According to a newly published trade scenario, the Los Angeles Lakers could upgrade their starting lineup ahead of the March 25 deadline by moving forward Kyle Kuzma to the Sacramento Kings in a three-way deal that would send Buddy Hield to Los Angeles and a future first-rounder to the Memphis Grizzlies.
On Monday, NBA Analysis Network's Brett Siegel published a list of suggested trades centered on Kuzma, including the aforementioned transaction, which would also have the Kings acquiring Lakers guard Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and their 2022 first-round pick, as well as the Grizzlies' 2021 second-rounder that they previously acquired from the Portland Trail Blazers. Memphis, meanwhile, would get Lakers reserves Wesley Matthews and Alfonzo McKinnie, plus their first-round selection in the 2025 draft.
According to Siegel, Hield would be a good target for the Lakers because of the "drama" he and the Kings have been involved in since last season. The former Oklahoma Sooners star was asked to come off the bench for much of the second half of the 2019-20 campaign, and it appears that both sides have yet to resolve their differences. With that in mind, the writer predicted that Hield could potentially thrive if he gets traded to the defending champions.
"Next to two of the best players in the NBA in LeBron James and Anthony Davis, Hield will not only be able to get the open shots he wants since those guys will be drawing all of the attention, but he can learn a lot from them."
While he is currently off to a slow start, with averages of 14.9 points, 4.1 rebounds, and three assists, and a shooting clip of 37 percent from the field, the 28-year-old guard put up big numbers for Sacramento in 2019-20, averaging 19.2 points, 4.6 rebounds, and three assists, per Basketball-Reference. He also converted on 42.9 percent of his field goals and 39.4 percent of his three-point attempts last season.
Much like Hield, Kuzma has also seen his statistics decline in the early stages of the 2020-21 season. In 18 games, the 25-year-old has averaged a career-low 9.8 points, adding 5.6 rebounds and 1.1 assists per game, according to his Basketball-Reference page. It remains to be seen, however, whether he could return to the starting lineup on a Kings team with a frontcourt led by forwards Harrison Barnes and Marvin Bagley III and center Richaun Holmes -- assuming the hypothetical deal becomes a reality.
Although the Grizzlies won't be getting any promising youngsters in the new trade idea, Siegel noted that the club could benefit from Matthews' experience as a veteran wing player, given their status as a "dark-horse playoff team."