The Los Angeles Lakers have reportedly been listening to trade offers for Kyle Kuzma, but their interest at this point has been described as mere due diligence. However, they make take a more active role in those discussions if they like what they hear.
The Sacramento Kings are among the teams that are said to have shown interest in Kuzma, with sources telling Marc Stein of the New York Times that they have tried to engage the Lakers in discussions. According to a report from Tania Ganguli of the Los Angeles Times, it was actually Lakers general manager Rob Pelinka who reached out to the Kings to gauge their interest in Kuzma.
Obviously, there would be a big different between fielding a call and reaching out to a team about a potential trade. Ganguli was told by a person familiar with the Lakers’ trade deadline plans that they are interested in improving the “fringes” of their roster but will not make any dramatic changes. That means they are willing to listen to any offer that doesn’t involve LeBron James or Anthony Davis, but they could also start doing some shopping of their own.
The Lakers had to send a ton of draft capital to the New Orleans Pelicans for Davis, so Kuzma is one of their best remaining assets. His numbers have dipped a bit this season to 12.0 points per game from 18.7 points per game last year, but that is because the 6-foot-8 forward is now playing in a reserve role. Kuzma has already shown he can produce as a starter, which makes the 24-year-old appealing to other teams. He’s also owed just $1.9 million this year and $3.5 million next season.
Some have wondered if there could be tension between James and Kuzma after the way Kuzma’s agent called out LeBron recently, but that is apparently not an issue. In reality, Pelinka probably realized teams are interested in Kuzma and knows the Lakers could use a three-point shooter and/or some more defense. If you can improve a clear championship contender, you need to explore all options for doing so.