NBA Rumors: LA Lakers Only Trading Kyle Kuzma For A ‘Difference-Maker’

Kyle Kuzma #0 of the Los Angeles Lakers dribbles the ball during the first half of a game against the Cleveland Cavaliers at Staples Center on January 13, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
Sean M. Haffey / Getty Images

In the past several months, rumors have been swirling around Kyle Kuzma and his future with the Los Angeles Lakers. When they failed to sign Kawhi Leonard in the 2019 NBA free agency, most people viewed Kuzma as the third superstar that would help LeBron James and Anthony Davis bring the Lakers back to the NBA Finals and end their years of title drought. Unfortunately, since returning from an injury, Kuzma is yet to live up to expectations from the player that the Lakers expected him to be in the 2019-20 NBA season.

In his recent article, Colin Ward-Henninger of CBS Sports listed Kuzma as the player on the Lakers’ roster most likely to be moved before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline. As of now, Kuzma is receiving strong interest from NBA teams who want to add more young and promising talents on their roster. However, as Ward-Henninger noted, the Lakers would only consider trading Kuzma if they would be getting a “difference-maker” in return.

“Listen, we’re not saying he WILL get traded, but if the Lakers are going to pull off a deal before the trade deadline, it would have to be for a difference-maker,” Ward-Henninger wrote. “The only way they’re getting one of those is if Kuzma is in the deal, not only because he’s one of the few Lakers who might be attractive to another team, but also to make the salary work.”

Kuzma may not reach the level of an NBA superstar anytime soon, but the Lakers still place a high value on his head. In any potential deal before the 2020 February NBA trade deadline, the Lakers would only be open to moving Kuzma if interested teams would be sending a player who could address their issues in the backcourt or in the wing. Some of the potential trade targets for the Lakers include Bogdan Bogdanovic of the Sacramento Kings, Davis Bertans of the Washington Wizards, Marcus Morris of the New York Knicks, Robert Covington of the Minnesota Timberwolves, Derrick Rose of the Detroit Pistons, and Dennis Schroder of the Oklahoma City Thunder.

As of now, it remains unknown if the Lakers are currently engaging in a trade negotiation with other NBA teams. Though rumors are circulating that the Lakers are active on the trade market searching for upgrades, LeBron James said recently that his team has enough talents to fully dominate the Western Conference and win an NBA championship title, hinting at the strong possibility that Kuzma could finish the 2019-20 NBA season wearing the Purple and Gold.