According to a recently proposed trade idea, the New York Knicks and Los Angeles Lakers could swap their struggling young forwards, with Kyle Kuzma heading to the Knicks and the Lakers receiving Kevin Knox and two second-round picks from the 2021 draft.
On Thursday, NBA Analysis Network wrote that at this point, the Knicks have “not shown any sort of plan” for their rebuild, which has seen highly-touted prospects such as Knox and Frank Ntilikina arguably turn out as busts. Both players have frequently been brought up in trade rumors as they are still young enough to turn things around with another team.
“For Knox, there is no better potential destination than the Lakers,” the publication continued. “They are a franchise that is looking to win championships. Los Angeles has locked down LeBron James and Anthony Davis for the future. That means they are going to be near the top of the Western Conference competing for titles.”
According to the publication, the Knicks could greatly benefit if they can move Knox to the Lakers for Kuzma, given how the former Kentucky product has not lived up to expectations since getting picked ninth overall in the 2018 draft. Currently, New York is seemingly building around young players like R.J. Barrett, Mitchell Robinson, and 2020 lottery selection Obi Toppin, all of whom could thrive if they team up with someone like Kuzma. As noted, the fourth-year forward was part of a championship lineup last season and could help the Knicks by providing a “winning attitude” to the organization.
As of the start of the 2020-21 campaign, Kuzma is still coming off the bench for the Lakers, having scored 15 points in their opening-day loss to the Los Angeles Clippers. Per Basketball-Reference, he averaged 12.8 points and 4.5 rebounds and shot 43.6 percent from the field in 2019-20, marking notable declines from the numbers he posted in his breakout sophomore campaign in 2018-19.
As explained, the hypothetical deal would give Knox a much-needed “change of scenery,” thereby making the transaction more beneficial for him than it would be for the Lakers. The 21-year-old, who was limited to just 6.4 points and 2.8 rebounds per contest and shot just 35.9 percent from the field last season, according to Basketball-Reference, was described as a player who could “turn into a playmaker off the bench” if he gets moved to L.A.
In addition, NBA Analysis Network also suggested that the Lakers could potentially use Knox as trade bait if he continues to struggle in his new surroundings.