L.A. Lakers trade rumors have surfaced again, but this time they don't include LeBron James or Anthony Davis. A high number of Lakers trade rumors have been floating around since the 2017 NBA Draft, with front office people like Magic Johnson looking to help the team make a big splash. It didn't happen during the 2017-18 NBA season, though, and the team again struggled to compete in the Western Conference.
With the NBA offseason quickly approaching again, the buzz around what the Lakers will do next is growing. According to a report by Hoops Hype basketball analyst Bryan Kalbrosky, one player may have become untouchable in trade discussions. That player is rookie Kyle Kuzma, who may have become one of the best gems to emerge from the last draft. He certainly surpassed the expectations placed upon him when coming into the league, and suddenly, Kuzma is a player other teams want to acquire.
In 76 games for the Lakers this season, Kyle Kuzma has averaged 31.4 minutes, 16.3 points, 6.3 rebounds, and 1.9 assists a night. He is shooting 45.2 percent from the field and 36.8 percent from three-point range. While a lot of the attention was placed on rookie point guard Lonzo Ball, Kuzma quietly started racking up the stats. Despite the continued struggles of the Lakers, he has been a bright spot when looking at the future of the franchise.
"He missed the playoffs for the first time in his 20th season as NBA head coach." https://t.co/sFzUZVNrC9The L.A. Lakers don't own the full rights to their 2018 first-round pick, either. The Lakers get to make that selection if it is in the No. 2-5 range. If it is outside of that small range, then it reverts to the Philadelphia 76ers. This means it is once again possible for the 76ers to secure the first pick in a draft, even during a season where they make it to the playoffs. A lot rides on how the lottery balls fall this summer for the Lakers. That will directly affect how the team approaches free agency and the trade market.
— HoopsHype (@hoopshype) April 6, 2018
John Ireland, the radio voice for the Lakers, may have channeled many Lakers fans when he recently stated that, "The one guy on the roster that I would least want to give up is Kuzma, and that says a lot." Rival general managers have also stated how valuable Kuzma has become, with the San Antonio Spurs noting that they were targeting him in the 2017 NBA Draft. While there are going to be a lot of new L.A. Lakers trade rumors this offseason, it seems that Kyle Kuzma has become too good for the team to part with in any deal.