Report: Lakers listening to trade inquiries for Kyle Kuzma
Teams have been keeping an eye on Kyle Kuzma in case the young forward becomes available before the trade deadline next month, and apparently the Los Angeles Lakers have not completely ruled out moving him.
The Lakers have shown a willingness to listen to trade inquiries involving Kuzma, according to Sam Amick of The Athletic. It is believed that general manager Rob Pelinka is only doing due diligence at this point, but that at least means the Lakers do not consider Kuzma to be off-limits.
Kuzma’s numbers are down this season, which was expected after the addition of Anthony Davis. He is averaging 12.1 points and 3.5 rebounds per game after averaging 18.7 points and 5.5 rebounds last season. If the Lakers sign Davis to an extension after the season, Kuzma will be remaining in a sixth man role for the foreseeable future.
As Amick notes, Kuzma will be eligible for a contract extension this summer and will be a restricted free agent in 2021. He’s owed just $1.9 million this season and $3.5 million next, but he will become more expensive after that. If a team offers him a hefty contract, the Lakers may not want to match it. It’s also possible that Kuzma will not want to remain with LA when he could start elsewhere.
Whether the team admits it or not, LeBron has some influence over how the Lakers’ roster will be constructed going forward. Some have wondered if there could be tension between James and Kuzma after the way Kuzma’s agent called out LeBron recently, but Amick reports that LeBron “remains supportive of Kuzma” even after that.
A Kuzma trade remains unlikely, but nothing can be ruled out with a team that is trying to contend for championships in the short term. If the Lakers are presented with an opportunity to improve their starting five by dealing Kuzma, they may be tempted.