Lakers’ Kyle Kuzma, Kings’ Nemanja Bjelica Discussed at NBA Trade Deadline

Getty Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma and coach Frank Vogel.

Nemanja Bjelica is a name that has floated around a lot recently.

Averaging 12.2 points, 6.4 rebounds and 2.7 assists per contest this season, the Serbian combo forward was the EuroLeague MVP and Serbian Player of the Year in 2015.

A Turkish League Champion in 2014, Bjelica signed a three-year, $20.5 million contract with the Sacramento Kings in 2018.

Bjelica has been mentioned in NBA trade rumors with the Lakers recently.

According to The Ringer’s Kevin O’Conner, the Kings offered Bjelica and an unspecified draft pick to the Lakers for Kyle Kuzma.

According to NBC Sports: The Lakers reportedly rejected the offer and countered by asking for Bogdan Bogdanovic.

It was at that point that a league source told NBC Sports California’s James Ham that the Kings were unlikely to do a Bogdanovic for Kuzma swap.

Bogdanovic is in the last season of a three-year, $27 million deal and could demand a hefty contract in free agency.

Fansided’s Golden Gate Sports notes: that with the Sacramento Kings having signed star shooting guard Buddy Hield to a massive contract this past offseason, it might not make sense to give another shooting guard significant money and that Kyle Kuzma, who is in the third year of a four-year $8.5 million rookie contract, making him a very affordable option and an outstanding player. However, the talks between these two never gained any traction it seems, and the Kings have placed a new offer for the Lakers to think about.

PHOENIX, ARIZONA – JANUARY 07: Nemanja Bjelica #88 of the Sacramento Kings reacts after hitting a three point shot against the Phoenix Suns during the second half the NBA game at Talking Stick Resort Arena on January 07, 2020 in Phoenix, Arizona. The Kings defeated the Suns 114-103. (Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images)

Kyle Kuzma trade rumors have been constant. Kuzma is considered the third piece in the Lakers wheel of star talent alongside Anthony Davis and LeBron James that are expected to lead LA on their championship run.

On a recent episode of the Mason & Ireland Show, ESPN’s Jorge Sedano noted that he heard “rumblings” about the Lakers rejecting a trade offer that would have allowed them to acquire Detroit Pistons point guard, Derrick Rose for Lakers fan-favorite Alex Caruso, a future second-round draft pick, and “salary filler.”

Additionally, Sedano made it know that he cannot absolutely confirm the rumors, which he indicated that he gathered via “hushed tones and whispers.”

“I don’t even think about it at all, really,” Kyle Kuzma told me recently.

For those keeping score at home: Kuzma is currently averaging 13 points, and 4.2 rebounds for LA.

Meanwhile back at the ranch: The Sacramento Kings are currently 18-31 and in 13th place in the NBA’s Western Conference standings. Nemanja Bjelica’s name will continue to light up with Thursday’s trading deadline near. On Sunday, I noted that the New Orleans Pelicans, a team with assets and young talent could have interest in Bjelica.

Selected 35th by the Washington Wizards in the 2010 NBA Draft, Bjelica

He’s had some good games but he’s struggled too. Bjelica had nine points (3-8 FG, 3-8 3Pt), three rebounds, three assists and one block in 30 minutes during Saturday’s 129-113 loss to the Los Angeles Lakers.

CBS Sports notes that the forward’s minutes are all but assured with Marvin Bagley (foot) apparently unable to stay healthy despite barely playing this season.