East Team Could Spoil Kyle Kuzma-Lakers Reunion With Fire Sale Deal

Kyle Kuzma, Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

Getty Kyle Kuzma, Anthony Davis, Los Angeles Lakers

The Los Angeles Lakers could hold interest in reuniting with former first-round draft pick Kyle Kuzma as they continue to look for ways to improve their team.

However, according to Bleacher Report’s Eric Pincus, a potential reunion between Kuzma and Los Angeles could be scuppered if the Chicago Bulls decide to push the reset button on their current team.

“Another team to monitor would be the Lakers, knowing Kuzma has championship experience playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis. Giving up a first to both part and reunite with Kuzma would fit the Lakers’ track record. Los Angeles might have Kuzma on its list, but the Bulls may present an alternative option,” Pincus wrote.

From a fit standpoint, Kuzma makes perfect sense, having already proven he’s capable of playing alongside LeBron James and Anthony Davis, helping the Lakers win a championship in 2020. Furthermore, Kuzma has proven to be a solid starting-caliber forward, averaging  18.3 points, 8.3 rebounds, and 3.5 assists per game while shooting 33.9% from deep and 53.5% from two-point range since leaving the Lakers.

Chicago’s DeRozan & Vucevic Would Interest Lakers

While Kuzma does make sense for Los Angeles, the Lakers could be attempted to abandon their pursuit of a reunion if the Bulls were to place DeMar DeRozan and Nikola Vucevic on the trade block, according to Pincus.

“According to NBA sources, the Lakers are interested in both Vučević and DeRozan. If L.A. is willing to give up two first-round picks (2027 and 2029) along with Russell Westbrook as a buy-out candidate, the Bulls may end up in a better lottery position to retain their pick in June. This is the draft to do it,” Pincus wrote on December 10.

DeRozan and Vucevic would certainly make the Lakers starting five one of the more fearsome units in the NBA, but the deal would do little to improve the bench unit, and given the fact Los Angeles would need to part with both Westbrook and both of their future first-round picks, the team would have little left in the cupboard to broker deals to round out their rotation, which could come back to haunt them in their hunt to make the postseason.

Lakers Are ‘Over-Reliant’ on Anthony Davis

According to ESPN’s Stephen A Smith, the Lakers have become over-reliant on Anthony Davis this season and are ill-equipped to sustain their current level of play without the dominant big man.

“It’s clearly Anthony Davis. Simply because the Lakers don’t have a defense without him, without him, they giving up about 123 points a game, they can’t stop a cold. That’s the bottom line. And that’s what it really really comes down to. And he’s their interior offense as well. LeBron can get to the hole, Russell Westbrook can get to the hole. But, you talking about somebody that can play with their back to the basket, and get to the hole, get in the paint, make things happen, block shots, rebound – that would be Anthony Davis,” Smith said. 

Given the Lakers perceived over-reliance and their lack of depth off the bench, it would make more sense for Rob Pelinka to target Kuzma and then look to make some additional deals rather than chasing star power in DeRozan and Vucevic and leaving the Lakers with little-to-no-depth. Unfortunately, we’re not the ones making the decisions, so we can only sit back and wait to see what the front office decides to do as they bid to get the Lakers season back on track.

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