During the season, many were excited about a possible Los Angeles Lakers versus Brooklyn Nets NBA Finals matchup. LeBron James and Anthony Davis facing off against Kevin Durant, Kyrie Irving and James Harden would’ve been one for the ages. Unfortunately, injuries derailed both teams’ seasons and neither of them even made the Conference Finals.
While the Nets and Lakers are good enough to win championships when healthy, both teams have issues with their rosters. The Nets have limited size and defensive capabilities. Those issues will be even worse should Blake Griffin sign elsewhere in free agency. The Lakers are elite defensively but can’t consistently hit threes.
Fox Sports’ Nick Wright believes the two teams can work together to help each other out with a trade.
“Everyone’s down on Joe Harris,” Wright said on First Things First. “I got a trade that matches up. Trade Joe Harris for a lunch pail guy, go get rebounds, play some defense, salaries matchup. … Joe Harris for Kyle Kuzma. Listen, you can use a Kuzma type in Brooklyn.”
Both Joe Harris and Kyle Kuzma are coming off of very disappointing playoff performances. Perhaps fresh starts on new teams could get them back on track.
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Does This Trade Make Sense?
If there’s one thing the Nets don’t need, it’s more offense. They already have three of the best offensive players in the NBA today. This season, Harris made 47.5% of his 3-point shots, which was best in the NBA. While his playoffs struggles are concerning, he’s a career 43.8% shooter from beyond the arc. As he plays more playoff games, he should only get more consistent.
For the Nets, Kuzma could be an appealing option. He was known for being a strong scorer when he first entered the NBA but he’s developed into a really good defender. He also averaged 6.1 rebounds a game this season. He hasn’t been as strong on offense since Anthony Davis joined the team but he still averaged 12.9 points a game this season. That’s only slightly less than the 14.1 points a game that Harris averaged this year. While no team would want to give up one of the best shooters in the league, the Nets would be wise to add some defensive help.
Is Kuzma Done With Lakers?
Whether it’s for Harris or somebody else, it’s very possible the Lakers decided to trade Kuzma this offseason. He just hasn’t been a great fit for the team since they traded for Davis. Los Angeles handed him a contract extension worth $13 million a year last offseason. That money would be better spent on a player like Harris, who can improve the team’s shooting.
Also, it appears Kuzma is ready for a fresh start. He recently removed the Lakers from his Instagram bio and ESPN’s Marc J. Spears reported that he’d like to go to a team where he can have a bigger role. Kuzma might not find a bigger role with the Nets so that pairing may not work. Perhaps the Lakers will send him to a younger team where he can get back to starting and possibly develop into a star.