Lakers Could Flip Key Player for Premier Scorer in Trade Proposal

Jerami Grant Kyle Kuzma

Getty Jerami Grant would give the Lakers another scorer next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis.

The Los Angeles Lakers are going to have to get creative this offseason to make a major addition to their roster. Bleacher Report’s Greg Swartz suggests the Lakers make a run at Pistons bucket-getter Jerami Grant. Swartz’s proposal has the Lakers dangling Kyle Kuzma, the No. 22 pick in the 2021 NBA Draft and two future second-round picks (2023, 2024) in exchange for Grant.

The selling point for the Lakers is obvious as the team lands a legitimate third scorer to play next to LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Kuzma’s upside has prompted plenty of intrigue around the league, but the Lakers forward’s inconsistent play in the postseason was glaring. Grant was a top-30 NBA scorer this season averaging 22.3 points while adding 4.6 rebounds, 2.8 assists and 1.1 blocks in 54 starts for the Pistons.

There are a couple of notes about the proposal to make it a realistic option. Even with nine free agents, the Lakers will not have cap space and would need to add more salary to the deal to make it work. Grant’s $20 million salary next season is about $7 million more than Kuzma, meaning the Lakers would need to add players to make the trade viable within the cap rules. The Lakers also cannot trade this year’s first-rounder until after the draft.


Kuzma’s Trade Value Took a Hit in the Playoffs

Whether Kuzma and a trio of draft picks is enough to entice the Pistons to trade their leading scorer remains to be seen. For the Lakers, the main fear with Grant is the forward could be putting up good stats as a byproduct of being on one of the worst teams in the league. There is a lot more pressure that comes with playing next to James and Davis.

“The Pistons will be hard-pressed to let go of Grant, but the Lakers can still offer a strong package for the veteran forward,” Swartz noted. “Grant is the perfect combination of scoring and defensive versatility that the Lakers roster could use. He can play power forward next to Anthony Davis in small-ball lineups or slide out to the wing when LeBron James runs the point.”


The Lakers Are Expected to Explore Trading Kuzma This Offseason

Kuzma is one of the few trade chips the Lakers possess, and the team is expected to at least explore moving him this offseason. Despite his playoff struggles, Kuzma’s three-year, $39 million contract is reasonable for the 25-year-old forward. USA Today’s Mark Medina reported all indications are the Lakers will consider trade offers for Kuzma in the coming months.

“No, James and Davis won’t and should not go anywhere,” Medina noted. “But can’t see why the Lakers would have any interest in keeping Dennis Schroder, Andre Drummond and Montrezl Harrell. The Lakers should keep Alex Caruso and Talen Horton-Tucker since they’re mostly reliable role players. But expect Kyle Kuzma to be attached in trade talks considering his team-friendly extension and his failure to have season-long consistency.”

As for Grant, the Lakers will likely find it hard to get the Pistons to part with him given what they can offer. Pistons head coach Dwane Casey explained why Grant had so much success this season.

“You get to know him as a person. He’s a genuine, humble, hungry, driven person,” Casey told NBA.com. “He’s a great young man. He wants to be one of the best in the league. He’s more and then some what I expected as far as a scorer and a guy who has the ability to score in this league.”


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