Despite months of chatter, the Los Angeles Lakers opted to stay put this year at the trade deadline. The team was linked to pretty much every name under the sun heading into Thursday’s deadline but didn’t pull the trigger. Kyle Kuzma was the main piece the Lakers have been dangling, but it was first reported by Shams Charania that the team has taken him off the market.
It was rumored earlier that the Knicks were interested in Kuzma and the Lakers wanted Marcus Morris. Whether Los Angeles couldn’t make the money work without giving up Danny Green or they just decided they like Kuzma too much remains to be seen.
In the end, we saw the Lakers choose to keep Kuzma through the February 6 deadline and not make a big splash in the process.
Chemistry Wins Out
Charania had reported previously that the Lakers may be apprehensive to let Kuzma go because of how good the team’s chemistry has been. Apparently, the team gets along better than just about anyone. Obviously, trading away a key piece like Kuzma could’ve disrupted that.
Now that the Lakers have given Kuzma a major endorsement by not trading him, he needs to step it up. When he’s hot, he’s the third-best scoring option on the team. The problem is that he gets hot and cold quite a bit. The sky’s the limit for his ability, he just needs to be less streaky. Los Angeles clearly likes him as they fought to keep him out of the Anthony Davis trade and they held onto him at this trade deadline. It’s up to him to step up now that he’s on a team that’s playoff-bound.
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Darren Collison Is Still an Option
Though it appears the Lakers won’t be adding a much-needed ball handler at the trade deadline, there are still options for the team. Darren Collison may be enjoying retirement, but he’s still got plenty left to give and it appears like he could be on his way back. According to Sean Deveney of Heavy.com, the veteran guard is looking to come back after the All-Star break. While that is still a little while out, it’s more than enough time for him to get acclimated to whatever team he joins before the playoffs start.
It has also been reported that Collison would like to stay in Los Angeles, where he is from. Fortunately for him, both the Lakers and Clippers are among the top title contenders in the NBA this season. He’s spent time with the Clippers in the past, but he may not have the best relationship with head coach Doc Rivers. That could potentially mean the Lakers are his preferred choice and it’s hard to imagine they wouldn’t love to have him. He’d be a great guard to lead the team while LeBron James is on the bench. The Laker offense has stalled when LeBron isn’t on the floor. They have many talented pieces on the bench, they just need a player like Collison to help lead the offense.