While Rumor Mill Churns, Betting Odds Show Lakers Won’t Trade Kyle Kuzma
The Los Angeles Lakers continue to consider what to do with their supporting cast. Kyle Kuzma, who is viewed as the third-best player on the Lakers behind LeBron James and Anthony Davis, is coming off a game where he had a season-high 26 points. However, it wasn’t lost on anyone that Davis was out on Friday night, which suggests what many people have already been thinking: maybe Kuzma and Davis aren’t the best fit together. Kuzma was supposed to be a Sixth Man of the Year-type of a player and while he’s shown flashes, he hasn’t been at that level consistently. Being one of the Lakers most tradable talents, would they move him in hopes of getting something good back that can help them win a title?
KYLE KUZMA BEING TRADED BEFORE FEBRUARY 6 DEADLINE
The larger reality with Kyle Kuzma is that the Los Angeles Lakers did not ship him to the New Orleans Pelicans in the Davis trade. This showed how serious the Lakers were and are about keeping him as part of the team and developing him into a valuable contributor. The franchise has expressed considerable trust in Kuzma as a player the Lakers can count on during their playoff push and the drive toward the NBA championship. The argument for keeping him is that he wasn’t exactly healthy earlier in the year and has needed time to adjust to his new role. He’ll get better as the season goes.
The Sixers are such a logical landing spot for Kuzma because Ben Simmons clearly has not developed his jump shot, which makes Philadelphia a lot easier to defend. The Sixers are playing four-on-five when Simmons is on the court and while this will mostly be fine in the regular season, he’ll be an issue in the playoffs (as he was last year). Teams can sag off Simmons and play the drive, giving him as many open jump shots as he wants. As long as the Sixers have this deficiency, getting a shooter such as Kuzma could noticeably improve their offense in time for the playoffs.
Having another offensive weapon on the court means more to the Sixers than having another long defender. The Sixers already know they can play great defense. Their limitation is on offense, so if Kuzma isn’t a great defender, that’s okay – Philadelphia would be getting Kuzma for his offensive potency.
The Pistons are considering an Andre Drummond deal. If Detroit wanted to give up a prize that big, it could involve Kuzma – maybe not in a direct swap with the Lakers, but in a three-way trade with another team. The Lakers have no need for Drummond but he’s a considerable talent that could net them back something for their back court. Three-way trades aren’t everyday occurrences, but they aren’t rare to the point of being unrealistic. Kuzma would immediately spruce up a Detroit offense which needs every bit of help possible.
The Cleveland Cavaliers have a bad team and a grumpy team, but they have some good players. Kevin Love for Kyle Kuzma, straight up, is an intriguing possibility which can’t entirely be ruled out. Reuniting Love with LeBron James and also bringing Love back to Los Angeles, where he played college basketball at UCLA, would be a popular move. Adding another big man who can shoot is an interesting thought although the Lakers would probably prefer some help in the back court.
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