Since the last offseason, Los Angeles Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka have revealed their plan to make a huge splash in the summer of 2018, not only in free agency but also in the trade market. One of the NBA superstars currently linked to the Lakers is Karl-Anthony Towns, and according to Jason Reed of LA Sports Hub, Los Angeles could explore a trade package centered on Kyle Kuzma to convince the Minnesota Timberwolves to make a deal.
In the proposed trade scenario, the Lakers will be sending Kyle Kuzma, Ivica Zubac, Josh Hart, 2019 first-round pick, 2020 first-round pick, and a pick swap in 2021 to the Timberwolves for Karl-Anthony Towns. Though the deal works on the ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine, parting ways with those assets would be a tough decision for Johnson and Pelinka. As Reed noted, the potential departure of Kuzma, Zubac, and Hart would leave the Lakers undermanned while trading multiple picks will take away their opportunity to acquire young and talented players in the 2019 and 2020 NBA Draft.
However, no one can deny the fact that Karl-Anthony Towns is worth giving up all those assets. In his first three seasons in the NBA, Towns continues to improve his performance on both ends of the floor, averaging 21.6 points, 11.7 rebounds, and 1.4 blocks while shooting 54.3 percent from the field and 38.7 percent from beyond the arc. He also made his first NBA All-Star appearance this season and recently named to All-NBA third team.
Towns is only 22-years-old, which fits well with the timeline of Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball. By successfully acquiring the All-Star center, the Lakers may decide to target just one maximum-salaried player in the free agency market in which Oklahoma City Thunder superstar Paul George would be an ideal target. During an appearance on the WojPod with ESPN‘s Adrian Wojnarowski, C.J. McCollum said that George is L.A. bound this summer.
“I wish PG (Paul George) nothing but the best. I know he’s going to enjoy that California sunshine,” McCollum told Wojnarowski.
If the Lakers succeed to sign Paul George, they will still have enough salary cap space to bring back Julius Randle, who is set to become a restricted free agent this summer. The Lakers could also fill their depth with the players that will be available on the free agency market this summer.
The starting lineup of Ball, George, Ingram, Randle, and Towns can match any powerhouse teams in the league, especially if Lakers Head Coach Luke Walton learns how to use all those player effectively. Kyle Kuzma undeniably has the potential to become a superstar, but trading him could be the sacrifice the Lakers need to make in order to return to title contention.