The Anthony Davis trade with the New Orleans Pelicans stripped the Los Angeles Lakers of all their young players except for one: Kyle Kuzma.
Coming into the 2019-20 NBA season, Kuzma was viewed as the team’s best hopes for a third All-Star player and a clear part of the team’s long-term plans.
Injuries and inconsistencies have marred the start of the season for Kuzma whose numbers are down across the board. With the Lakers looking for ways to improve the team and Kuzma being basically the team’s only trade asset, his name has begun to pop up in rumors ahead of the 2019-20 NBA trade deadline.
Though it still seems unlikely the Lakers would trade their best young player, Sam Amick of The Athletic reports they no longer view Kuzma as a definite part of their long-term plans:
He’s no longer a firm part of their plans, and it’s fair to wonder where he might land if Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka sees an opportunity to add a better piece to their puzzle. His rookie deal – $1.9 million this season; $3.5 million next season – will make it tricky to make the salaries match.
One name that has popped up in Kuzma trade rumors is Bogdan Bogdanovic. It was reported there were discussions about a swap centered on the two and apparently it was the Lakers who initiated talks on Bogdanovic:
As for Bogdanovic, who is averaging a career-high 14.5 points (38.3 percent from 3) to go with 3.6 assists and three rebounds per game, a source with knowledge of his thinking says he simply “wants to win” and that he’s not ruling out the prospect of a long-term stay in Sacramento. As I tweeted the other day, the Kings have no interest in a deal centered on a Kuzma-for-Bogdanovic swap. That being said, it was revelatory that – per sources – the Lakers were the ones who came calling about Bogdanovic recently.
While it seems unlikely that a deal between these two sides will come to fruition, the fact the Lakers are initiating talks on such a deal would certainly suggest that the possibility of a Kuzma trade could be greater than initially thought.
There are legit reasons for Kuzma’s struggles so far as his role has changed, his minutes are down, and his injuries haven’t allowed him to really get a rhythm this season. Nothing is for certain, but the rumors on Kuzma seem unlikely to die down anytime soon.