Although the Los Angeles Lakers made several upgrades this offseason after winning their 17th NBA championship earlier this year, backup forward Kyle Kuzma has remained the subject of many trade rumors and hypothetical transactions. In the latest example of the latter, Bleacher Report recently recommended a deal that would send Kuzma and Alfonzo McKinnie to the Oklahoma City Thunder for journeyman guard George Hill.
According to the publication’s Zach Buckley, the Lakers, behind general manager Rob Pelinka, “masterfully maximized every dollar spent” in the offseason, acquiring guards Dennis Schroder and Wesley Matthews, and big men Montrezl Harrell and Marc Gasol via trade or free agency. All these players could give superstars LeBron James and Anthony Davis an even stronger supporting cast than the one they had in the 2019-20 season, but as Buckley suggested, the Lakers could pull off the aforementioned deal to further strengthen their backcourt.
“George Hill’s combination of spacing, secondary playmaking and defensive versatility would be more valuable to this roster than Kyle Kuzma’s isolation scoring or Alfonzo McKinnie’s on-ball defense.”
Further describing how Hill could benefit the club if he gets traded to Los Angeles, Buckley wrote that the veteran guard is “average in most things and above it in several,” despite his lack of any particularly strong suit. Apart from his varied skillset on offense and defense, as well as his 12 seasons of NBA experience, the 34-year-old Hill also spent some time on the same team as James, having played 24 games for the Cleveland Cavaliers in the second half of the 2017-18 season, per Basketball-Reference.
In the 2019-20 campaign, Hill played a backup role for the Milwaukee Bucks, averaging 9.4 points, three rebounds, and 3.1 assists per game and shooting at a high clip from the field (51.6 percent) and from three-point territory (46 percent). Last month, he was traded to the Thunder in a four-team transaction that also resulted in Jrue Holiday moving to the Bucks and Eric Bledsoe and Steven Adams joining the New Orleans Pelicans.
Discussing how Kuzma could benefit Oklahoma City if he gets moved, Buckley wrote that the theoretical scenario would have the Thunder acquiring a still-promising young player who averaged close to 19 points per game in the 2018-19 season before getting relegated to the bench in 2019-20. He stressed that this could make the transaction a gamble for the Lakers, who might “regret” trading the 25-year-old for a less flashy, considerably older role player. However, the Bleacher Report writer predicted that it could all be worth it if Hill ends up helping Los Angeles win a second straight title.