With his inability to efficiently co-exist with LeBron James and Anthony Davis, rumors are circulating that the Los Angeles Lakers will consider making Kyle Kuzma available on the trade market in the 2020 NBA offseason. As of now, Kuzma still has the remaining games of the 2019-20 NBA season to prove that he could live up to expectations as the Lakers’ third superstar. However, if he fails, he would likely be included in a deal that would help the Purple and Gold land a quality player that complements James and Davis. One of the potential trade partners for the Lakers in such a situation is the Brooklyn Nets.
According to Greg Swartz of Bleacher Report, the Lakers and the Nets could engage in a trade that would send Kuzma and a 2022 second-round pick to Brooklyn in exchange for Jarrett Allen. The proposed deal works on ESPN‘s NBA Trade Machine. Swartz believes that a change in scenery would be both beneficial for Kuzma and Allen as it would give them back the starting role they badly needed to speed up their development.
“Benched in favor of DeAndre Jordan, Allen is a terrific rim-running center who would be perfect as a screen setter and lob finisher next to LeBron James in L.A. With JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard both potential free agents this offseason, Allen would be an upgrade and is only 22 years old. Kuzma is the best trade piece the Lakers have left, although there’s no room for him in the starting lineup with Anthony Davis around. The Nets could use Kuzma as a starter alongside Kyrie Irving, Caris LeVert, Kevin Durant and Jordan as a floor-spacing forward who could help share the offensive load.”
Though he failed to build good chemistry with James and Davis in Los Angeles, it doesn’t necessarily mean that the same thing would happen once Kuzma plays with two ball-dominant superstars like Kevin Durant and Kyrie Irving in Brooklyn. Unlike the Lakers, the Nets would allow the 24-year-old to play at his original position at power forward — which could help him unleash his full potential on the court. Also, it’s worth noting that Kuzma is capable of excelling in an off-ball capacity, making him an intriguing fit with Durant and Irving.
Meanwhile, though he’s still young and lacks playoff experience, Allen would be an incredible addition to the Lakers, giving them a dominant big man who could play as their starting center when Anthony Davis wants to play at the four spot. In his first three years in the league, Allen has grown into a reliable scoring option under the basket, an incredible rebounder, and a quality rim protector. This season, the 22-year-old center is averaging 10.6 points, 9.5 rebounds, and 1.3 blocks while shooting 64.6 percent from the field.
However, trading Kuzma for Allen might only make sense for the Lakers if they lose both JaVale McGee and Dwight Howard in the 2020 free agency period. If they manage to bring at least one of McGee and Howard back, the Lakers may be better off including Kuzma in a deal that would help them upgrade their backcourt.