Kyle Kuzma was one of the young players that the Los Angeles Lakers offered to the New Orleans Pelicans to acquire Anthony Davis before the February NBA trade deadline. Luckily for Kuzma and other members of the Lakers’ young core, the Pelicans chose to wait for the summer of 2019 to deal Davis.
In a recent appearance on The Official Lakers Podcast (transcribed by SB Nation‘s Silver Screen And Roll), Kyle Kuzma talked about how it feels being mentioned in trade discussions for the first time and what he and his other young teammates can do to stay out of trade talks. Despite getting lots of advice from the veterans and coaching staffs, Kuzma admitted that they couldn’t help themselves but be affected by the trade rumors.
“I think everybody saw that versus the Pacers. Losing by 42 is obviously something that we didn’t want to do, and it’s always tough to lose the first game of a road trip, but I think after you kind of know what you’ve got on the team and everybody is on the court together (things get better).”
A day before the February NBA trade deadline, the Lakers played one of their worst games in the 2018-19 NBA season after suffering a 42-point loss from the hands of the Victor Oladipo-less Indiana Pacers. However, after the deal with the Pelicans centered on Anthony Davis failed to materialize, the Lakers managed to bounce back and had an impressive victory over the Boston Celtics.
Kyle Kuzma believes that if he and other members of the young core continue playing like their game against the Celtics, the Lakers may consider keeping them long-term in Los Angeles instead of using them as trade chips to acquire a legitimate NBA superstar.
“That Boston game, I think that was kind of the perfect game for us to get back on track and kind of send a message to the league — and the organization as well — that we all want to be here. We all want to show that we belong and that we can do this here too.”
Kyle Kuzma definitely has a point, but unless they prove that they can win an NBA championship title with their current roster, Lakers President of Basketball Operations Magic Johnson and General Manager Rob Pelinka are still expected to find ways to upgrade their roster next summer and may consider making their entire young core available once again in trade discussions.
Since acquiring LeBron James, the Lakers have revealed their plan to acquire another superstar either via trade or free agency. They may have failed to acquire Anthony Davis before the February NBA trade deadline, but they are expected to resume their trade discussion with the Pelicans in the 2019 NBA offseason.