-round picks, something that L.A. has held on to for only All-Star caliber players. Westbrook doesn’t necessarily have to be included to acquire Kuzma too. The Lakers reportedly are leaning toward a smaller deal including Patrick Beverley and Kendrick Nunn, whose salaries would work in a potential deal for Kuzma. It was also reported that it is likely that the Lakers will make a deal no earlier than mid-January.
Discussions could go on until then or crash before they ever take shape. Nonetheless, Kuzma is a piece the Lakers could use.
LeBron James backs Anthony Davis despite free throw failures
Anthony Davis is playing some of the best basketball of his career. But, it’s been bittersweet recently for the Brow, who missed key free throws to secure a win in two out of three games. Davis is disappointed by his misses, but James isn’t worried about the center.
“If there’s one guy on this ballclub that I love going to the free-throw line in the clutch, it’s AD,” LeBron said. “He’s been on the other side a lot more times than our four years together, closing out games at the free-throw line than on the other side. I’m not worried about it one bit.”
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