NBA Trade Rumors: Will Lakers make a move to trade Kyle Kuzma?
The Los Angeles Lakers' young star Kyle Kuzma - once considered as the future of the franchise - is under the radar of many teams ahead of next month's trade deadline. In one of the latest reports by The Athletic's Sam Amick, the Lakers have shown an interest in listening to offers for the 24-year-old.
With that in mind, let's deep dive into the situation and try to make sense of what the Lakers really want in exchange:
Kuzma: The future of LA?
The Lakers bid adieu to Lonzo Ball, Brandon Ingram and Josh Hart last year in the Anthony Davis trade with New Orleans, though kept Kuzma out of their final offer. The 27th pick in the 2017 NBA Draft, Kuzma not only impressed the Lakers' organisation but equally fans and critics alike with his versatility and work ethic.
Statistically speaking, Kuzma averaged 18.7 points per game in the 2018-19 campaign, only second to LeBron James - while leading the team in minutes played (33.1 per game). He shot 45.6% from the field and 30.3% from three-point range.
Understandably, with a promising young talent, the Lakers want to nurture him for the future and make him the face of the organisation - alongside Davis - in the years to come.
A disappointing 2019-20 season so far
With the additions of Danny Green and MVP candidate Davis, Kuzma has seen a lesser scoring role than what was expected from him last year. From 33.1 minutes per game, he's averaging 23.6 so far this term - seeing both his time and statistics take a toll. Kuzma is currently recording career-lows in points (12.1), rebounds (3.5) and assists (0.8) per game.
He's naturally not the Lakers' main man and supports the team as an option off the bench - while injuries have also been an additional factor affecting his consistency. With troublesome ankle problems, he's already missed nine of their 35 games this term and only started one.
But will the Lakers make a move?
The Lakers have an excellent chance to win the championship this year, though they are yet to address the backup point guard role. With the best record in the West (28-7) right now, it's unlikely they will miss an opportunity to fill in the gaps before the trade deadline on February 6 rolls around. Is Kuzma an expendable asset?
Arguably, Kuzma is an excellent bench option right now - having displayed impressive flashes of his influence in the first three games after returning from injury, averaging nearly 22 points per game and knocking down eight three-pointers too. That's just a brief look into what Kuzma is capable of producing.
Despite his streaky percentages (35.4% from three), Kuzma can shoot well from deep and space the floor for teammates. Able to score from almost every position and reduce pressure off the shoulders of LeBron and Davis, there's obviously pressure on him to perform.
Having just recovered from an injury and getting back into the rotation, he needs time and confidence to get back to his prime self. Giving away a player like Kuzma, who can be a future franchise player, will be a great mistake for the Lakers if they do so.