Over the last year, there’s been a lot of speculation that the Los Angeles Lakers could trade Kyle Kuzma. He survived last season’s trade deadline but there were those who didn’t think he’d survive this offseason. One executive was surprised that the Lakers didn’t end up dealing him.
“I think Schröder was a really good pickup for them,” an anonymous executive told Sam Amick of The Athletic. “I’m surprised (fourth-year forward Kyle) Kuzma is still on the roster. I thought they’d be moving him … because of chemistry stuff. But the Lakers got better. They’re one year older, LeBron is one year older, but I still think they got better. They got KCP back, who was good.”
Kuzma was involved in a number of rumors this offseason and there was a report that teams are interested in him. Clearly, the Lakers value him and want to give him a chance to bounce back after a disappointing season.
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Kuzma Could Get Contract Extension
Regardless of what the Lakers want to do with Kuzma, they need to decide on their future plans for him soon. His contract is up at the end of the year. There’s been talk about how Kuzma expects an extension and the Lakers appear to be somewhat interested.
“They’re working through things,” Kuzma said earlier in the month, “so we’ll see.”
Extending him doesn’t necessarily mean that he won’t get traded at some point but it would likely mean he’ll be with the Lakers for this season. It’s very difficult to determine his worth right now. Los Angeles would be wise to wait and see how he performs this season. If he’s great, it’s a win-win. He’d become a much better trade piece if they want to move him or they could feel a lot more comfortable handing him a decent contract.
Does Kuzma End the Season in Los Angeles?
By most accounts, it appears the Lakers still have high expectations for Kuzma. LeBron James said that he’s going to have a breakout year and general manager Rob Pelinka has suggested that they could switch up his role a bit and play him at the wing. That would be an interesting move and could get him on the floor for more minutes.
Kuzma has shown that he can still be a good player. In games that Anthony Davis sat out last season, Kuzma played really well. However, it’s not a foregone conclusion he’ll even finish the season with the team. As of right now, he seems like the most likely player to get traded on the roster. Should the Lakers get halfway through the season and realize they have other needs, they could use Kuzma to add a player who is a better fit.
The Lakers don’t really need a 6’8 backup power forward who isn’t a great 3-point shooter right now. If he can play wing successfully, then he becomes more valuable to the team. Time will tell if he’ll finally be able to live up to expectations.