The trade speculation surrounding Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma hasn’t exactly been tame the last few months, as rumors swirl about the team using their 24-year-old standout as a chip to bolster the roster with a third star for a championship run.
Shams Charania of The Athletic reported on Friday that several teams have been doing their “due diligence” on a possible deal for Kuzma, but the Lakers are not trying to make a major move that involves him, but rather smaller ones to improve the roster.
Though that’s obviously no guarantee, it’s a little peace of mind for Kuzma, who has grown accustomed to his name being tossed around in trade speculation and saw many of his former teammates dealt to New Orleans in the trade for Anthony Davis.
He spoke with reporters after Saturday’s practice about how he’s dealt with it.
“I mean, just got to just not really worry about it,” Kuzma said. “For me, I’ve been in trade rumors ever since I came here. I think that’s just a thing that happens when you’re a Laker. You’re always in trade rumors, especially in this time, so it doesn’t really matter at the end of the day. Just control what you can control.”
Kyle Kuzma Embracing New Role With Lakers
Kuzma has taken on a different role this season with the Lakers improved roster, coming off the bench as a key sixth man. He is averaging 12.1 points and 3.5 rebounds while shooting 35% from beyond the arc.
Kuzma has come on strong of late, save for one game where he went 0-7 and didn’t score against the Mavericks. He led the Lakers in scoring back to back nights at the end of December. Most of that is because Kuzma is healthy after dealing with a stress reaction in his foot and ankle injury.
“I mean this is what I look like when I’m healthy and I’m confident in my body,” Kuzma said after his 24-point outing against Portland. “Like I said, I’ve been hurt all year and this is the best I’ve felt, and my play the past two games reflected it.”
The NBA’s trade deadline is on is Feb. 6 and the Lakers are expected to make at least a few moves to finalize their roster for a title run.
Lakers Eyeing Improvement at Backup Point Guard Spot
As McMenamin previously reported, the key spot the Lakers are looking to improve is at backup point guard.
The team was linked to Darren Collison, who surprisingly retired in the offseason but has been open to making an NBA return with one of the LA teams — either the Clippers or Lakers. He has played for both Doc Rivers and Frank Vogel in his career.
“There’s not a lot they can do with the assets that they have,” a league executive told Deveney. “Whatever they can pull together, they’re going to try to get help at the point guard spot.”