The New York Knicks are hoping to make some improvements in the few days before Thursday afternoon’s NBA trade deadline. It’s not yet clear what many of these moves could be, but a new report suggests that the team has shown some interest in Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma.
In a tweet posted on Tuesday, Shams Charania of The Athletic and Stadium wrote that per league sources, the Knicks have had “exploratory conversations” with the Lakers about possibly acquiring the third-year forward, whose numbers have declined this season after former New Orleans Pelicans big man Anthony Davis’ arrival in Los Angeles. With Davis playing alongside LeBron James as the Lakers’ second superstar, Kuzma has played a diminished role in the 2019-20 campaign, coming off the bench and averaging 13 points per game — down from 18.7 in the 2018-19 season, per Bleacher Report.
While Kuzma has also dealt with ankle injuries and missed multiple games for Los Angeles, the outlet pointed out that his numbers have been on the upswing as of late, as he averaged 15.1 points and 5.1 rebounds in the first 19 games he played since returning from the injured list in December.
As further noted by Bleacher Report, the new update on the Knicks came shortly after it was announced that the team parted ways with president Steve Mills. With New York still mired 13th place in the Eastern Conference, Scott Perry remains in place as general manager and is expected to be aggressive in the days leading up to Thursday’s trade deadline, with the potential acquisition of Kuzma just one of many moves he could be making to help improve the team’s fortunes.
“The Knicks could use this type of impact player as the squad tries to build a young core around RJ Barrett and Mitchell Robinson,” the publication continued. “With just a 15-36 record in 2019-20, the team is well out of playoff contention and can easily part with reliable contributors like Julius Randle, Marcus Morris Sr. and others.”
Aside from the Knicks, a few other teams have been mentioned among Kuzma’s possible suitors, but as The Inquisitr reported toward the end of January, the Lakers appear to be setting a steep asking price for the former No. 27 overall draft pick. As he was the only member of the team’s young core who wasn’t included in the Davis trade last summer, the Lakers are reportedly only willing to listen to offers for Kuzma if they can get a “difference-maker” in exchange for the erstwhile reserve forward.