Kyle Kuzma Trade Packages

69C8B785-6409-4E6A-A0C9-45A21F39BCB2The trade talk has now hovered around Kyle Kuzma long enough that it appears to have some potential merit to it. Rob Pelinka (who has managed to stay incredibly quiet this season) has reportedly been making calls to gauge interest on Kuzma.

It is both a blessing and a curse that the 23 year-old forward is still on his rookie contract. A solid 23 year-old making just $2 million per year should carry substantial trade value. However, the curse is finding a trade partner with cheap players (or a package of players) ready to help you win. This could force the Lakers into giving up KCP, Rondo, Danny Green, or a combo of the three, depending on how much lineup-tweakage the Lakers want to do here.

Personally, I don’t see what’s changed since the AD trade – when Kuzma was the one piece they wanted to pair with LBJ and AD – but who knows what goes through Pelinka’s head.

The only valid reason I can piece together for trading him now is that Kuzma seems to be a guy who needs a steady dose of shots to be effective. He clearly won’t get as many shots as he did in recent years with this Lakers team, meaning his team value and trade value will start to diminish. If this is how Pelinka sees it, then he is not planning on re-signing Kuzma after his rookie deal expires, and he might as well trade him now before his trade value begins declining.

Who knows what will happen, but here are my realistic trade packages for Kyle Kuzma with some brief rationale below:


76ers

Send: James Ennis, Mike Scott, 1st-round pick

Receive: Kyle Kuzma and Troy Daniels

Ennis and Scott are solid veteran role players who can knock down long range jumpers with no problem. It is a mystery as to how much of an upgrade over Kuzma that Pelinka and the Lakers organization (LeBron) sees these guys as.

I have no clue if they would pull the trigger on this offer should they receive it, but I think a 1st-round pick along with two vets would make it hard for the Lakers to turn down.

Suns

Send: Dario Saric, Jevon Carter, two 2nd-round picks

Receive: Kyle Kuzma and Troy Daniels

Dario Saric has been anything but impressive in his stint with the Suns thus far. Not that he is a bad piece, but he just doesn’t seem to thrive in this offense or be an overly important piece going forward for Phoenix.

His numbers are somewhat similar to Kuzma’s, although he requires less shots and is a better passer and rebounder than Kuz. He is definitely not a major long-term upgrade over Kuzma, but right now he may be a better fit and more capable player to help this Lakers team win. Carter can also help bring gritty, tough play that is bound to improve the Lakers backcourt on the defensive end. I would even go as far as to call him an upgrade over the quickly-aging Rajon Rondo.

Kings

Send: Bogdan Bogdanovic 

Receive: Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

Some people might see the hypothetical trade above and think, “the Lakers are giving up too much, why do that 2 for 1?” There is a simple answer. Darren Collison.

Collison’s recent thoughts on coming out of retirement have made headlines, and it appears that the 32 year-old guard is ready to return to the league. His optimal destination has to be the Lakers right? Especially if they open up a roster spot and offer him minutes. Of all the trade scenarios I have drawn up, this seems the most likely.

The Lakers are rumored to have serious interest in Bogdanovic, but the Kings will want a solid haul in return. The Kings might also want a couple second round picks thrown in or something along those lines, but I think this trade offer would have some traction. Sacramento’s frontcourt is just too mediocre for it not to. Combine that with the fact that Bogdan will be stuck competing with Fox and Hield (the two faces of the franchise) for the foreseeable future, and this trade makes way too much sense.

Timberwolves

Send: Robert Covington

Receive: Kyle Kuzma and Kentavious Caldwell-Pope

This trade is another scenario where it might appear the Lakers are giving up too much, but opening up a roster spot to sign Collison is huge. And somehow, even if Collison is not interested in joining the Lakers or decides to stay retired, LA could still use the open roster spot on a guy like Jamal Crawford.

Covington’s defense would be a major plus for the Lakers. A potential starting lineup of Danny Green, Covington, LeBron, AD, and JaVale would be absolutely stellar. It would rival Philly for the largest and best defensive starting five in the NBA.

Grizzlies

Send: Andre Iguodala

Lakers send: Kyle Kuzma and Danny Green

This trade would be bold as hell for the Lakers. I am not sure how much of an upgrade Iggy is over Danny Green at this point in his career. Green has to be included in this trade for the salaries to match up because Iggy is making $17 mil. For this to even be potentially worth it for LA, the Lakers would have to have Iggy’s word that he would re-sign in the summer.

For the Grizzlies, this would be an absolute homerun. Danny Green would make for a great running mate with Ja and also be a great veteran presence in the Memphis locker room. Looking forward to next season, the Grizzlies starting lineup would look something like: Ja, Green, Kuzma, Clarke, Jaren Jackson. Off the bench they would have Valanciunas, Kyle Anderson, Tyus Jones, and Grayson Allen. Oh, and the Grizzlies would have over $30 mil in cap space.

How could the Grizzlies say no with the previously stated hypothetical outlook?

Pelicans

Send: JJ Redick

Lakers send: Kuzma, Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, 2nd-round pick

Let me start by saying there is somewhere between a 0.00001% and 2% chance this could actually happen, but why the hell not?

Who loses here other than Pelinka’s ego? Is this in a way Pelinka having to say “I was wrong about Kuzma, take him after all”? Yeah, but who cares? If this somehow became a possibility for the Lakers, Pelinka would have to swallow his pride and do it.

This would immediately improve the Lakers and also serve as a solid addition for the Pelicans young core. New Orleans would also pick up a solid role player in KCP.

KCP and Kuzma shoot a combined 18.5 times a game while Redick takes just a 11. This would mean more shots for Lebron and AD, and the Lakers could also sign Collison with the freed up roster spot (as mentioned in many of the previous hypothetical trades).

As football comes to a close and basketball season heats up, be on the lookout for more articles! Also please check out our new basketball podcast Hot Take Hoops. Two massive Thunder fans host this weekly show and talk all things OKC Thunder and all things NBA.

Don’t forget to listen to the latest episode of the ATM: At The Minute Podcast, hosted by myself and Peter Mitchell!

Published by Jackson Stoever

Recent Oklahoma State graduate who is a die-hard Suns fan.

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