Considering the recent rumors suggesting that Los Angeles Lakers forward Kyle Kuzma might be looking for a lucrative contract extension, Bleacher Report suggested on Thursday that the team could include him in a trade package for Indiana Pacers guard Victor Oladipo.
In its most recent list of offseason predictions, the outlet cited ESPN’s Brian Windhorst, who recently reported that Kuzma is “expecting a sizable deal” now that he’s eligible for an extension. That, as pointed out, could serve as an impetus for the Lakers to move the 25-year-old, who was further described as a “flawed rotation player whose reputation has always outstripped his production.”
According to Bleacher Report, one trade idea would involve the Lakers moving Kuzma, veteran guard/forward Danny Green, and an unspecified future first-round pick to the Pacers in exchange for Oladipo, whose contract is set to expire in the summer of 2021. The publication hinted that it’s likely Indiana will receive more attractive offers for the former No. 2 overall draft pick, though there’s also a chance most teams will be reluctant to acquire someone who looked like a shadow of his old self when he returned from injury at the NBA’s Orlando, Florida, bubble.
“Though he was a deserving All-NBA honoree after the 2017-18 season, he has shown no indication he’s all the way back from the ruptured quad he suffered in Jan. 2019. The bubble was a suboptimal testing ground, but Oladipo didn’t look good, and that was a full year and a half after his injury.”
Considering the concerns regarding Oladipo’s health and productivity going forward, Bleacher Report speculated that the Lakers might be among the few teams willing to take a gamble on the 28-year-old stepping up as a third offensive option. The organization would also have to prepare for the possibility that he might turn out to be a one-year rental if he decides to test the free agency market in the summer of 2021. However, Oladipo could also return to form if traded to Los Angeles, where he could help address the Lakers’ playmaking and shot-creation deficiencies.
Although it wasn’t mentioned how Kuzma could help the Pacers if the proposed transaction pushes forward, rumors have long been swirling about the possibility of Los Angeles eventually parting ways with the former first-round pick. Well before the Lakers won their 17th NBA championship by defeating the Miami Heat in the 2020 Finals, ESPN’s Bill Simmons suggested that the club should use Kuzma as trade bait in order to acquire the “last piece” needed in order to win another title.