It seems more and more likely that if the Los Angeles Lakers decide to make a trade, it’s going to involved them sending away Kyle Kuzma. The team was once very high on the young forward, but it seems like their opinion of him has diminished thanks to inconsistent play. He stepped up at times when Anthony Davis was out due to injury, but he also disappeared in a number of games.
If he’s put in the right situation, Kuzma has the potential to thrive. That said, his lack of consistency is likely scaring teams off and that’s why the Lakers have been unable to move him yet. Los Angeles is among the best teams in the NBA and thanks to that fact, they may just stay put at the trade deadline.
Lakers Don’t Want to Mess With Chemistry
The Lakers are an incredibly tightknit group and that’s played a big role in them leading the Western Conference. Moving players around in a trade could disrupt that and Shams Charania on The Hoops Hype Podcast dropped some insight on the team’s thought process.
“I’ve been told that the chemistry on these Lakers is something to behold; these guys really get along on and off the floor,” Charania said. “I think their GM, Rob Pelinka, really has to take that into account when looking at any changes that may be made. My sense has always been that the Lakers would only move Kuzma if they got a high-end rotation player, not just making a deal to add a normal shooter like what they kind of did last year in trying to get Mike Muscala by giving up Ivica Zubac.”
It’s clear that Pelinka is learning as time has proven that the Ivica Zubac trade didn’t make a whole lot of sense. He’s still a relatively new general manager, but he’s proven to be a quick learner considering the impressive roster he put together for this season. Good chemistry can be just as important as talent. We’ve seen in the past that the most talented team doesn’t always win. Right now, the Lakers have a great combination of talent and chemistry that could be good enough to win a championship.
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Lakers Should Only Make a Trade If It Makes Sense
Kuzma is probably the Lakers’ third-best scoring option, so if they’re planning to send him away, they better get a good return. It’s no secret that the team has an interest in ball handlers like Bogdan Bogdanovic or Derrick Rose, but it doesn’t look like Kuzma will be enough to land either of those players. With very little draft capital available to trade, the Lakers don’t have the proper assets to add a big name.
If Los Angeles can convince the Kings that a Kuzma-Bogdanovic swap is a fair trade, then they should probably make it. However, that seems unlikely. The Lakers are better off just biding their time and going after some players who hit the buyout market or are available in free agency.