No matter how many trade deadlines Kyle Kuzma survives, it looks like he’s destined to always be mentioned in some sort of trade rumors while he’s with the Los Angeles Lakers. He’s safe for this season, but that doesn’t mean he’ll be wearing purple and gold at the start of the 2021-2022 season. If the Lakers don’t win the championship this year, they’ll probably need to tweak some things on the roster.
They won’t have a lot of good tradeable assets. According to ESPN’s Tim Bontemps, Kuzma may be their key to adding more talent.
“Kuzma is the one piece they have to really use to get better,” an anonymous executive said. “How are they going to build another sustainable team?”
Bontemps believes that what the Lakers currently has is unstainable. Yes, they have a really strong team right now, but as the rest of the league improves, Los Angeles also needs to. Kuzma really is their only appealing tradeable asset once the offseason gets here. Anthony Davis is a free agent and they wouldn’t trade him if he wasn’t and LeBron James isn’t going anywhere. If the Lakers plan to keep up with the league, then Kuzma could be a casualty.
Trade Suitors for Kuzma in the Offseason
It’s easy to say that the Lakers should trade Kuzma in the offseason to get better, but what exactly could they get for him? The New York Knicks were rumored to be interested in him at the trade deadline, but a deal was never reached because the money wouldn’t work. It’ll be easier for the Lakers to figure out money during the offseason, but now Marcus Morris is a Clipper and that’s who they wanted for Kuzma.
The Minnesota Timberwolves also showed an interest in Kuzma at the trade deadline, according to Heavy.com’s Chris Crouse. However, the player the Lakers were rumored to be targeting was Robert Covington, who was eventually shipped to the Houston Rockets.
That leaves the Sacramento Kings as the other team that reportedly made an offer for Kuzma. The Lakers didn’t like their offer of Nemanja Bjelica, so they passed. Los Angeles wanted Bogdan Bogdanovic, but the Kings held onto him. He’s set to be a restricted free agent at the end of the season. Perhaps he makes it known that he would like to leave Sacramento and the Lakers give them Kuzma in exchange for Bogdanovic.
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LeBron Will Age Gracefully
The Lakers are on a mission this year, so it’s hard for them to look ahead too much. While their leader, LeBron James, is getting up there in age, he’s shown no sign of slowing down. Per Bontemps, there’s not an expectation that’s he’s going to any time soon.
“I have no reason to believe he’s going to drop off,” another anonymous executive said. “He still looks like he can do s— that he could 10 years ago.”
If it’s true that LeBron can continue to defy father time into next season, that bodes very well for the Lakers. Without him, the team likely takes a major step back and could even lose out on Anthony Davis. Luckily, that doesn’t look like it will be a real concern in the near future.