The trade deadline can’t pass fast enough for Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma. This is far from the first time he’s been the subject of trade rumors and likely won’t be the last. Though the team fought hard to keep Kuzma during Anthony Davis trade talks, he hasn’t exactly shown the consistency Los Angeles was hoping he would.
Thanks to that fact, Kuzma could be playing for a different ball club within the week. ESPN’s Adrian Wojnarowski shed some more light on the latest rumors on The Woj Pod.
“I think with Kuzma, with Kyle Kuzma they have talked, they have listened,” Wojnarowski said. “I think his contract makes it hard, he’s just making over $2 million… It makes it hard to make the money work on a trade somewhere, because how do you make it work with him financially? If you’re trading for an established veteran player, you assume he’s making a lot more than $2 million… You never know, but right now I think the idea of maybe having to gut their depth a little bit to trade for one guy, it may not make sense for them. And maybe is only a marginal improvement over what they have in Kuzma anyway.”
Kuzma’s play certainly hasn’t helped his trade value. One night he could put up 40, the next, he could put up seven. He has incredibly high potential, but his inconsistency has to scare teams away.
Lakers Scouring the Market for Ball Handlers
Unfortunately for Kuzma, the Lakers need ball handling help more than they need a scoring forward. Los Angeles has been linked to a number of names and according to Zach Lowe of ESPN, the team is doing their due dilligence:
“The Lakers have investigated the market on Kyle Kuzma, per sources and prior reports. They have poked around on a long list of ball handlers.
It will be interesting to see if the Lakers attempt to somehow acquire another salary in the $12 million range which they then use in a trade for a higher-priced guy — Iguodala or someone else.”
It seems like trading for Kuzma isn’t as simple as just swapping him for another player. Salaries become an issue depending who the Lakers want. That said, most teams appear to want draft picks and Los Angeles doesn’t have a lot to offer in that regard. It’s becoming likely that the team waits until after the trade deadline to try and make a move.
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Darren Collison Seems to Be the Lakers’ Best Bet
If the Lakers can’t make a splash at the trade deadline, all hope is not lost. There’s one player who could be very appealing to the team. Darren Collison retired before the season but still has plenty left in the tank. He’s a Los Angeles native and reportedly isn’t looking to leave his hometown if he decides to come back. That leaves the Clippers and Lakers as the most logical destinations.
Collison and Clippers coach Doc Rivers reportedly don’t have the best relationship, so that would leave the Lakers as the favorites to land him. On the surface, it seems like the perfect fit. The Lakers really would like a ball handler to lead their second unit and Collison is more than capable of doing that.