The past week has seen various reports suggest that the Los Angeles Lakers are willing to listen to trade offers for Kyle Kuzma — the only member of the team’s young core that didn’t get traded to the New Orleans Pelicans for Anthony Davis last summer. While multiple rumors and trade suggestions have floated around since then, a recent report suggests that the Lakers might have a high asking price for the 24-year-old forward.
Citing league sources, Heavy‘s Sean Deveney wrote earlier this week that the idea of the Lakers parting ways with Kuzma is still “a long way off” at the moment. The veteran NBA insider also cited one unnamed general manager who believes Los Angeles will demand two things before agreeing to any trade offer involving the third-year forward. These include a “high rotation” player — preferably someone who could strengthen the team’s point guard corps — as well as a future first-round selection that would hopefully allow the Lakers to make their pick “in or around the lottery.”
“They had to sort of sell out their draft picks to put this team together, with Davis,” the general manager was quoted as saying. “They want to piece some of that back together so they’re in position if they want to make other trades, this year or down the road. It’s a high price they want.”
Alternately, Deveney wrote that the Lakers could also consider a trade package that includes two “lesser” first-round picks if they decide to move Kuzma prior to the February deadline.
Lakers are "listening" to offers for Kyle Kuzma, per @sam_amick
GM Rob Pelinka is expected to be reluctant to move the 24-year-old. pic.twitter.com/SdX5J7eGRL
— Bleacher Report NBA (@BR_NBA) January 5, 2020
Given that the Lakers have been known to use future first-round picks and highly-drafted youngsters as trade bait for acquiring more established talents, Deveney noted that the team’s purported asking price for Kuzma makes sense due to their current lack of assets for future deals. He speculated that if Los Angeles can get a first-round selection for the young forward, the organization would, for instance, be able to satisfy the Memphis Grizzlies’ demands and make a trade for veteran wingman Andre Iguodala, as rumored multiple times since the start of the 2019-20 season.
Although the Lakers have won six straight games to improve to a Western Conference-leading 30-7 record as of this writing, Kuzma has played a noticeably smaller role for the team, as compared to his first two seasons, where Los Angeles failed to make the playoffs. Per Basketball-Reference, the former Utah Utes standout is averaging 11.8 points and 3.5 rebounds, and shooting 42 percent from the field and 34.6 percent from beyond the arc, with just one start in 27 games played.