After struggling to immediately build good chemistry with LeBron James and Anthony Davis in the 2019-20 NBA season, rumors have started to swirl around Kyle Kuzma and his future with the Los Angeles Lakers. With his inability to live up to expectations as the Lakers’ third superstar, some people think that the Lakers could use Kuzma as a main trade chip to further improve their roster before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. In his recent article, Shams Charania of The Athletic discussed the trade speculations surrounding the young Lakers’ power forward.
Charania revealed that several NBA teams are closely monitoring Kuzma’s situation in Los Angeles but as of now, the Lakers still view him as a “core part of the future.” Also, the Lakers reportedly don’t have any plan of engaging in a blockbuster deal before the 2020 February NBA deadline and are only looking for minor deals to address some issues on their roster.
“Several teams are doing their due diligence on forward Kyle Kuzma and viewing whether they can pluck the talented 24-year-old as part of their future from the championship-contending Lakers, but the Lakers value Kuzma as a core part of the future and are focused on making moves around the edges and not a major one, league sources say,” Charania wrote, as quoted by SB Nation’s Silver Screen And Roll. “Kuzma is averaging 12.2 points and 3.6 rebounds while shooting 35 percent from 3-point range in 25 games, adjusting his game around an elevated roster and finding his rhythm following missing time at two different points for a left ankle injury.”
It’s easy to understand why teams are expressing interest in trading for Kuzma. Despite his recent struggle, Kuzma has huge superstar potential and would be an incredible addition to teams who are still in the middle of a rebuilding process. With his current performance, interested teams must be thinking that they won’t be needing to give up too many valuable trade assets to convince the Lakers to make a deal.
Unfortunately for Kuzma’s suitors, if Charania’s report is true, it is highly likely that Kuzma will be finishing the 2019-20 NBA season wearing the Purple and Gold. As Charania noted, the Lakers have the luxury to wait for Kuzma to figure things out since they currently own the best record in the Western Conference.
Though he is still far from being the player that the Lakers are expecting him to be, Kuzma is already showing some improvements with his game. In January, the 24-year-old power forward is averaging 14.5 points and 3.0 rebounds while shooting 36.0 percent from the field and 35.7 percent from beyond the arc. If he continues to improve and build better chemistry with James and Davis, Kuzma will undeniably be a huge help for the Lakers when the real battle begins in the 2020 NBA Playoffs.