It seems to be pretty clear what the defending champion Los Angeles Lakers did during the offseason. By adding the likes of Dennis Schroder and Montrezl Harrell, it’s becoming evident that a Kyle Kuzma trade could be on the horizon.
Kuzma, 25, had previously filled the role of the Lakers’ top scoring option off the bench. The former first-round pick averaged 12.8 points on 44% shooting from the field last season. It was a major downtick in production in that Kuzma averaged nearly 19 points as a sophomore the previous season.
Now slated to become a free agent following the 2020-21 campaign, it’s safe to say that the Lakers have no plans to offer Kuzma a huge contract extension. Instead, the defending champs will likely move on from him. It’s in this that we give you the five-best Kyle Kuzma trade scenarios for the Lakers.
Kyle Kuzma trade to the Chicago Bulls
- Lakers get: Wendell Carter Jr.
- Bulls get: Kyle Kuzma, Alfonzo McKinnie
It’s clear that Chicago was looking to move Carter Jr. ahead of the 2020 NBA Draft. In fact, the team held trade talks with the Golden State Warriors about a move from four to two for the former top-10 pick. Adding fellow big man Patrick Williams in the draft only adds to the idea that these Bulls are still looking to move Carter Jr.
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If so, there’s not a better fit than in Los Angeles. The Duke product could learn behind Marc Gasol as a way to help his game on offense. Eventually, Carter Jr. would take over as the starting center with the Lakers. The 21-year-old averaged 11.3 points and 9.4 rebounds as a sophomore.
Kyle Kuzma trade to the Cleveland Cavaliers
- Lakers get: Collin Sexton
- Cavaliers get: Kyle Kuzma, Alfonzo McKinnie, second-round pick
Much like Carter Jr., there was some talk about Cleveland moving Sexton prior to the draft. Despite the fact that he averaged 20.7 points on 47% shooting as a sophomore last season, most around the league view the 21-year-old Sexton as a bench player on a good team.
This would make a whole lot of sense for the Lakers. Recently-acquired guard Dennis Schroder is entering a contract year. Finding a potential long-term replacement on the cheap could help Los Angeles add another big name next summer. It’s something general manager Rob Pelinka wants to do.
Kyle Kuzma trade to the Charlotte Hornets
- Lakers get: P.J. Washington, two second-round picks
- Hornets get: Kyle Kuzma
Fresh off signing former All-Star Gordon Hayward, it seems to be pretty clear that the Hornets want to change up their frontcourt. The team has a star-studded backcourt, but needs more help at the four. That’s where Kuzma would come into play.
As for the Lakers, bringing in a 22-year-old power forward who averaged 12.2 points and 5.4 rebounds on 46% shooting as a rookie would be a boon. Sure Los Angeles might have to throw in a couple second-round picks, but this makes sense for both sides.
Kyle Kuzma trade to the San Antonio Spurs
- Lakers get: Lonnie Walker, protected future first-round pick
- Spurs get: Kyle Kuzma
To say that Lonnie Walker has not morphed into the player San Antonio had hoped when it selected him in the first-round of the 2018 NBA Draft would be an understatement. He’s averaging 5.6 points in 14 minutes of action during his young career. A change of scenery might be good for the young guard. Hence, this Kyle Kuzma trade scenario.
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Los Angeles would be taking a chance that said change of scenery would do Walker well. It would also be picking up a valuable top-15 protected first-round pick from San Antonio. Given the Lakers’ lack of draft capital, this is no small thing.
Kyle Kuzma trade to the Philadelphia 76ers
- Lakers get: Terrance Ferguson, Matisse Thybulle, future second-round pick
- Sixers get: Talen Horton-Tucker, Alfonzo McKinnie, Kyle Kuzma
New 76ers front office head Daryl Morey has done well to fix issues that Philadelphia had shooting from the outside in recent seasons. The additions of Seth Curry and Danny Green will help matters. However, bringing in Kuzma as a potential stretch four makes a ton of sense.
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Speaking of making a ton of sense, this Kyle Kuzma trade hypothetical would do wonders for the Lakers. Ferguson is considered a top-notch defender and can guard multiple positions. The same can be said for Thybulle. Despite some issues on offense, the 20-year-old and former first-round pick showed out well as a defender for Philadelphia a season ago.